These days Azerbaijan commemorates the twenty second anniversary of atrocious crimes committed against the civilians of the town of Khojaly, situated in the Nagorno Karabakh region of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
On the night of 25 and 26 February 1992, the armed forces of Armenia, with the support of irregular armed bands and terrorist groups, as well as with the direct participation of the infantry guards regiment No. 366 of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the personnel of which was composed mainly of ethnic Armenians, seized Khojaly.
The capture of the town involved the extermination of hundreds of Azerbaijanis, including women, children and elderly, while the town was razed to the ground. 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.
The level of cruelty in Khojaly is shocking: atrocities included scalping, beheading, bayoneting of pregnant women and mutilation of bodies.
The facts confirm that the intentional slaughter of the Khojaly town civilians was directed at their mass extermination only because they were Azerbaijanis. Indeed, Khojaly was a continuation of the ethnic cleansing and genocide policy being carried by the Armenian chauvinist-nationalists against the Azerbaijanis approximately during two hundred years.
Regretfully perpetrators of the Khojaly genocide have yet to be brought to justice. However some Western media, including Newsweek, The Independent, The New York Times and human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch and Memorial conveyed what happened in Khojaly to the attention of wider international community.
Russian human rights group “Memorial” reported about “scores of the corpses bore traces of profanation. Doctors on a hospital train in Aghdam noted no less than four corpses that had been scalped and one that had been beheaded……. and one case of live scalping.”
The New York Times wrote about “truckloads of bodies” and described acts of “scalping.”
The President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan (in 1992 a warlord) in his interview to British journalist Tomas De Waal said that “We don’t speak loudly about these things. Before Khojaly, the Azerbaijanis thought that they were joking with us, they thought that the Armenians were people who could not raise hand against the civilian population. We were able to break that [stereotype]”. No comments.
The overall assessment of the causes and consequences of the war unleashed by Armenia against Azerbaijan makes it absolutely clear that the intentional slaughter of the Khojaly town civilians and defenders was not an isolated or sporadic act, but was part of Armenia’s systematic policy and practice of atrocities, at the core of which are odious ideas of racial superiority, ethnic differentiation and hatred.
Recognition of the Khojaly massacre as a crime against humanity is a debt owed to the memory of those perished, and a necessity for avoiding such barbarous acts against the humanity in future.
More detailed information, including photo and video materials about the Khojaly genocide can be obtained from the following web-site:www.justiceforkhojaly.org