Azerbaijan Demands Armenia Be Brought to Justice as Khojaly Genocide’s 29th Anniversary Observed

The 29th Anniversary of the Khojaly genocide will be observed on Friday (February 26, 2021), paying tribute to victims of the Khojaly tragedy and drawing the International Community’s attention to crimes committed by Armenia against humanity, DND reports.

In a statement on the occasion of the 29th Anniversary of the Khojaly genocide, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan said that February 26, 2021 marks the 29th anniversary of the Khojaly genocide committed by the armed forces of Armenia during the Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan.

One of the gravest crimes committed against the civilian population during the decades of Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan and the most tragic page of the First Karabakh War was the occupation of Khojaly city.

Before the conflict, 7,000 people were living in this town located in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. From October 1991, the town was entirely surrounded by the armed forces of Armenia. Over the night of the 25 to 26 February 1992, following massive artillery bombardment of Khojaly, the armed forces of Armenia, with the help of the infantry guards regiment No.366 of the former USSR, implemented the seizure of Khojaly.

Invaders destroyed Khojaly and with particular brutality implemented carnage over its peaceful population. As a result of the Khojaly genocide, 5,379 inhabitants of the city were forcefully expelled, 1,275 were captured and taken hostage (the fate of 150 of them, including 68 women and 26 children, remains unknown to date) and were tortured, 487 were injured, 8 families were completely destroyed, 130 children lost one and 25 children lost both parents, 613 people, including 63 children, 106 women and 70 elderly brutally murdered.

The statement said that all the existing facts of the tragic events in Khojaly prove conclusively that the crimes committed in this city of Azerbaijan were not an ordinary and accidental act but an integral part of Armenia’s policy of systematic violence. The purposeful massacre of civilians in Khojaly was a crime based on ethnic grounds; it was aimed at the mass killing of people simply because they were Azerbaijanis.

At present, the national legislative bodies of 17 countries, as well as 24 States of the USA, have adopted resolutions and decisions condemning the massacre of civilians in Khojaly and assessing it as a crime against humanity. At the same time, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States (CCTSS) have adopted resolutions and statements strongly condemning the Khojaly genocide.

In its judgment of 22 April 2010, the European Court of Human Rights arrived at an important conclusion with respect to the crime committed in Khojaly, qualifying the behavior of those carrying out the incursion as “acts of particular gravity which may amount to war crimes or crimes against humanity”.

‘Perpetrators of Khojaly Genocide Should Be Punished’

The perpetrators of a 1992 massacre by Armenian forces in the town of Khojaly in Nagorno-Karabakh which left over 600 people dead should be punished, the head of the World Azerbaijani Congress said Wednesday.

Asif Kurban said in a statement that Armenian armed forces, terrorist groups and the 366th Motorized Rifle Regiment of the Soviet Army committed an unprecedented genocide against civilians by violating all international legal norms and human rights. Kurban said 613 people were killed and 87 were left disabled.

“The images that were taken at that time and the stories of the survivors of the massacre show that there was a real genocide in Khojaly. Also, a document presented by 30 members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe signed on April 26, 2001, the report prepared by the Memorial Human Rights Organization on Khojaly and the reply letter of UN Human Rights Organization President Holly Cartner to the Armenian representative in 1997 prove that the Armenians committed genocide in Khojaly,” he added.

Underlining that the parliaments of 15 countries and 16 state assemblies in the US recognized the genocide, he called on all parliaments to do the same.

“The ‘modern’ world of the 21st century is still silent and ignoring the Khojaly massacre,” he said, adding Armenia violated its obligation to prevent genocide and the actions of its perpetrators since it had effective control over those who carried out the actions in Khojaly.

“As the World Azerbaijani Congress, we consider what was done in Khojaly a violation of many conventions such as the 1949 Geneva Conventions, the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide,” it said, demanding that the perpetrators be punished.

It said the failure to ensure that those responsible for the Khojaly genocide are held accountable before the law will pave the way for new genocides that may be committed by Armenians in the future.