Azerbaijan, Baku, 29 February / corr Trend A.Gasimova / Baku believes that all international organizations should condemn the massacre of Khojaly - the genocide of the innocent population of Khojaly city of Azerbaijan in 1992.
It is time that the United Nations, the European Union as well as other principal powers and all international organizations condemn the massacre of Khojaly, which will be forever remembered by future generations of Azerbaijanis," said PhD Elkhan Nuriyev, the Director of the Center for Strategic Studies under the president of the Republic of Azerbaijan in Baku.
On the night of Feb. 25, 1992, the Armenian armed forces with the help of Russian troops carried out the seizure of Khojaly and razed the town to the ground. Following the occupation of Khojaly, a total of 613 innocent Azerbaijanis, including 106 women and 83 children, were massacred by Armenian and Russian forces, which also annihilated whole families, captured 1,275 people, left 1,000 civilians maimed or crippled, with another 150 reported missing. The 366th Russian motorized infantry regiment was accused of being involved in the Khojaly massacre.
According to Nuruyev, an unprecedented massacre of hundreds of defenseless inhabitants of the small town of Khojaly in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan became one of the most heinous crimes against the Azerbaijani people.
Unsurprisingly, the tragedy in Khojaly strongly affected regional geopolitics, Nuriyev writes in his article published in the Turkish daily Todays Zaman. Regional powers such as Turkey, Iran and Russia expressed grave concern about further destabilization of the region. Moreover, in all three countries, Azerbaijani diasporas organized massive protests in which demonstrators demanded that their relevant governments intervene to stop bloodshed in the conflict-torn area.
Each of the regional powers took steps in a different way. Turkey closed its borders and only imposed an economic blockade on Armenia after the wider public in the country severely criticized the government's policy. Iran undertook diplomatic measures in order to act as a mediator between Azerbaijanis and Armenians. In turn, Russia hurriedly dissolved the 366th regiment and withdrew some Russian military hardware from Nagorno-Karabakh. Most of the regiment's weaponry and equipment, however, were left to the local separatists in the conflict-ridden area, Nuriyev writes.
Quite obviously, the Khojaly tragedy is the biggest modern slaughter of innocent civilians in the Caucasus. And therefore, for the Azerbaijanis and other peoples inhabiting the region, the word "Khojaly" has become identical with pain, sorrow and brutality. Khojaly is the most tragic page in history of independent Azerbaijan and a vivid reminder of the painful consequences of Armenian aggression. As the Azerbaijanis worldwide commemorate the tragedy of Khojaly, they appeal today with hope to the international community to bring the Armenian government to the international penal tribunal to answer for the crime against humanity. On several occasions different state structures and nongovernmental organizations have urged international organizations to condemn the ongoing aggression against Azerbaijan and facilitate liberation of the territories occupied by Armenian troops. Great powers should know and remember that there will be no true, long-term, sustainable peace without justice and without respect of human dignity and freedoms. It is high time that the United Nations, the European Union as well as other principal powers and all the international organizations condemn the massacre of Khojaly -- the genocide of the innocent population of Khojaly which will be forever remembered by future generations of Azerbaijanis, Nuriyev concluded.