Message to the people of Azerbaijan on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Khojaly genocide

It has been 20 years since the Khojaly genocide, one of the most terrible and bloodiest tragedies in the 20th century. On the night of 25-26 February 1992, the Armenian armed forces, with participation of the Khankendi-based 366th motorized infantry regiment, attacked and ruined, in one night, the town of Khojaly, which had been encircled during months. In this bloody act, they brutally slaughtered civilians, murdering 613 people, abusing corpses, taking 1275 hostages. Of them, the fate of 150 remains unknown. Of the killed, 63 are children, 106 are women and 70 are elders. The military invasion completely wiped out 8 families.

For the past two centuries Armenian nationalists have repeatedly committed such outrages on humanity as terror, mass atrocities, deportation and ethnic purge in order to realize the mythic idea of “the Great Armenia” at the expense of historical Azerbaijani lands. The Khojaly genocide, which happened in the late 20th century before the eyes of the world and was marked by cruelty and brutality, was the bloodiest page of this aggressive policy. The political and legal responsibility for this grave crime directly rests with the then and present leadership of Armenia, separatist regime in Nagorno-Karabakh.

The government of Azerbaijan has carried out systematic and purposeful work for nearly 20 years in order to raise the world community`s awareness about the Khojaly tragedy perpetrated by Armenian fascists, and have the genocide recognized internationally. During recent years, numerous civil society institutions, youth organizations and Diaspora structures, which represent our compatriots, have done the effective work together with the governmental bodies in this field as part of the Justice for Khojaly campaign. The true face of the Armenian propaganda machine based on lies and falsifications is being exposed and the international public opinion begins to comprehend the truth on Khojaly. The Parliamentary Union of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation recognized this fact as the “mass crime against humanity” and called on the member countries to give the relevant political and legal assessment to this tragedy. The parliaments of Pakistan and Mexico adopted resolutions recognizing this massacre as an act of genocide.

The Republic of Azerbaijan is playing an important role in the world security system and in the fight against international terrorism. We consider any racial discrimination, ethnic and religious hatred a crime against the whole humanity regardless of where it takes place. Our state will continue efforts towards ensuring objective assessment of the Khojaly genocide, the occupation of Azerbaijan`s lands by Armenia, restoration of historical and legal justice, and carry out an uncompromising struggle against such phenomena with all political and legal means.

Although by committing the Khojaly genocide the enemy aimed to crush the Azerbaijani people, prevent them from their struggle for sovereignty and territorial integrity and annex our lands, this appalling tragedy made our people only stronger and mobilized our heroic sons and daughters for a resolute and organized struggle for the holy motherland and national statehood.

On this nationwide day of mourning, I once again honor the memory of the innocent victims of the Khojaly genocide. May Allah rest the souls of all our martyrs in peace! I want to assure you that sooner or later the perpetuators of the Khojaly genocide will be brought to justice and get the punishment they deserve, and the blood of our martyrs will be avenged.

Ilham Aliyev,

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan

Baku, 23 February, 2012


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