By Vafa Ismayilova
Today Azerbaijan commemorates the 29th anniversary of the mass killing of Azerbaijani civilians by Armenian forces in Khojaly town in Nagorno-Karabakh.
On the night of February 25 to 26, 1992, in violation of all international legal norms, the Armenian armed forces attacked the Azerbaijani civilians in the sieged town of Khojaly, killing them with unprecedented brutality and razing the town to the ground over a course of a few hours. 613 Azerbaijanis, including 63 children, 106 women and 70 elders were brutally murdered on the ground of national identity.
At the same time, 487 civilians were seriously injured and 1,275 people were taken hostage. The fate of 150 hostages, including 68 women and 26 children, is still unknown. During the genocide, 56 people were killed with special cruelty, people's heads were peeled off, various limbs were cut off, their eyes were removed, and pregnant women's bellies were pierced with bayonets. As a result, eight families were completely destroyed, 25 children lost both parents and 130 children lost one parent.
The pre-planned massacre was organized by Armenia's political and state leadership 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.
Azerbaijan's official sources report that 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.
It was committed with the aim of annihilating the people living in that territory just for the fact that they were Azerbaijanis. Those who committed it also aimed to shake the people who rose up for the defence of their lands from the Armenian armed forces’ aggression and break their will to fight.
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.
Late national leader Heydar Aliyev formerly stated that the Khojaly genocide, which once again exposed the face of the Armenian fascism, is a 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.
Under the Azerbaijani parliament's resolution dated February 24, 1994, February 26 was declared as the Day of the Khojaly genocide in the country. On February 24, 2017, parliament 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 Azerbaijani law-enforcement agencies continue to take appropriate steps to identify and prosecute the persons responsible for committing genocide in the town of Khojaly.
Justice for Khojaly
Azerbaijan has set as its task to convey the truths, based on real facts and evidence, about the Khojaly genocide as well as the atrocities committed against Azerbaijanis 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. Ensuring proper international legal and political assessment of the tragedy and punishment for its ideologists, organizers and perpetrators is regarded to be a crucial precondition for preventing such brutal acts from being repeated against humanity in general.
Relevant documents adopted by the parliaments of Mexico, Pakistan, the Czech Republic, Peru, Colombia, Panama, Honduras, Sudan, Guatemala and Djibouti recognized the Khojaly massacre as an act of genocide. The parliaments of Romania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Jordan, Slovenia, Scotland and Paraguay, as well as the executive and legislative bodies of 22 U.S. states have strongly condemned the Khojaly tragedy as a massacre. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation recognized Armenia as an aggressor and the Khojaly tragedy as genocide.
The promotional activities carried out under the Justice for Khojaly campaign organized by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation is widely spreading every year. As part of this campaign, Azerbaijan raised a petition calling on everyone to sign a petition in the name of establishing historical justice, in order to avoid the repetition of such crimes against humanity! Below is the link for signing the specified petition.
“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 are displayed on huge monitors along the streets during the rallies to commemorate the genocide every year.
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