Khojaly genocide: Causes, consequences and international recognition

    Ali Hasanov

Assistant to the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan

for Public and Political Affairs

Doctor of Science in History, Professor

Territorial claims and military aggression of Armenia

against Azerbaijan in late 20th century

In the late 1980s, with the help of their patrons in the near and far abroad, the Armenians again took advantage of the situation to realize their "Great Armenia" idea and laid territorial claims to the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. Each time territorial claims to Nagorno-Karabakh were put forward from the outside, incited by the Armenian propaganda and pressure. 

When the events of 1988 just started, in an attempt to aggravate the situation and mislead the public opinion, the Armenian politicians and their patrons started to organize strikes and rallies and halted the activity of enterprises in Khankandi and Yerevan in accordance with a long-term deliberate plan to annex Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia under the pretext of economic backwardness of the region.

However, the ensuing events proved that this false claim about the socio-economic backwardness of Nagorno-Karabakh laid down by the Armenian politicians and their patrons in the center was just a pretext, and that the primary goal behind this campaign was Armenia`s territorial claims against Azerbaijan.

The Armenia-Azerbaijan ethnic hostilities escalated in the second half of the year when the Azerbaijani community of Nagorno-Karabakh was brutally attacked. So, in late August and early September, the Armenians attacked Khojaly and Karkijahan. On 18 September, nearly 15,000 Azerbaijanis were forcibly expelled from Khankandi by the Armenians. Their homes were burned down.

In such a tense situation in Nagorno-Karabakh, on 1 December 1989, the Supreme Soviet of the Armenian SSR made an unconstitutional decision to annex Nagorno-Karabakh, grossly violating sovereignty of Azerbaijan. Very serious and inexcusable mistakes and pro-Armenian policy of the Soviet leadership led to the aggravation of the situation in late 1990 – early 1991 when Armenian aggression gathered pace in Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan`s regions bordering with Armenia.

Hundreds of Azerbaijanis were killed in terrorist attacks on Baku-Moscow trains and Tbilisi-Baku, Tbilisi-Agdam, Agdam-Shusha, Agdam-Khojaly buses. Thousands of Azerbaijanis fell victims to the Armenian policy of aggression, which was patronized by the USSR leadership. Unfortunately, the fact that the Armenian separatists were not stopped at the beginning escalated the situation. As a result, with the help of armed groups and military hardware that came from Armenia, the Armenians committed mass killings of the Azerbaijani civilians, provoking the conflict`s degradation into a full-fledged war.

In 1991, the tension in the mountainous part of Karabakh started to gradually deepen. In June and December, the Armenian armed forces killed 12 and wounded 15 Azerbaijanis in the village of Garadagli in Khojavand district and in the village of Meshali in Asgaran district. In August and September of the same year, 17 Azerbaijanis were killed and around 90 others were injured when the Armenian armed detachments shelled buses on Shusha-Jamilli, Agdam-Khojavand and Agdam-Garadagli routes. At the end of October and in November 1991, the Armenians burned, destroyed and looted more than 30 settlements in the mountainous part of Karabakh, including Tug, Imarat-Garvand, Syrkhavand, Meshali, Jamilli, Umudlu, Garadagli, Karkijahan and other villages of strategic importance.

Starting from the early 1992, the Armenian army one by one occupied last residential areas of the Azerbaijanis in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. On 12 February, the Armenian armed forces occupied Malibayli and Gushchular villages in Shusha. From 13 to 17 February, the Armenians attacked Garadali village in Khojavand district and captured 118 people (children, women, elders), shot down 33 people, and buried the murdered and wounded local residents in wells. Sixty-eight of the hostages were killed with extreme cruelty, while 50 were rescued, with 18 of them later dying because of injuries.

Torture of captives, extremely cruel, barbarous treatment of them, beheading, burial alive, forcible tooth extraction, forced famine – are serious crimes against humanity. In Garadagli village, four members of each of two families were killed, 42 families lost their breadwinner, about 140 children became orphans. Every 10th villager was killed in this village (a total of 91 people), which suffered genocide in the true sense of the word.

Khojaly genocide: the gravest crime committed by Armenians

against Azerbaijanis in late 20th century

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.

Located in the strategically important part of the Nagorno-Karabakh region in Azerbaijan, the town of Khojaly was impeding the Armenians` occupation plans. The town was situated 12 km north-east from Khankandi, between Agdam-Shusha and Asgaran-Khankandi highways. What added to the town`s strategic importance was the fact that the only airport in the Nagorno-Karabakh region was located here. That is why the main goal of the Armenian armed forces was to seize control of the Asgaran-Khankandi highway, which passed through Khojaly, and to occupy the airport in the town.

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. With the population of more than 7,000 Azerbaijanis, Khojaly was the largest and ancient residential area (926 square km) surrounded by villages inhabited by the Armenians. The ancient monuments in the town had survived to modern time.

Near Khojaly there were samples of the Khojaly-Gadabay culture dating back to the 4th-7th centuries BC. When the Armenian armed forces massacred innocent people in Khojaly helped by the Soviet Union`s 366th motor rifle regiment in February 1992, in order to cover their tracks, they resorted to extreme brutality, destroying Khojaly monuments, which had been of unique importance to both the people of Azerbaijan as well as entire humanity.

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 28 January 1992, a MI-8 helicopter heading from Agdam to Shusha was shot down over Khalfali village by a rocket fired from Khankandi, killing 41 Azerbaijani passengers and three crew members aboard. Later the Armenian army occupied the last residential areas of the Azerbaijanis in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. In the late 1991, more than 30 residential areas in the mountainous part of Karabakh, including Tug, Imarat-Garvand, Sirkhavand, Meshali, Jamilli, Umudlu, Karkijahan and other Azerbaijani villages of strategic importance were burned, destroyed and looted by the Armenians.

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 (38, p. 8). 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;

- 27 families had only one surviving member;

- 25 children lost both parents;

- 130 children lost one parent;

- 230 families lost the breadwinner;

- 487 people became disabled, including 76 minors;

- 1,275 people were taken hostage;

- 1,165 people were released from captivity;

- fate of 150 people is still unknown.

The self-defense forces in Khojaly fought to the end, resisting the enemy very seriously following the battles, in which the balance of power was not equal. And this was the greatest example of heroism and courage shown by the people who were defending the town. When Khojaly was attacked, 3,000 unarmed civilians in the town, which was encircled by Armenian villages, left it in an attempt to escape the enemy. Unfortunately, almost the vast majority of these people failed to escape from the Armenian atrocities because there was no help to Khojaly at that time.

According to the investigation materials, more than 50 Armenian officers and ensigns were part of the units commanded by incumbent Armenian minister of defense Seyran Ohanyan and commander of the 3rd battalion of the 366th regiment Yevgeni Nabokikh.

However, inhumane and unprecedented cruelty of the Armenian-Russian joint armed forces against the Azerbaijani civilians in Khojaly was highlighted by the world's leading media agencies shortly after the tragedy.

Valer Actuel 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.

Even the Russian media published the articles highlighting the Armenian atrocities. "Izvestiya" newspaper, 13 March 1992, Russian military servicemen Major Leonid Kravets: "I saw about hundred dead bodies on the hill. One little boy was without head. Everywhere were the dead bodies of women, children, elders killed with the particular brutality". The Russian "Memorial" Human Rights Watch Center provided evidence of the atrocities committed by the Armenians in Khojaly: "For four days the bodies of 200 Azerbaijanis slaughtered in Khojaly were transported to Agdam, and dozens of instances of post-mortem mutilation and desecration were registered. 181 corpses went through forensic examination in Agdam (130 men and 51 women, including 13 children). The forensics established that 151 people died of bullet wounds, 20 people died of shrapnel wounds, and 10 people from blunt force trauma." The human rights watchdog also reported a case of a man scalped alive. Financial Times (London), 14 March 1992: "General Polyakov said 103 Armenian servicemen from regiment No 366 stayed in Nagorno-Karabakh".

In addition, during the withdrawal of the 366th motor rifle regiment of the former USSR from Khankandi, 25 tanks, 87 armored vehicles, 28 infantry fighting vehicles, 45 artillery gun systems were illegally given to Armenians. According to the investigation, the participation of dozens of Armenian officers and warrant officers in the 3rd battalion of the 366th motor rifle regiment during the armed attack on Khojaly was proved. In order to conceal evidence of Khojaly tragedy, the 366th motor rifle regiment was withdrawn from Khankandi to the Georgian city of Vaziani on 2 March 1992. On 10 March the same year the regiment was dissolved, its personnel and military equipment were dispatched distributed to other military units.

Those armed units massacred 111 people in Khojaly. They tortured and killed 16 people, who fled the town, in Ketik forest, 130 on Nakhchivanik road, 23 in Garagaya, 23 near Dehraz village, 8 in the direction of Shelli, 6 in Asgaran and other places. Eighteen of those who were taken hostages were tortured to death in Asgaran Interior Affairs Department. The examination of the bodies, forensic medical examination, testimonies of Khojaly residents, who escaped the siege, revealed evidence that servicemen of the 366th regiment tortured, massacred Azerbaijanis with unprecedented brutality.

Azerbaijani captives detained in Nagorno-Karabakh and other occupied regions of Azerbaijan as well as in Armenia faced unbearable tortures, some of them were murdered or became disabled. In 1988, criminal investigations were launched by prosecutor offices and other law enforcement agencies into the massacre, torture and disablement of the Azerbaijani captives by the Armenian armed forces in Nagorno-Karabakh and other occupied territories of Azerbaijan, as well as in Armenia, provocations and terrorist attacks, deportation of the population, destruction of material resources in residential areas, destruction of cultural and historical monuments and other grave crimes committed by the Armenians.

The investigation found out that the crime committed by the Armenian armed forces together with the 366th regiment of the USSR in Khankandi contained components of genocidal crime as stipulated in the Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of the United Nations General Assembly dated 9 December 1948 and article 103 of Azerbaijan`s Criminal Code.

The investigation also revealed that the Armenian military forces, separatist armed units in Nagorno-Karabakh and the 366th motor rifle regiment of the former Soviet army deployed in Khankandi infringed norms of international law and grossly violated Geneva Conventions of 1949, including Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field, Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, and Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, particularly the articles of these Conventions, which state that: "Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria. To this end, the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons: violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture; taking of hostages...".

Involvement of 38 persons – servicemen of the 366th motor rifle regiment and others – in the perpetration of Khojaly genocide was proved, and the court ruling demanded that they be brought to justice under the articles of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan, including Article 103 (genocide and war crimes against humanity), Article 107 (deportation or forced exile of population), Article 113 (torture), Article 115.4 (infringement of laws and customs of war), Article 116.0.17 (commitment of other actions relating to rape, sexual slavery, compulsory prostitution, compulsory sterilization, compulsory pregnancy, and also sexual violence). The appropriate documents were submitted to the Interpol's bureau in Azerbaijan to declare them internationally wanted.

During the investigation into Khojaly genocide, 2,213 people were questioned as witnesses and victims, over 800 examinations were conducted. The prosecutor's offices of Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan were requested appropriate legal assistance on a number of issues, including the lists of the killed and wounded servicemen of the 366th regiment, as well as information on the regiment's military equipment that was seized by the Armenians or was handed over to them, and on the Azerbaijani settlements that were shelled from the military hardware of the 366th regiment.

Operational and investigative measures continue to collect evidence of the involvement of commander of the 2nd battalion of the 366th regiment Major Seyran Ohanyan (Defense Minister of the Republic of Armenia till October 2016), commander of the 3rd battalion Yevgeniy Nabokikh and others in the perpetration of Khojaly genocide, to bring them to justice under articles of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan, and to identify those who committed grave crimes, including cruel treatment, torture and murder of captives, genocide in Meshali, Garadagli, Baganis-Airym, and other Azerbaijani settlements, and forced deportation of the local Azerbaijani population from their legitimate places of residence.

Making truth about Khojaly genocide

known to the world

The real essence of this horrific massacre, which occurred in front of the eyes of the world, was uncovered only after national leader Heydar Aliyev`s coming to political power in 1993. In February 1994, the Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan gave a political and legal assessment to Khojaly genocide. In addition, on 26 March 1998, national leader Heydar Aliyev signed a decree to declare 31 March as the Day of Genocide of Azerbaijanis to commemorate genocides committed against the Azerbaijanis throughout history.

In his address to the people of Azerbaijan on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of Khojaly genocide on 25 February 2002, national leader Heydar Aliyev underlined the historic and political importance of this genocide: "Khojaly massacre is the bloodiest page and continuation of the policy of ethnic cleansing and genocide continuously conducted by the Armenian chauvinists and nationalists against the Azerbaijanis over around 200 years."

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.

From this point of view, efforts of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, especially its president, UNESCO and ISESCO goodwill ambassador Mehriban Aliyeva are praiseworthy. The Foundation is conducting a systematic and continuous work to increase the international community`s awareness of Khojaly genocide.

"Victims of aggression" photo and children`s paintings exhibition, which was launched by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation in Brussels on 26 February 2007, is continuation of work to ensure the international community`s awareness of the truth behind the Khojaly events. To this end, the Foundation held commemorative ceremonies in Istanbul and 25 provinces of Turkey as part of "Khojaly Week" events program from 19-26 February. A scientific conference on "Khojaly massacre and realities of 1915 events", held in Berlin on 14 February 2008, was of pivotal importance in this respect.

In 2012, the 20th anniversary of Khojaly tragedy was commemorated – with the support of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation – in more than 100 places across the world. These commemorative events are held based on awareness-raising material prepared by the Foundation. The office of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation in the Russian Federation headed by Leyla Aliyeva successfully continues work to promote – through the Islamic Conference Youth Forum for Dialogue and Cooperation – the truth behind Khojaly tragedy.

Organization of Islamic Cooperation – international organization

that recognized Khojaly tragedy as 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. This campaign has been successfully held in many countries worldwide.

In July of 2009, the OIC Youth Forum and ISESCO signed an agreement to include information about Khojaly tragedy in history textbooks in OIC member countries. On 31 January 2010, "The resolution on cooperation between the OIC Youth Forum and the Parliamentary Union of the OIC Member States" was signed in Kampala, the capital of Uganda, at the 6th session of the Parliamentary Union of the OIC Member States (PUIC), which was attended by heads of parliamentary delegations from 51 countries. The signing of the resolution was initiated by the OIC Youth Forum. Signed under "Justice for Khojaly" campaign, the resolution described the tragedy as "the Armenian armed forces` massacre of civilians" and "crime against humanity". The resolution featured a clause urging full support for "Justice for Khojaly" international campaign both at national and international levels. This was the first international document recognizing Khojaly tragedy as "crime against humanity".

On 19 January 2011, at its 13th session in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, the Parliamentary Union of the OIC Member States adopted Abu Dhabi Declaration urging the recognition of Khojaly tragedy as "a mass crime against humanity" in support of "Justice for Khojaly" international campaign.

The Parliamentary Union of the OIC Member States reiterated its support for "Justice for Khojaly" international campaign at its 7th session, which took place in the Indonesian city of Palenbang on 31 January 2012. A special clause was added to "Aggression of the Republic of Armenia against the Republic of Azerbaijan" resolution – on the initiative of the OIC Youth Forum – which has been continuously adopted by PUIC in recent years. The article read: "The conference calls upon the Member Parliaments to properly recognize the genocidal massacre of Azerbaijani civilians by the Armenian forces in the town of Khojaly of the Republic of Azerbaijan on 26 February 1992; demands to take to justice the perpetrators of the Khojaly massacre starting from 2012 which marks the 20th anniversary of the tragedy."

This was a logical result of the activity of "Justice for Khojaly" international campaign. It should be noted that this resolution was the first international document to call Khojaly tragedy "the genocidal massacre". Given the fact that the Parliamentary Union of the OIC Member States groups one-fourth of the world`s parliaments and is one of the largest international inter-parliamentary unions, this resolution is of critical importance in ensuring the international recognition of Khojaly genocide as an integral part of the Armenian nationalists` genocidal policy against the Azerbaijani people, and in bringing the perpetrators of this crime to justice.

The Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation for the first time recognized Khojaly tragedy as a genocidal act at its 39th session, which took place in Djibouti on 15-17 November 2012. The resolution called on member states of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers and OIC institutions to be actively involved in the campaign and make efforts to ensure recognition of this genocidal act as crime against humanity at international and national levels.

The 12th Islamic Summit Conference, supreme body of OIC, which took place on 6-7 February 2013 in the Egyptian capital of Cairo and was attended by heads of state and government, recognized Khojaly tragedy as a genocidal act and crime against humanity. The 57-state Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation once again recognized Khojaly tragedy as a genocidal act at its 40th session held in Conakry, Guinea, on 9-11 December 2013.

The resolution included a separate clause on "Justice for Khojaly" campaign. The clause read: "The Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation welcomes "Justice for Khojaly" awareness campaign and calls on member states to be actively involved in the campaign and make necessary efforts to ensure recognition of this genocidal act as crime against humanity at national and international levels."

On 18-19 February 2014, the Iranian capital of Tehran hosted the 9th session of the Parliamentary Union of the OIC Member States, which was attended by parliamentary delegates from 53 member states. The council adopted "Cooperation between the Parliamentary Union of the OIC Member States and OIC Youth Forum" resolution, which once again called Khojaly tragedy "a genocidal act and crime against humanity." On 27-28 May 2015, the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation once again recognized Khojaly tragedy as a genocidal act. At the Council`s 42nd session in Kuwait, a delegation of the Islamic Conference Youth Forum for Dialogue and Cooperation introduced a special resolution, calling on member states and OIC institutions to be actively involved in "Justice for Khojaly" campaign and stressing the necessity of bringing the perpetrators of Khojaly tragedy to justice.

At its 11th conference held on 25 January 2016, the Parliamentary Union of the OIC Member States adopted "Cooperation between the Islamic Conference Youth Forum and PUIC" resolution, recognizing Khojaly tragedy as a genocidal act and crime against humanity. The resolution also urged parliaments of the OIC member states to make necessary steps to ensure that those who committed Khojaly face the full force of the law.

This year marks the 9th anniversary of the launch of "Justice for Khojaly" campaign. In order to realize goals set by the campaign, the Islamic Conference Youth Forum has carried out extensive work over these years. In order to achieve legal, political and moral recognition of Khojaly genocide internationally, the OIC Youth Forum defined the ensuring of the tragedy`s recognition as crime against humanity and genocide in international documents as one of its key priorities under the campaign. As a result of what has been done in recent years Khojaly tragedy was recognized as a genocidal act and crime against humanity at all levels within OIC, including the Summit Conference of the heads of state, supreme body of the organization.

Wider international recognition of Khojaly 

tragedy as genocide

Work to ensure recognition of Khojaly tragedy as genocide is already yielding more serious results. Thus, the 14th, 15th and 16th anniversary of Khojaly genocide was widely celebrated in Russia, Germany, USA, Turkey, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Kuwait and a number of other countries. Khojaly genocide was broadly discussed at special sessions of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey from 2005 to 2007. A number of commemorative ceremonies and campaigns were organized under "Khojaly Week" program of events in different Turkish cities from 19 to 26 February 2011. These events continue to be held on a yearly basis, also gathering pace in a number of cities across the world.

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. On 11 June 2011, the State of Texas passed a resolution recognizing and commemorating victims of Khojaly massacre. The resolution HR 535, adopted by the House of Representatives, condemned the massacre of civilian population of Khojaly by the Armenian armed forces.

As continuation of this process, on 22 February 2012, the states of New Jersey and Georgia passed resolutions on Khojaly massacre. The resolution 1594 adopted by the House of Representatives of the state of Georgia was a result of large-scale efforts of the Azerbaijani and Turkish diasporas. On 23 March 2012, the House of Representatives of the State of Maine passed a resolution on the 20th anniversary of Khojaly genocide.

International recognition of Khojaly genocide gathered pace in 2013. Thus, on 28 January, the Senate and later the House of Representatives of the State of New Mexico passed resolutions recognizing Khojaly massacre. Following this the House of Representatives and the Senate of the State of Arkansas passed resolutions on Khojaly massacre on 8 and 11 February respectively, while the State of Mississippi passed a resolution on 25 February. Then on 4 March, the State of Oklahoma, on 8 March the State of Indiana, on 18 March the Pennsylvania General Assembly and the House of Representatives of the State of Tennessee, on 3 April the House of Representatives of the State of West Virginia passed resolutions on the 21st anniversary of Khojaly massacre. On 3 May, the Connecticut General Assembly recognized Khojaly massacre.

In February 2015, the Senate (upper chamber) of the State of Arizona passed a resolution recognizing Khojaly massacre, then in March, the governor of Utah signed a resolution recognizing Khojaly massacre. In 2016, the US states of Nebraska, Hawaii, Montana and Idaho signed a special proclamation recognizing Khojaly massacre. Thus, the number of US states condemning and recognizing Khojaly massacre grew to 21.

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 on 30 July the House of Representatives of the Colombian Congress 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. It also called on Armenia to fulfill the four relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council.

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. The resolution came into force and became a law after its approval by the President and Foreign Minister of Honduras on 24 January 2014, and after its publication in the official The Gazette newspaper on 13 February 2014.

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. The resolution condemns the aggression of the Armenians against Azerbaijan and referring to the United Nations Security Council Resolutions No 822, 853, 874 and 884, the document calls for "immediate, full and unconditional" withdrawal of the armed forces of Armenia from occupied territories of Azerbaijan. The resolution also recognizes the rights of the Khojaly victims and their relatives to receive a just and judicious compensation commensurating with the material and moral loss incurred on them.

Work to ensure global recognition of Khojaly genocide has continued ever since, with the issue raised and political documents adopted at parliaments of European countries. On 12 February 2013, Romanian Democratic Liberal Party group presented a political statement "The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict." MP Lucian Militaru read out the text of the statement at the parliament`s session and stressed that the brutal killing of civilians by the Armenian armed forces in the town of Khojaly should be recognized by the international community as crime against humanity.

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 7 February 2013, the Foreign Relations Committee of the Chamber of Deputies of the country`s Parliament unanimously adopted a resolution condemning the brutal killing by the Armenian military units of 613 defenseless civilians in the occupied town of Khojaly 21 years ago. In this resolution, the Czech Republic once again officially recognized the Nagorno-Karabakh region as an integral part of the Republic of Azerbaijan, and accused Armenia of occupying this territory and committing the most horrific crime in Khojaly.

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.

The National Assembly of the Republic of Djibouti and the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs of Pakistan's National Assembly passed resolutions, on 11 January and 2 February respectively, condemning the occupation of Azerbaijani territories by Armenia and genocide committed by the Armenian armed forces against civilian population in the Azerbaijani town of Khojaly on 26 February 1992. The resolutions recognized Khojaly massacre as an act of genocide and crime against humanity and declared that those responsible must be punished according to relevant international instruments. The resolutions demanded the implementation of the resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly, Security Council as well as other international organizations urging the immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, and called on the international community and international organizations to put pressure on Armenia to implement these resolutions.

Thus, work to ensure promotion and recognition of Khojaly genocide has been yielding tangible results, and the process is gathering pace. This is certainly the result of outstanding policy conducted by the Azerbaijani government, which is of crucial importance in increasing the international community`s awareness of Armenia`s military aggression against Azerbaijan.

The aggressor country has been conducting its policy of occupation in front of the eyes of the world community for 25 years. Having created a mono-ethnic state, the leadership of Armenia occupied Nagorno-Karabakh (4,4000 square km), and Lachin, Kalbajar, Agdam, Fuzuli, Jabrayil, Qubadli and Zangilan districts located beyond the border of and measuring four times bigger than the Nagorno-Karabakh region itself. The Armenians conducted ethnic cleansing in all these regions. Armenia is trying to present its territorial claims to the Nagorno-Karabakh as an attempt of the Armenian community in this region "to determine its fate". This resulted in the expulsion of over million people (15 per cent of the total population) from Azerbaijan`s occupied lands, who became refugees and IDPs.

At all stages of history the Armenians` policy of occupation has been accompanied by mass political killings. Thus, more than 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed, more than 100,000 were wounded, 50,000 became disabled as a result of Armenia`s military aggression from 1988 to 1993. 373 terrorist acts were committed by Armenia, which pursues the policy of state terrorism and genocide, and the separatist regime in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan (in passenger buses, passenger and freight trains, Baku subway, air transport, passenger ferry, residential areas, civil and public facilities), killing 1,200 people and injuring 1,705 others.

Twenty per cent of Azerbaijan`s territory is now under occupation. As a result of occupation nearly 900 residential areas, 22 museums and four art galleries, nine historically important palaces, 40,000 museums, 44 temples and nine mosques were destroyed, plundered and burnt. In addition, 927 libraries, 4.6 million books and valuable historic manuscripts were annihilated. According to estimations, apart from moral and psychological damage, Azerbaijan`s economy suffered around $320 billion loss.

The aforementioned facts shed light on Armenia`s policy of aggression. One of the facts testifying to continuity of Armenia`s criminal policy is that in the 20th century alone the Armenian nationalists committed genocide and ethnic cleansing against the Azerbaijanis four times – in 1905-1906, 1918-1920, 1948-1953 and 1988-1993. Under international law, genocide is an act against peace and humanity, and is considered the most serious crime. On 9 December 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution No 260 (III) on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, which came into effect in 1961, defined the legal aspects of the crime of genocide. By conducting military aggression against Azerbaijan, Armenia violated all clauses of this convention.

In an executive order commemorating the 20th anniversary of Khojaly genocide, President Ilham Aliyev said: "The truth behind Khojaly genocide, which was part of the ethnic cleansing policy that the Armenian chauvinist circles pursued against the Azerbaijanis stage-by-stage in the 19th-20th centuries, must be made known to the world community, parliaments of foreign countries, and this serious military crime committed against the Azerbaijani people and entire humanity must be internationally recognized."

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