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Makuchyan and Minasyan v. Azerbaijan and Hungary
American Journal of International Law  (IF3.091),  Pub Date : 2021-04-19, DOI: 10.1017/ajil.2021.6
Marko Milanović, Tatjana Papić

The judgment of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR or Court) in Makuchyan and Minasyan v. Azerbaijan and Hungary is remarkable both on account of its facts and the peculiar legal issues it raised. In 2004, an ax-wielding Azerbaijani army officer (R.S.) beheaded one Armenian officer, and attempted to kill another, while attending a NATO-organized English language course in Budapest, Hungary. R.S. was prosecuted in Hungary and given a life sentence. Eight years later, R.S. was transferred to Azerbaijan to serve the remainder of his sentence. However, upon his arrival, R.S. received a hero's welcome. He was released, pardoned, promoted, and awarded salary arrears for the period spent in prison, as well as the use of a state apartment in the capital. Many high-ranking Azerbaijani officials expressed their approval of R.S.'s conduct and pardon. (The long-standing Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan of course looms in the background of this story.)