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Kerim Kerimli: Losses in Azeri army in peacetime12.03.2013 | 12:38
Unauthorized mass protest against the non-combat losses in the Azerbaijani army was broken up by the police in Baku on March 10. The demonstration, according to various sources, was attended by 500 to 3,000. The reason for the street demonstrations was the death of the privates Jayhoon Gubadov (on January 7) and Seymour Allahverdiyev (on February 28) in the arrangement of military units. According to the Ministry of Defense, in the first case, the reason was a heart attack, in the second case - a suicide. "Big Caucasus" asked Azerbaijani journalist and human rights activist Kerim Kerimli to tell about the situation in the army.
- Kerim, previous action against the non-combat losses in the army of Azerbaijan was held in January. At that time, the country's president ordered to investigate the situation. Were any specific measures taken then?
- President held a meeting with top officials of the country. He gave various instructions, but, unfortunately, deaths among the personnel of the army have not stopped. Perhaps, after yesterday's protest some measures will be undertaken, but there is no information about upcoming resignations. Judging from past experience, a few punishments took place: in some units some officers were fired, someone was disrated, and so on. But all of this is clearly insufficient action. At least, they have not satisfied the society.
- What are the main causes of the so-called non-combat losses in the army?
- Incidents connected with the death of soldiers can be divided into four categories. The first is the loss resulting from violations of the cease-fire: the soldiers get killed by Armenian sniper shots or undermine by the mines and so on. The second category - the death by disease. Third - hazing. Fourth - suicide. But regardless of the reason why soldiers are dying, for such a country as Azerbaijan, to put it mildly, it's a bad indicator. For us, this is a very big number.
- The death of a soldier in peacetime happens in all armies of the world. Protests in Azerbaijan show the unprecedented nature of what is happening in Azerbaijan or the extreme activity of civil society?
- Judging by the media reports and various online publications, for the two months of the new year, we have already lost 15 soldiers. In our view, this is a very big number, since the army is losing servicemen in peacetime. You can refer to the violations of the cease-fire, but after all, today, there are no active hostilities, as in the early 1990s. Therefore, the situation in the army causes public dissatisfaction, and the discontent is growing. From time to time it develops into action, such as the one that was yesterday.
As for other countries, to be honest, I'm not ready to discuss how worse our things are. But I would not like the officials justified themselves by the fact that the death of soldiers in peacetime can happen anywhere. I do not exclude that in some armies shocking things take place, but that does not justify what is happening in our country. First, it should not be so. And secondly, if follow somebody's example, we should follow best examples. So far, unfortunately, we have not fully got rid of the Soviet legacy. Some of our officers are the people with a Soviet mentality.
- Do the NGOs have any opportunity to influence the situation in the army?
- Such organizations exist in Azerbaijan, but, unfortunately, they do not always have access to the military units, so it is very difficult to keep social control in the field. But now is the time when all the information about the events in different military units soon becomes public property. Today it is almost impossible to hide what's going on there.