Khojaly Genocide

Statement by the Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan



Khojaly Genocide:

The most brutal episode of Armenian-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

25-26 February 1992



            “Khojaly genocide” which was committed by the Armed forces of the Republic of Armenia against the civilian population of Azerbaijan, in the course of the war of Armenia against Azerbaijan, became one of the most monstrous and inexorable acts of international terrorism in the 20th century.  

             In February 1992, the town of Khojaly in the Republic of Azerbaijan was notoriously overrun and its population was subjected to an unprecedented massacre. This bloody tragedy, which became known as the Khojaly genocide, involved the extermination or capture of thousands of Azerbaijanis; the town was razed to the ground. Over the night from 25 to 26 February 1992 the  Armenian armed forces with the help of the infantry guards regiment No. 366 of the former USSR, the personnel of which was composed mainly of Armenians, implemented the seizure of Khojaly. The inhabitants of Khojaly that remained in the town before the tragic night tried to leave their houses after the beginning of the assault in the hope to find the way to the nearest place populated by the Azerbaijanis. But these plans have failed. Invaders destroyed Khojaly and with particular brutality implemented carnage over its peaceful population. As a result, 613 civilians were killed, including 106 women, 63 children and 70 elderly. Another 1,000 people were wounded and 1,275 taken hostage. To this day, 150 people from Khojaly remain missing.

            As news and accounts of the atrocity surfaced, the level of brutality was revealed:  atrocities by Armenian troops included scalping, beheading, bayoneting of pregnant women, and mutilation of bodies. Even children were not spared.

            Despite the unavailing attempts of Armenia to conceal the truth about the Khojaly genocide, actions on the ground and testimonials of the witnesses provide complete account that Khojaly was a deliberate military operation of Armenian Armed forces with the target of exterminating civilian population. The Khojaly town was chosen as a stage for further occupation and ethnic cleansing of Azerbaijani territories, striking terror into the hearts of people and creating panic and fear before the horrifying massacre.

            According to Le Mond, 14 March 1992 Azerbaijan was a charnel house again last week; a place of mourning refugees and dozens of mangles corpses dragged to a makeshift morgue behind the mosque. They were ordinary Azerbaijani men, women and children of Khojaly, a small village in war-torn Nagorno-Karabakh overrun by Armenian forces on February 25-26.

            One of the active militants of the Armenian terrorist organization ASALA, Vazgen Sislyan, whose name is associated with a number of bloody terrorist attacks committed around the world, did not conceal from the press his involvement in the killing of Azerbaijani children in Khojaly. It is characteristic that Sislyan was later recognized as a hero of the Karabakh war on the initiative of the president of the Republic of Armenia, Robert Kocharyan.

            From the book of the Armenian author Daud Kheyriyan, who participated in the Khojaly tragedy: “….On March 2, the Armenian group Gaflan, which was engaged in burning the corpses, collected more than 100 corpses of Azerbaijanis and set them on fire about one kilometr west of Khojaly….”

            A correspondent of Russian Izvestia newspaper described the Khojaly as following: “….from time to time, they bring the bodies of their dead fellow Azerbaijanis exchanged for living hostages, You wouldn’t see that even in a nightmare…..pricked eyes, cut out ears, scalps and chopped off heads…..there is no end to torture…. ”.

            Under such heavy facts and witnesses, including the one delivered by Armenian President, Iravan’s policy of disguising the realities of Khojaly and creating false illusions crumbles like house of cards.

            Although ignorance and denial of Armenia, facts about Khojaly genocide are being disseminated throughout the world and legislative bodies of certain countries have already recognized Khojaly as genocide. In that realm, recent Organization of Islamic Cooperation Summit in Cairo was an important event raising the international efforts to restore justice vis-à-vis Khojaly victims. Thus, Cairo Final Communiqué of the Organization of İslamic Cooperation adopted by the Heads of State and Government of Member States at Cairo Summit on February 6-7, 2013 called upon member states to exert due efforts to recognize Khojaly  as a genocidal act and crime against humanity at the national and international levels.

            It is inconceivable that at the dawn of the XXI century occupation, aggression and policy of ethnic cleansing in complete disregard to the UN Charter and the principles of international law committed from one member state of the United Nations and OSCE against another one.

             While committing such crimes against humanity, pursuit of recognition of so-called “Armenian genocide” which built out of myths without any substantial and convincing historical facts, in some national parliaments by Armenia is a mere illustration of tactics of shameful and immoral political speculation. In the meantime, amounting denial of so-called Armenian issue to the level criminal penalty, while turning blind eye to Khojaly genocide and other atrocities of Armenians by certain political circles, is ridiculous and gives impression of yet another deplorable and unfair episode of double standards.

            Paying lip-service to the negotiations process on the resolution of Armenian-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict within the OSCE Minsk Group, Armenia has no intentions of solving the conflict in line with the international law and UN Security Council resolutions 822, 853, 874, 884. Unfortunately, Azerbaijan’s commitment towards the peace is not matched by any tangible goodwill from Armenia.

            Armenian side fails to understand that the deliberate policy of protracting the conflict, maintaining territorial grabs and the status quo is all primarily against Armenian interests. By living with the relic of history, xenophobia, dreams of mythical “Great Armenia” and ultra extreme nationalistic ideology, Armenia became one of the poorest countries of the former Soviet Union with degrading population and declining economy. 

            Through the forthright and determined action of the international community and sober assessment of the strategic environment shaping in the region, Armenia must shoulder its responsibilities in resolution of the Armenian-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict based on the principles of international law, particularly respecting sovereignty and territorial integrity and must realize that its only hope for future development depends on the good relations with the neighbors. 

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