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Committed by Armenians, Khojaly genocide is a black spot in the history of mankind

Interview with  Member of the Milli Majlis Elman Mammadov

Q: Twenty-three years have passed since the Khojaly genocide was committed. We would like you to highlight strategic location of the town of Khojaly.

A: The Khojaly genocide is one of the most terrible and tragic pages of Azerbaijan history.

It should be mentioned that Azerbaijan has endured ethnic cleansing and genocide by Armenian nationalist-chauvinists for 200 years. The people of Azerbaijan were deported from their historical lands and became refugees and internally displaced persons because of Armenian occupation. Azerbaijanis were also forced from their historical lands during the Soviet period.

What was Armenians' purpose in Khojaly? On one hand that was the liquidation of the strategic hindrance in the form of Azerbaijani residents of the mountainous part of Nagorny Kharabakh. On the other hand that was the razing of Khojaly to the ground. Because Khojaly was an inhabited place, which reflected the history and traditions of Azerbaijan since the ancient times. This distinct culture is classified as Khojaly-Gadabay in the Azerbaijani history. The destruction of all material culture monuments and Khojaly graveyard - one of the most ancient cemeteries in history - after the Armenian occupation is are obvious examples of Armenian barbarism and aggression against the world culture.

The Khojaly genocide was a planned and purposeful campaign aimed at full or partial destruction of Azerbaijani-inhabited Khojali. Armenia started implementing the plans on occupying Khojali already in 1989. It had a strategically important geographical location. Occupying Khojali airport would also allow the Armenian side to take control of air space over Nagorno-Karabakh. As Khojaly was besieged in October 1991, its land and air links with the mainland was cut off. The very last helicopter flew to Khojali in January 1992. The population was unarmed, while the self-defense groups possessed several guns and hunting rifles.

Q: Hundreds of innocent people were killed in the Khojaly massacre. Did the then authorities do anything to prevent this tragedy?

A: The Khojaly genocide - the tragedy of the 20th century - was a result of aggressive and criminal policy. This tragedy was one of the most serious crimes not only against the people of Azerbaijan, but humanity as a whole.

Armenian military forces committed genocide in the town of Khojaly with the population of 7,000 people on February 26 1992. There were 3,000 people in the town at the time of Armenian military forces' attack as most part of the population had to leave town during 4 months blockade. Some 613 people were killed, 1000 peaceful people of different age became invalid during Khojaly genocide. 106 women, 63 children, 70 old men were killed. 8 families were completely annihilated, 130 children lost one parents, while 25 both of them. 1275 peace residents were taken hostages, the fate of 150 of them is still unknown.

Crimes against the unarmed residents of Khojaly were perpetrated by the fully armed Armenian regular army, illegal armed gangs of separatist Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenian terrorist groups from different countries, as well as the Khankendi-based 366th motor rifle regiment of the former Soviet Union.

Q: Incumbent Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan was personally involved in the Khojaly massacre. A petition to recognize him as a war criminal collected 100000 signatures. What do you think of this?

A: The systematic destruction of the Khojaly population was confirmed by the then commander of Armenian forces Serzh Sargsyan (Armenian president since 2008) in his interview with British journalist Thomas de Waal. According to Thomas de Waal, Serzh Sargsyan spoke more accurately and severely about the occupation of Khojaly: “Before Khojaly, the Azerbaijanis thought that they were joking with us, they thought that the Armenians were people who could not raise their hand against the civilian population. We were able to break that.”

A petition calling for the international community to recognize Armenian President, Serzh Sargsyan as a war criminal reached the floor of the United Nations.

The campaign, which has been initiated in Azerbaijan, seeks to reveal the horrors which Armenia's officials conducted against Azerbaijan in the 1990s. Launched in January the petition succeeded in collecting over 100,000 signatures, thus calling for the UN to hold Armenia's incumbent president liable for the war crimes he committed.

The campaign which ran under the slogan - "Hundreds of thousands of signatures to recognize Serzh Sargsyan as a war criminal" - aimed to make Armenia's war crimes known to the greater public.

Q: The government of Azerbaijan is doing a lot to increase the international community`s awareness of the Khojaly tragedy. What can you say of this?

A: We bear great responsibility for making the truth about the Khojaly genocide known to the world.

The government of Azerbaijan has been taking all necessary measures to make the truth about the Khojaly tragedy known to the world and have it recognized as an act of genocide against the Azerbaijani people.

Purposeful activity in this regard started with national leader Heydar Aliyev`s returning to political power in Azerbaijan. At the national leader`s initiative the political and legal assessment was given to the Khojaly tragedy, February 26 was declared the Day of the Khojaly genocide. Initiated in 2009 by Vice-President of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, general coordinator for intercultural dialogue of the Islamic Conference Youth Forum Leyla Aliyeva, the “Justice for Khojaly” international campaign, boosted the awareness-increasing activity even more. Thanks to the work carried out as part of this campaign the terrible evidences of the 23 year-old tragedy have been brought to the attention of wide international community, millions of people in all corners of the world became aware of the true face of Armenian nationalists, who stop at nothing including the murder of children for realization of their ridiculous ideas.