Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 24
By Ilkin Izzet - Trend:
The perpetrators of Khojaly genocide must be punished, first deputy speaker of Azerbaijani Milli Majlis (parliament), Ziyafet Askarov told Trend on Feb. 24.
He said although the 22nd anniversary of the Khojaly tragedy is being marked, the perpetrators of this crime still have not been punished.
"These persons must be brought to international legal responsibility in order to restore justice. The Armenian head has stated at the Council of Europe that they committed the Khojaly genocide. But there is no reaction to this. We will be avenged, when he is punished. Revenge in this case means the punishment of the perpetrators of this crime," Askarov said.
The first deputy speaker believes that the Khojaly genocide is a crime not only against the Azerbaijanis, but also against humanity, since it is fully consistent with the Convention on Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, adopted on December 9, 1948.
"According to this convention the crime committed against people basing on their ethnicity is called genocide. And in Khojaly people were killed just because they were Azerbaijanis," Askarov said.
He went on to add that there are also resolutions on Azerbaijan's territorial integrity, adopted by the UN Security Council, the EU, the Council of Europe, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and individual states are gradually adopting resolutions on recognition of the Khojaly genocide.
"I think that process has already begun as Azerbaijan has already broken the information blockade in this issue and the world knows that there was such a tragedy and there is a need to give a definitive assessment of this genocide. The next stage is the issue of an international criminal trial of the criminals," Askarov said.
On February 25-26, 1992 Armenian occupation forces together with the 366th infantry regiment of Soviet troops stationed in Khankendi committed an act of genocide against the population of the Azerbaijani town of Khojaly.
Some 613 people were killed, including 63 children, 106 women and 70 old people. A total of 1,000 civilians were disabled during the genocide.
Eight families were totally exterminated, 130 children lost one parent and 25 children lost both.
Some 1,275 innocent residents were taken hostages, while the fate of 150 people remains unknown.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan since 1992, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia, France and the U.S. are currently holding peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.
Translated by E.A.
Edited by C.N.