Leaked video shows alleged execution of Armenian prisoners in Hadrut

Videos circulated on Azeri Telegram channels and analysed by investigators at Bellingcat reportedly show the capture and execution of supposed Armenian prisoners of war.

In a statement, Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Defence said the videos, which have since been deleted, were fake. “We declare that these videos staged by the Armenians themselves to attract the attention of the international community are provocative. These videos have nothing to do with the combat actions of the Azerbaijan servicemen.”

Bellingcat however, stated that “there are many grounds to suspect that the video is genuine”. 

The video was geolocated to an area to the north of Hadrut, a town Azerbaijan claims to have captured, an assertion contested by Armenia. This would seem to confirm that the incident happened on the front line between Azeri and Armenian controlled territory in the south of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Bellingcat’s analysis of two videos showing the capture and then execution of their prisoners suggests that the captors spoke Azeri, and that the prisoners were transported away from the area of their capture about 1 km to the south, behind Azeri lines. 

Although analysis of the clothing of the soldiers who shot the video was inconclusive, Bellingcat said their helmets suggested they could be Azeri special forces.

Nick Waters, a senior investigator at Bellingcat, said on Twitter that he believed that the videos were real, and that they showed “the summary execution of 2 detainees by Azerbaijani soldiers”.

Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Defence maintains that the videos are fake. “We remind once again that the Azerbaijan Army acts in accordance with military legislation in compliance with the requirements of the Geneva Convention,” they said in a statement