Khojaly genocide

The Khojaly genocide is the gravest crime of genocide committed against peaceful Azerbaijani people in the course of Armenia’s aggressive war against Azerbaijan. Prior to this, part of peaceful population of Baghanis Ayrim village in Azerbai­jan’s Gazakh region bordering with Armenia, as well as the villages of Imarat-Garvand, Tug, Salakatin, Akhullu, Khojavand, Jamilly, Nabilar, Meshali, Hasanabad, Karkijahan, Gaybaly, Malibayli, Yukhari and Ashaghi Gushchular, Garadaghli villages in Nagorno-Karabakh where the Azerbaijanis lived, was murdered with special cruelty on the basis of a previously prepared plan. Suffice it to note that more than 80 Azerbaijanis were massacred in Garadaghli village in Khojavand region on February 17, 1992, just a few days before the Khojaly genocide.

The town of Khojaly was located in the strategically important part of the Nagorno-Karabakh region in Azerbaijan. It was situated 10 km south-east from Khankandi, between Aghdam-Shusha and Asgaran-Khankandi highways. What added to the town`s strategic importance was the fact that the only airport in the Nagorno-Karabakh region was located here. Khojaly was completely placed under the siege by the Armenian military units in the second half of February. All the attempts by local civilians to break the siege were prevented.

On the night of 25-26 February 1992, in violation of all international legal norms, the Armenian armed forces attacked the civilian population of the sieged town of Khojaly with military hardware, killing them with unprecedented brutality and razing the town to the ground. As a result of the horrible crime against not only the people of Azerbaijan, but against the entire humanity, 613 civilian Azerbaijanis, including 63 children, 106 women and 70 elders were brutally murdered on the ground of national identity.

National leader Heydar Aliyev sharply protested against the country’s leadership at that time for the absolute defenseless position of Khojaly: “The then authorities` treacherous position against the national independence of Azerbaijan and our people, their criminal indifference to their constitutional duties, continuous political power games, the anarchy and arbitrariness reigning in the republic, personal ambitions of certain politicians encouraged the Khojaly tragedy. Our citizens` cry for help was ignored, despite real possibilities for Khojaly to be rescued the innocent population was purposely subjected to this massacre. The Khojaly genocide, which once again exposed the face of the Armenian fascism, is a historical crime against not only the people of Azerbaijan, but also against the entire humanity. It must be condemned by the civilized world in compliance with international law.”

The nature and scale of the crimes committed in the town of Khojaly proves that the act of genocide fully complies with the definition indicated in the Convention “On Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide” adopted under Resolution 260 (III) of the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1948. This ruthless pre-planned massacre was committed with the aim of annihilating the people living in that territory just for the fact that they were Azerbaijanis. Khojaly villagers were beheaded, had their eyes gouged out, skinned, and burned alive. Those trying to flee were killed with a particular brutality by the Armenian troops who ambushed them on roads and forests.

Khojaly does not differ from horrific tragedies of Katyn, Lidice, Oradour-sur-Glane, Holocaust, Songmy, Rwanda and Srebrenica, which are etched on the minds of people forever.

The Khojaly genocide was organized by the political and state leadership of the Republic of Armenia and directly executed by the Armenian armed forces, Armenian terrorist groups in Nagorno-Karabakh and the infantry units of the 366th motor rifle regiment of the former USSR army deployed in Khankandi.

The Khojaly genocide is one of a series of acts of mass slaughter aiming to shake the people who rose up for the defense of their lands from the Armenian armed forces’ aggression, break their will to fight and annihilate part of the Azerbaijani population of Nagorno-Karabakh. It is also evidenced by a massacre committed during the occupation of Aghdaban village in Kalbajar region on April 8, about a month and a half after the Khojaly tragedy. That massacre saw the brutal killing of 67 civilians, including children, women and elderly, dozens of people were taken hostages and went missing. As a continuation of these events, on August 28, 1992, another ruthless crime – Balligaya massacre – was committed in the village of Balligaya in Goranboy region. 24 Azerbaijani civilians were killed with special cruelty, including 6 kids and a 6-month-old baby, a 93-year-old woman, while 3 kids lost both parents. Corpses of some civilians were burned.

According to the Resolution of the Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan dated February 24, 1994, February 26 was declared as the Day of the Khojaly genocide.

On February 24, 2017, the Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan reaffirmed its recognition as genocide – under its resolutions dated February 24, 1994, February 24, 1995, February 27, 2007, and February 24, 2012 – of a mass slaughter of the Azerbaijanis in the town of Khojaly over the night of February 25-26, 1992, carried out by the military units of the Republic of Armenia, Armenian armed formations in Nagorno-Karabakh and 366th motor-rifle regiment of the former Soviet army.

The law-enforcement bodies of the Republic of Azerbaijan continue to take appropriate steps to identify and prosecute the persons responsible for committing genocide in the town of Khojaly.

National leader Heydar Aliyev said about the Khojaly genocide: “We have a duty for the people and the government of Azerbaijan to convey the truths, based on real facts and evidence, about the Khojaly genocide as well as the atrocities committed against our people in the Nagorno-Karabakh region to the world community, parliaments, public organizations in order to achieve recognition of these events as a real act of genocide. This is a sacred duty of us as citizens and humans for the victims of the genocide. On the other hand, ensuring proper international legal and political recognition of the tragedy and punishment of its ideologists, organizers and perpetrators is a crucial precondition for prevention of a repetition of such brutal acts against humanity in general.”

The promotional activities carried out under “Justice for Khojaly” campaign organized by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation is widely spreading every year. As a result of systematic work to increase the international community’s awareness of the Khojaly genocide, the Parliamentary Union of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, as well as the parliaments of Mexico, Pakistan, Czech Republic, Peru, Columbia, Panama, Honduras, Sudan, Guatemala, Djibouti recognized the mass killings committed in the town of Khojaly as a genocidal crime. The parliaments of Romania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Jordan, Slovenia, Scotland, as well as executive and legislative bodies of more than 20 American states strongly condemned and recognized the Khojaly events as a massacre.

Large-scale events are organized on a yearly basis to remember the Khojaly genocide under orders of President of the Re­public of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev. A nationwide march was held in Baku to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Khojaly genocide. “The world must recognize the Khojaly genocide”, “Justice for Khojaly”, “Do not forget Khojaly”, “No to Armenian fascism”, “Khojaly – genocide of 20th century”, “The criminals won’t go unpunished’ and other slogans were displayed on huge monitors along the streets during the rally.