The genocide, which was committed by the Armenians in the Azerbaijani town of Khojaly in the late 20th century, is considered one of the gravest crimes against humanity. 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. These atrocities went down in the history of wars as genocides of civilians that shook the world.
By committing genocide in Khojaly with extreme cruelty and torture, the Armenians wanted to wipe out the ancient settlements of the Azerbaijanis because being an ancient land, Khojaly differed from other areas with its historic and cultural monuments.
Four months before the tragedy took place – in the late October 1991 – all roads to the town were closed, and Khojaly was, in fact, placed under the siege. On 2 January, supply of electricity to Khojaly was halted. Khojaly`s connections with other regions of Azerbaijan were cut, and the only way to get to the town was by helicopter. But a few months later helicopter connection was also cut.
On the night of 25-26 February 1992, the Armenian armed forces surrounded Khojaly with 10 tanks, 16 armored carriers, nine infantry fighting vehicles, 180 military experts and infantry units of the 366th motor rifle regiment, which was part of the 23rd division of the 4th USSR army deployed in Khankandi. Armed with state-of-the-art weapons, the Armenians razed Khojaly to the ground. The town was destroyed and burned by military hardware, and its civilians were killed with extreme cruelty. Most of them were beheaded, had their eyes gouged out, skinned, and burned alive.
Official figures prove that as a result of the genocidal act in Khojaly 613 people were killed, including 106 women, 63 children and 70 elderly.
- 8 families were completely annihilated;
- 56 people were tortured to death;
- 25 children lost both parents;
- 487 people became disabled, including 76 minors;
- 1,275 people were taken hostage;
- fate of 150 people is still unknown.
Inhumane and unprecedented cruelty of the Armenian armed forces against the Azerbaijani civilians in Khojaly was highlighted by the world's leading media agencies shortly after the tragedy.
“Valeurs actuelles” magazine, which was based in France, home to large Armenian lobby, wrote about the Armenians` state-of-the-art military hardware and mercenaries in its 14 March 1992 edition: "In this "autonomous region" Armenian armed forces together with the people who are natives of Near East have the most modern military equipment, including the helicopters. ASALA has military bases and ammunition depots in Syria and Lebanon. Armenians annihilated Azerbaijanis of Karabakh, implemented bloody massacre in more than 100 Moslem villages".
"Le Monde" newspaper (Paris), 14 March 1992: "… The foreign journalists in Agdam saw the women and three scalped children with the pulled off nails among the killed people. This is not Azerbaijani propaganda, but reality."
“The Sunday Times” newspaper (London) 1 March 1992 edition highlighted atrocities committed by the Armenians against the Azerbaijanis: "Survivors reported that Armenian soldiers shot and bayoneted more than 450 Azeris, many of them women and children, who were fleeing an attack on their town. Hundreds, possibly thousands, were missing and feared dead. "They were shooting, shooting, shooting," echoed Razia Aslanova, who arrived in Agdam with other women and children who had made their way through Armenian lines. She said her husband, brother-in-law, and her son-in-low were massacred in front of her, while her daughter went missing (83).
The Washington Post (USA), 28 February 1992 edition, The Sunday Times 1 March 1992 edition, and Crual L'Eveneman" magazine (Paris), 25 March edition and a number of other publications provided substantial evidence of the Armenian armed forces' large-scale attack on Khojaly with modern military equipment, as well as the annihilation of dozens of Azerbaijani families.
Making truth about Khojaly genocide
known to the world
Exposing the perpetrators of this genocide and promoting the awareness of the international community of this crime was set as one of the key priorities of Azerbaijan`s foreign policy. Continuous measures have been taken to make the Khojaly realities known to the world, increase international awareness and ensure objective recognition of genocide.
On 8 May 2008, which marked the anniversary of the occupation of the city of Shusha by the Armenian armed forces, General Coordinator of the Islamic Conference Youth Forum for Dialogue and Cooperation Leyla Aliyeva initiated "Justice for Khojaly" campaign, which came into effect in February of 2009. The primary goal of "Justice for Khojaly" international awareness and promotion campaign is to make Khojaly genocide known to the world community, ensure moral and political recognition of this massacre on the international scale and commemorate victims of this tragedy.
The first step towards achieving recognition of Khojaly genocide in the USA was taken on 25 February 2010. On that day the House of Representatives of the state of Massachusetts adopted a resolution recognizing Khojaly massacre. The Houses of Representatives of more than ten states in the United States of America, namely, Arkansas (08.02.2013), Connecticut (16.04.2013), Georgia (24.02.2012), Indiana (03.03.2014), Maine (13.03.2012), Massachusetts (25.02.2010), New Jersey (25.02.2012), New Mexico (28.01.2013), Oklahoma (20.02.2013), Pennsylvania (20.03.2013 and 02.03.2015), Tennessee (19.03.2013), Texas (03.03.2011) and West Virginia (03.04.2013) adopted relevant documents recognising and commemorating the Khojaly genocide.
The Czech Republic was the first member state of the European Union to officially condemn Armenia for killing civilians in Khojaly and recognize these events as crime against humanity.
On 26 February 2013, the House of Peoples (upper chamber) of the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina passed – by an overwhelming majority – a resolution "On recognition and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Azerbaijan", condemning Armenia`s aggression against Azerbaijan and Khojaly genocide.
On 29 January 2015, President of Israel Reuven Rivlin mentioned Khojaly genocide along with other genocides and massacres as he addressed the UN General Assembly marking the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust.
On 20 December 2011, the Chamber of Deputies of the Mexican Congress passed a resolution sharply condemning the occupation of Azerbaijan`s lands and the massacre in Khojaly by the Armenian armed forces.
On 1 February 2012, the Senate of Pakistan adopted a resolution recognizing Khojaly genocide. In the resolution, the Foreign Relations Committee condemned genocide against civilians.
Colombia was the second Latin American country after Mexico to recognize Khojaly genocide, when its Senate adopted a resolution on 23 April 2012.
On 28 May, the Senate of Jordan made a statement on Khojaly genocide.
On 13 June the parliament of Peru and passed resolutions on the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and Khojaly genocide.
On 13 August, the National Assembly of Panama adopted resolution No 4 "On the occupation of the Azerbaijani territories by the Armenian armed forces". The resolution strongly condemned the massacre committed by the aggressor in Khojaly.
On 17 January 2014, the National Congress of Honduras adopted resolution No 333-2013 recognizing occupation of the Azerbaijani lands and Khojaly genocide. It was approved by the president and secretaries of the National Congress.
On 1 September 2014, the Committee of Foreign Relations of Sudan`s National Assembly adopted a resolution, recognizing the bloody events happened in Azerbaijan's Khojaly town in 1992 as an act of genocide and crime against humanity.