The Khojaly Genocide: A Crime against Humanity

This year on 26 February the Azerbaijani people will be commemorating the memory of the victims murdered by Armenian separatists in the Azerbaijani city of Khojaly on the night of February 25 to February 26, 1992.

During the decades-long aggression of Armenia against Azerbaijan, the genocide committed against the population of Khojaly town became one of the gravest crimes committed against the civilian population and one of the most tragic pages of Azerbaijan’s history.

Khojaly, one of the ancient settlements of Azerbaijan, was ruined and burned in one night. The storming of the city began with a two-hour artillery bombardment. Khojaly was blocked from three sides, and fire broke out and burned almost the entire city. Many civilians were killed by shells in the first hours of the assault.

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After the Armenian attack began, almost 2500 residents tried to leave the city and reach the nearest Azerbaijani controlled area. However, people who were trying to flee the city to save their life, ambushed by Armenian military posts. They were shot, slaughtered, and captured near the villages of Nakhchivanli and Piramal. The premediated massacre on this territory was committed with intent to annihilate residents solely on grounds that they were Azerbaijanis.

On the night of 25-26 February 1992, in violation of all international legal norms, Armenian armed forces attacked the civilian population of the sieged town of Khojaly with heavy military equipment, killing them with unprecedented brutality and razing the town to the ground.  As a result of this slaughter 613 people lost their lives, including 106 women, 63 children, and 70 older adults. As many as 1,275 civilians were captured and subjected to torture and humiliation, while the fate of 150 of them is still unknown. Eight families were totally exterminated, 130 children lost one parent and 25 children lost both. A total of 487 civilians became disabled as a result of the slaughter.

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The nature and gravity of the crimes committed in the town of Khojaly fully suits the definition of the word genocide as indicated in the Convention “On Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide” adopted on December 9, 1948 under Resolution 260 (III) of the UN General Assembly.  Unfortunately, those who committed this terrible crime against humanity have not been prosecuted by international courts and remained unpunished.

The Khojaly Genocide is recognized and commemorated by parliamentary acts adopted in numerous countries. Currently, 17 countries and over 20 states of the US recognize Khojaly as a genocide. In addition, documents related to the Khojaly genocide have been adopted in various countries and international organizations, and this process is still going on.

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However, it is important for other countries to stand up for justice and pass legal and political judgment on these acts of genocide committed against humanity.

The whole world must realize that this is not only a crime against Azerbaijani civilians, but also a crime against the entire humanity. (AK/RE1/P2)

Source: Embassy of Republic Azerbaijan in Jakarta

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)