Azerbaijan seeks ‘war crime’ suspects among Karabakh refugees

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Azerbaijani border agents were looking for “war crime” suspects among the flood of refugees leaving its separatist enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh for Armenia, a government source told AFP on Tuesday.

Azerbaijan intends to apply an amnesty to Armenian fighters who laid down their arms in Karabakh. But those who committed war crimes during the Karabakh wars must be handed over to us,” the source said, explaining why men of fighting age were told to look into a camera at the last border checkpoint.

Mostly Christian Armenian forces fought two Nagorno-Karabakh wars with predominantly Muslim Azerbaijan since the 1990s that have claimed tens of thousands of lives.

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The first war in particular witnessed alleged massacres of civilians and gross human rights abuses by both sides.

Azerbaijani forces on Saturday claimed control over Khojali, a town where hundreds of civilians died after it was seized by Armenian forces in the 1990s.

The separatists last week agreed to lay down arms after a lightning Azerbaijani offensive appeared to finally place Nagorno-Karabakh under its control.

Azerbaijan on Sunday also opened the so-called Lachin Corridor, the only road leading from the separatist stronghold Stepanakert to Armenia.

Officials said Tuesday that more than 13,000 people have fled the region for Armenia so far, with hundreds passing the border every hour.

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