Marek Siwiec MEP on Poland & Europe

When the USSR dissolved, old national feuds, previously referred to as simple territorial demands, revived in an unexpected way. Under such circumstances newly independent Armenia captured Nogorno-Karabakh, that had been a part of Azerbaijan for a while, and holds it until now.

To the applause of the OSCE Minsk group (USA, Russia, France, Turkey, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Italy, Portugal, The Netherlands, Belarus, Armenia and Azerbaijan) endless talks go on and on. The only success of the yearlong efforts is that cannons actually remain silent. While people keep dying at the borders, and those who escaped Azerbaijan never returned back home, hope for a diplomatic solution, even though very weak, is still alive.

Over the past few years due to its oil and gas, Azerbaijan grew stronger against Armenia. Moreover, recently president Aliev managed to win the support of the Muslim world at the XVI summit of the non-aligned movement in Teheran. That is the background to the situation that may actually set this fragile peace on fire.

Eight years ago a NATO-sponsored English course took place in Hungary. One night a lieutenant of the Azerbaijani army Ramil Safarov sneaked into an Armenian Army Lieutenant’s room, stabbed him, and chopped off his head. Safarov was disarmed soon and did not manage to kill the second lieutenant. The sentence was clear though: life imprisonment.

A few days ago Hungarian authorities decided to send the murderer away to serve the rest of his sentence in Baku, where he was immediately granted pardon and promoted to major. Presumable gratifications are not being mentioned. One can only imagine the reaction of Armenia who broke off its diplomatic relations with Hungary and is currently awaiting explanation on an international level, while the issue became a prerogative of the UN.

It might have been pure coincidence that right before the incident premier Viktor Orbán visited Azerbaijan. They say he also managed to negotiate some financial support for his country in the meantime.

It all seems like the beginning of a next series showing how Viktor Orbán disregards fragile international piece, and a clear evidence of the values that define his actions.

Author :


  1. Dear Mr. Siwiec,

    Thank you for sharing with us this update. May I add something thereto.

    I have a personal attachment in that story: It isn’t a secret that between 2004-2007, I served the Hungarian Judicial system as a clerk of the Court of Appeal of Budapest (Fővárosi ítélőtábla) and I was present on 22 February 2007 when our 2.Bf Criminal Council sentenced Mr. SAFAROV at last resort to lifelong imprisonment in Budapest.

    Thus, I fell thathave a personal responsibility to present my legal interpretation and deliver my professional opinion on the desirable steps forward.

    Yes, the case shall be interpreted in the framework of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. May I underline the legal dimension of the case:

    Did Hungary act fully in line with the international law?

    Definitely not.

    But may I immediately add thereto: Hungary didn’t violate the international law, either. In fact, the European Convention of the European Council on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons regulates the deliverance of sentenced persons outside of their home countries and Hungary formally followed the rules (at least the letters) of the Convention. But doing so, he violated the spirit of the convention: such a deliverance of a sentenced person can take place ONLY IF the other party give APPROPRIATE GUARANTEES that the judgment will be executed under the same conditions. And it had to be obvious for everyone, that the words of a Minister of Justice cannot be considered as an appropriate guarantee in that case since SAFAROV, the axe murderer is considered as a national hero in Azerbaijan. And even not lawyers could have been aware of the existence of a potential Presidential Pardon.

    (another legal example: A Serbian murderer Magda Marinko has been sentenced for lifelong prison for several assassinations in Hungary. However, he cannot be delivered to Serbia since there is still death penalty in Serbia and Serbia couldn’t give enough Ggarantee that it wouldn’t execute the murderer if Hungary delivered him. At least so far.)

    Since Hungary didn’t apply very basic judicial and diplomatic rules in an appropriate manner and created international conflicts the final magnitude cannot be seen of, in my opinion, the political responsibility of the concerned ministers can really be brought into questions. And the key of the situation is in the hands of the concerned ministers.

    If you are interested in reading my Blogactiv post about this case, you can find it on blogactive her:


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