On May 26, 2020, the European Court of Human Rights ruled on the murder of Armenian officer Gurgen Margaryan by Azerbaijani officer Ramil Safarov in Hungary in 2004, as well as the extradition, pardon and glorification of the murderer in Azerbaijan. The court ruled that Azerbaijan had violated Article 2 (the right to life) and Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) of the European Convention on Human Rights.
It is noteworthy that during the proceedings, the Court noted that the actions of Azerbaijan – the pardon of Ramil Safarov immediately after his arrival in Azerbaijan, the payment of salaries during his stay in the Hungarian prison, the provision of an apartment and the career advancement - indicate that Azerbaijan recognizes and accepts the crimes by Ramil Safarov as its own. The court also stressed that each of these measures individually and collectively had testified that various state structures and top officials had approved and encouraged Ramil Safarov’s actions and that the approval and encouragement were strongly supported by the Azerbaijani society as a whole.
As we have repeatedly stated, pardon, heroization and popular glorification of a murderer as a role model to follow are an integral part of the state policy of the Azerbaijani authorities conducted for years on inciting Armenophobia in the country and encouraging hate crimes against Armenians. We consider it necessary to recall once again that the manifestations of racism and xenophobia against Armenians in Azerbaijan have been repeatedly mentioned in the documents of a number of international organizations, in particular, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the European Commission against Racism, and Intolerance and the Council of Europe Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.
The fact that not only the Azerbaijani authorities, but also the majority of the Azerbaijani society approve and encourage the heinous crime committed by Ramil Safarov is an alarming signal of serious transformation of the public consciousness in the country.
The ECHR ruling on the murder of Armenian officer Gurgen Margaryan by Azerbaijani officer Ramil Safarov can and should become a basis for taking practical steps, supported by the international community, to eradicate the negative phenomena caused by the multi-year state policy and practice of the Azerbaijani authorities on injecting the “hatred virus” against Armenians and everything Armenian into the public consciousness.