A week after the Azerbaijani military aggression, the Armenian government and the Ministry of Defense do not publish the names of those who died in the war. No justification is given as to why their names are kept secret from the public.
On the night of September 12-13, 2022, the number of dead and missing as a result of the fighting in Gegharkunik, Vayots Dzor and Syunik regions reaches 207, including 3 civilians; the location of 2 civilians is considered unknown, 293 servicemen, 7 civilians were wounded, 20 servicemen were captured. The Azerbaijani side handed over the bodies of 95 victims to Armenia.
The non-disclosure of the names of the victims by the authorities is criticized by human rights defenders who deaal with the rights of servicemen, qualifying as disrespectful and indifferent attitude. Despite the criticism, the Ministry of Defense does not provide any justification why it is keeping their names secret.
Most of the soldiers’ parents have no information about their sons’ whereabouts. The parent of one of the missing soldiers, who alerted human rights defender Zhanna Aaleksanyan, said that the parents of 30 servicemen have been spending more than 7 days near the Goris military unit, hoping to hear something about their sons.
“Parents who spend time under the walls of the police station want information about the whereabouts of their sons, but there is no one to answer them. A father says that the best answer they give is ‘we do not know’. “We have been in this area for 7 days with wet eyes, the military unit says we don’t know, it’s unknown, so who should know?” asked the father. The father said, let them say they died, let us go and do our mourning. The parents insist that they will not leave until they receive an answer,” the human rights activist wrote.
Politiligist Armen Hovhannisyan believes that departments do not publish names because they do not have complete information. However, according to him, the Ministry of Defense should publish the information that is accurate at the moment.
“I think there is a problem of prisoners of war and missing persons. This means that the number of missing and confirmed prisoners is very high. They are waiting for all this to be clarified. Can you imagine what will happen to the parents if they hear that their son was killed, but it turns out that the body was not found, maybe he is alive? These problems exist, but this does not solve the problem: everything should be published, the parents should know everything, everyone should know the truth.
The Ministry of Defense is obliged to publish, this is not a state or military secret, they should publish it themselves. Let them say that we know the fate of these 150 people 100 percent, that’s it, at least that much should be clear. As in all matters, this is due to their poor organization. Everything is very easy for the ruling party members. Until they bang their heads against the wall, they won’t draw conclusions. As long as the wall is on 10 cm, they do not make any conclusions.
Let them tell the people that it is a war and it is true. This will create an opportunity to show that we are under aggression. Attacks like this are not held by the boys holding their position. This is not an incident, this is a war,” said the politologist.
Human rights defender Nina Karapetyants does not see any logical explanation in this behavior of the authorities.
“If a part of the names were published during the war, I don’t understand the logic of not publishing the rest. How is this situation different from the previous one? The government should have a very clear explanation why they don’t publish the list. The government should not tell me what I am doing with those names; I have the right to receive the information, they should provide it or tell me why they do not provide it. There is no logic in their actions,” said the human rights defender.