The policy of genocide and aggression has been pursued by the Armenian nationalists against our people for more than two hundred years. This policy was aimed at driving the Azerbaijanis out of their lands and creating Greater Armenia, a fiction of the Armenian historians and ideologists. In order to implement their offensive and dangerous policy, they have used different ways and means, including the falsification of history, political provocations supported at the state level, aggressive nationalism, separatism, and aggression against the neighboring nations, “national-cultural”, religious, political, and even terrorist organizations established both in Armenia and in other countries, and they mobilized forces of the Armenian diaspora and lobby.
Following the division of Azerbaijan as a result of the Russian-Persian wars in the first quarter of the 19th century, massive settlement of the Armenians from Iran and Turkey in Garabagh started and the demographic situation was artificially changed there. In 1905, massacre of the Azerbaijanis and ravage of hundreds of settlements were committed by the Armenian nationalists. Under the political and military leadership of the Armenian-led Baku Commune, a cruel plan aimed at ethnic cleansing of the Azerbaijanis in Baku was committed in 1918. As a result, tens of thousands of innocent people were massacred, houses, cultural monuments, mosques and schools were destroyed in Baku, Ganja, Shamakhi, Guba, Lankaran, Garabagh, Mugan and other regions of Azerbaijan.
The policy of genocide and deportation of the Azerbaijanis was continued with delicate and insidious methods during the Soviet regime, which proclaimed equality of peoples, a lot of wrong and unfair decisions in respect to the Azerbaijanis were adopted. As a result of the unreasonable transfer of Zangezur, a historical Azerbaijani province, to Armenia in the 1920s, the ancient Nakhichevan was separated from the rest of the country. Moreover, an Armenian autonomy was established in the Mountainous Garabagh. The unfair decision of the Soviet authorities on the deportation of hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis from their native lands in Armenia in 1948-1953 allowed the Armenians to create a mono-ethnic state in the Republic of Armenia.
The outbreak of the Mountainous Garabagh conflict in 1988, the Armenian savagery in the territory of Azerbaijan and the innocent victims of this savagery were, unfortunately, ignored by the Soviet authorities and world community. Inspired by such a reaction, the Armenians committed genocide and unprecedented crimes against the Azerbaijanis. Twenty percent of the territories of Azerbaijan, including seven provinces around the Mountainous Garabagh – Kalbajar, Lachin, Aghdam, Fuzuli, Jabrail, Gubadli, and Zangilan were occupied by the Armenian armed forces. Over one million Azerbaijanis were driven out of their homeland, while tens of thousands people were murdered, injured and taken hostages. Hundreds of settlements, cultural, educational and health facilities, historical and cultural monuments, mosques, sacred places, cemeteries were razed to the ground as a result of the Armenian vandalism.
The massacres committed by the Armenian bandits in the Azerbaijani-settled Karkijahan, Meshali, Gushchular, Garadagly, Agdaban and other villages, as well as the Khojaly genocide will remain as a black spot in the history of the Armenians.
The Khojaly tragedy is one of the most horrible crimes committed against the Azerbaijani people by the authors of the chauvinist policy aimed at the establishment of a mono-ethnic Greater Armenia in the 20th century. Ignored and unharnessed by the world community and international organizations, Armenia claims to the Azerbaijani territories, and since 1905 it led terrible crimes and atrocity witnessed by mankind at the end of the 20th century.
On February 26, 1992, the Armenian armed units supported by the armored vehicles and military of the Khankendi-based 366th Motor-Rifle Regiment of the former Soviet Union razed the ancient town of Khojaly to the ground.
First Khojaly was terribly shelled and destroyed by cannons and other military equipment. Fire broke out in the town. Later the infantry entered Khojaly from several directions and committed brutal reprisals against the survived population.
Within a short time the Armenian armed forces brutally massacred 613 civilians and injured 421 people.
Those, who escaped the siege, were cruelly killed by the Armenian military on roads and in the forests. The Armenian bandits scalped the heads, cut out different organs of the people, gouged out the eyes of babies, bayoneted pregnant women, buried or burnt people alive, undermined the corpses.
That night 1275 went missing and taken hostages, the town with the population of 10,000 was ravaged, its buildings destroyed and burnt down. The fate of 150 people, including 68 women and 26 children is still unknown. As a result of the tragedy, more than 1,000 civilians were wounded and injured. Among the murdered there were 106 women, 63 children, 70 old people, 487 persons became disabled, among them there are 76 teenagers.
As a result of this military-political crime, eight families completely were annihilated, 130 children lost one of the parents, while 25 children lost both parents. Among the victims 56 persons were burnt alive.
As it was said by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev on the occasion of the anniversary of the Khojaly genocide, “hundreds of civilians were murdered and the corpses were insulted with unprecedented tortures without any military necessity. Children, women, elderly, entire families were massacred. It was one of the gravest crimes against humanity due to its atrocity and cruelty of those, who committed it.”
It is hard to imagine that such an unprecedented savagery took place at the end of the 20th century and was witnessed by the world community!
This act of mass and ruthless destruction was part of the policy of terror against the independence and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and a crime against the humanity as a whole. By committing a genocide in Khojaly, the Armenian nationalists wanted to frighten our people and break the spirit of struggle.
The operation of attack to Khojaly was led by the commander of the second brigade of the 366th Regiment Seyran Ohanian, commander of the third brigade Evgeny Nabokikh, chief of staff of the first brigade Valery Chitchyan. Over 90 tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and other military equipment of the regiment were involved in the operation. Militaries of the regiment, including Slavik Arutunyan, Andrey Ishkhanyan, Sergey Beglaryan, Movses Akopyan, Grigory Kisebekyan, Vachik Mirzoyan, Vachagan Ayriyan, Alexander Ayrapetyan, members of the Armenian armed units, including Karo Petrosyan, Vitaly Balasanyan, Seyran Tumasyan, Valera Grigoryan and others took an active part in the genocide against the civilian population. The involvement of the former chief of department of internal affairs of Khankandi Armo Abramyan, former chief of department of internal affairs of Askeran Mavrik Gukasyan, his deputy Shagen Barsaghyan, chairman of the Popular Front of the Armenians in the Mountainous Garabagh Vitaly Balasanyan, head of Khankendi prison Serzhik Kocharyan and other persons in the massacre have also been determined.
Then major S.Ohanyan is now a general and minister of defense of the Republic of Armenia. A number of other participants of the crime now hold various positions in the Republic of Armenia and in its puppet-state.
Resolution 96 of the UN General Assembly dated 11 December 1946 underlines that genocide,committed by ignoring the right to life of human groups insults the human dignity and deprives mankind of moral and material strongholds. Such infamous acts are completely opposite to the goals and objectives of the UN. Resolution 260 adopted on 9 December 1948 by the UN General Assembly and enacted in 1951, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide defines the legal basis for the crime of genocide. All participating countries have confirmed genocide as a crime violating the norms of international law and agreed to take measures to prevent and punish the actions of genocide in war and in peacetime.
The nature and scale of the terrible crime committed in Khojaly indicate that all the actions of the crime of genocide defined in the Convention were applied. Planned in advance, the act of mass and ruthless destruction was aimed at entire annihilation of the Azerbaijanis living there.
Violations of wartime norms defined by international law had no limits in this case. In accordance with the requirements of international humanitarian law, the war must be carried out only by the armed forces of the belligerent sides. Civilians must not take part in hostilities and be treated with respect. According to Article 3 of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in the Time of War, commonly referred to as the Fourth Geneva Convention, violence to life and person, in particular, murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture, outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment are prohibited. Article 33 states that no civilian may be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise measures of intimidation or of terrorism and reprisals against civilian population are prohibited. Article 34 also forbids taking civilian hostages. However, by taking over one thousand civilian hostages only in Khojaly, the Armenians demonstrated their disrespect to this principle. The Armenian armed forces ignored the norms of international law and used cruel methods for the destruction of civilians in Khojaly. It was a crime of genocide in accordance with the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (9 December 1948).
Those who committed unimaginable brutality against the Azerbaijani civilians in Khojaly and violated the Geneva Convention, Articles 2, 3, 5, 9 and 17 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Protection of Women and Children in Emergency and Armed Conflict, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide are still unpunished. Such impunity can lead to new crimes.
Armenia does not refrain from atrocities. On the contrary, the genocide committed against the Azerbaijanis is justified, while the perpetrators of this tragedy are considered national heroes. The anti-Azerbaijani policy is carried out and state-level ideological foundations for the occupation of the Azerbaijani lands are created in Armenia. The falsified Armenian history is encouraged by the authorities in order to raise chauvinistic spirit of the Armenian youth.
It is very strange that the parliaments of some countries, which ignored the Khojaly genocide, have discussed the myth about “the Armenian genocide” and even adopted unjust decisions on it. It is one of the reasons of failure of the efforts on the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over the Mountainous Garabagh.
The Armenian historians and politicians try to bury the fact of mass massacre of Azerbaijanis at the beginning of the 20th century and to confuse the world community by blowing up and promoting the 1915 events as the Armenian genocide.
The Azerbaijani territories are still under occupation. The Armenian savages have mercilessly killed innocent people to achieve their own greedy purposes.
It is the duty of every Azerbaijani to achieve the recognition by the international community of the Khojaly tragedy as a crime and genocide against humanity.
The national leader of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev said in connection with the tragedy: “The Khojaly genocide is one of the greatest human tragedies of the 20th century. In order to prevent such a massacre in other regions of the world, a serious and purposeful job should be done and the truth about the Khojaly genocide should be delivered to the world community.”
We should note that the Khojaly genocide alongwith other national tragedies was politically and legally recognized after the return of the national leader Heydar Aliyev to power by the insistent demand of the people. At the initiative of Heydar Aliyev, the Azerbaijani parliament adopted on February 24, 1994 the decision on the Day of the Khojaly genocide, a document with details about the reasons and perpetrators of the tragedy.
As it is stated in the instruction of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan İlham Aliyev on the “20th anniversary of the Khojaly genocide”: “The truth about the Khojaly genocide, which is a part of the policy of ethnic cleansing consistently implemented by the Armenian chauvinist circles against the Azerbaijanis in the 19-20th centuries, must be conveyed to the world and to the foreign parliaments. This heinous war crime against the Azerbaijani people and humanity in general must receive a political and legal assessment on the international scale.”
From this point of view Heydar Aliyev Foundation has a special role. The Foundation has been organizing events dedicated to the Khojaly genocide in 70 countries for many years. The measures of the organization include conferences, commemorative events, books, booklets, DVDs, and films.
The international campaign “Justice for Khojaly” initiated by Leyla Aliyeva, vice-president of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, chairwoman of the Russian-Azerbaijani Youth Organization has been broadening year by year. Hundreds of measures, such as conferences, seminars, pickets within the framework of the campaign have been organized worldwide, including in the EU, the CIS, Asia, and in the American countries. The Khojaly tragedy was recognized by a number of international forums thanks to the campaign.
At the initiative of the Foundation and Youth Forum, members of the parliament of 31 countries have recognized the Khojaly tragedy as a crime against humanity. Flash mobs are organized among the leading universities in 20 countries. Moreover, the new phase of the campaign has started, which includes addressing petitions and appeals to the heads of states and governments, to the OSCE Minsk Group, to the UN General Secretariat, to foreign parliaments, to international parliaments for the recognition of the Khojaly tragedy as an act of genocide and crime against humanity.
The international campaign “Justice for Khojaly” aimed at informing the world community on the realities of the Khojaly tragedy and achieving international recognition of the tragedy is successfully carried out by hundreds of volunteers in many countries.
One of the organizations with practical activities in this direction is the Association for Civil Society Development in Azerbaijan. The Association, which includes a number of leading NGOs of Azerbaijan has published a book titled “Khojaly genocide (in documents, facts and foreign press)” in Azerbaijani, Russian and English, collected signatures of one million citizens demanding the recognition of the Khojaly tragedy as a genocide. We should emphasize that the signatures are not only a simple requirement, but also a moral, political, historical, and legal document for those, who witnessed the Khojaly genocide. Thus, the collected signatures have been submitted to big Azerbaijani and foreign libraries, as well as to the parliaments of superpowers for the restoration of historical truth and justice.
Another notable project of the Association is the photo-album “Two Photo-Talks on One Tragedy” published in English. The book includes pictures and talks of two famous Azerbaijani photo reporters, who recorded the victims of the Khojaly tragedy.
The Azerbaijani government pursues a purposeful and consistent policy on informing the world community on the crimes of the Armenian nationalists against the Azerbaijanis and achieving the recognition of the Khojaly tragedy as a genocide.
The international community already understands the truth very well. The special resolution on the Khojaly genocide adopted by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation is the first document of international organizations to recognize the Khojaly tragedy as a crime against the humanity. The resolution adopted by 51 countries evaluated the Khojaly genocide as “a massacre of civilian population by the Armenian armed forces” and “a crime against the humanity”.
Currently the parliaments of Pakistan, Mexico, Czech Republic, Columbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina have recognized the Khojaly tragedy as a genocide and crime against Azerbaijan. Additionally, several states of the USA have recognized this genocide.
Unlike the Armenian nationalists, Azerbaijan does not pursue any political, financial and other kind of dividends in this issue. Our goal is to achieve the historical justice, to expose the criminals and to put them to international trial. Therefore, the world community must be informed about the global threat of ethnic separatism, hatred against other nations and terrorist ideology pursued by the Armenian nationalists. This is our duty to the memory of the heroic martyrs of Khojaly.