By Prof. Hratch Tchilingirian, University of Oxford
Since 1997, Azerbaijan is party to the United Nations “International Convention Against the Recruitment, Use, Financing and Training of Mercenaries.” Here are the provisions of Article 5 of the convention:
“1. States Parties shall not recruit, use, finance or train mercenaries and shall prohibit such activities in accordance with the provisions of the present Convention.
“2. States Parties shall not recruit, use, finance or train mercenaries for the purpose of opposing the legitimate exercise of the inalienable right of peoples to self-determination, as recognized by international law, and shall take, in conformity with international law, the appropriate measures to prevent the recruitment, use, financing or training of mercenaries for that purpose.
"3. They shall make the offences set forth in the present Convention punishable by appropriate penalties which take into account the grave nature of those offences."
Today Azerbaijan has deployed hundreds of mercenaries from Syria on its territory. Cynically, the Aliyev regime is less tolerant of its own citizens who had become mercenaries in other countries. In 2001, 13 Azerbaijani citizens were tried for "planning to take part in military operations as mercenaries and for forming illegal armed groups.