Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan.19
By Leman Zeynalova – Trend:
Crimes committed on the night of January 20, 1990 in Baku mustn’t go unpunished, Aurelia Grigoriu, chairperson of the Public Chamber of Moldova, politician, told Trend.
“The tragedy of January 20, 1990 is forever inscribed in the modern history as a black page of disgrace of the USSR - the country that used regular army troops against own people, own citizens,” she said. “Peaceful demonstration held in Baku in support of the sovereignty and independence of Azerbaijan was shelled from guns and crushed by tanks of the Soviet army. The invasion of Baku by a major contingent of the Soviet army, internal troops and special forces was accompanied by special cruelty and unprecedented atrocities. Massacre was committed against the civilian population, hundreds of people were killed, injured and went missing."
Grigoriu noted that sending troops and declaring a state of emergency in Baku were a gross violation of the USSR Constitution (Article 119) and the Constitution of the Azerbaijan SSR (Article 71), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966 (Article 1).
"The sovereign rights of Azerbaijan were grossly and roughly violated, fundamental human rights, such as the right to life, the right to peaceful demonstration, the right to freedom of expression and the right to property were grossly violated,” she said. "Unfortunately, little is known in the world about these events. The rapid collapse of the Soviet Union began namely from this disgraceful and bloody event. The state massively violated human rights, namely of own citizens, by committing a crime against its people, in particular, the population of Baku and the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic.”
“People were shot at, as if they were targets, often in the back, for the sole purpose of killing,” she noted. “Such crimes mustn’t go unpunished. In line with the norms of international humanitarian law, the perpetrators of this crime must be identified and brought to justice.”
"To this day, many details of those tragic events may be considered from a legal point of view only as part of criminal cases regarding both the Soviet leaders of that time, authorities in the republic and also the direct perpetrators of those bloody crimes,” she said.
"On the other hand, we shouldn’t forget about the double standards that are taking place in the international community regarding observance of the principles of international law and the implementation of human rights as well," she noted.
"Today, we remember the victims of that terrible bloody night that took place from January 19 to January 20, 1990, and their death wasn’t in vain," she added. "History's lessons need to be learned. No regime that orders the army to shoot at its own people will be able to stay in power afterwards.”
January 20 is a day that went down in history of Azerbaijan's fight for independence and territorial integrity.
On January 20, 1990, the Soviet army forces entered Baku to suppress the masses protesting the USSR-supported Armenian aggression based on territorial claims against Azerbaijan.
The result was an unprecedented tragedy for Azerbaijan. Valiant sons and daughters of Azerbaijan put the country's freedom, honor and dignity above everything else, sacrificed their lives and became martyrs.
The January 20 tragedy brought huge losses and death of innocent people. But it also demonstrated the spirit and pride of Azerbaijani nation, which couldn't stand the betrayal of the criminal empire led by Mikhail Gorbachev.
Azerbaijanis gained the independence they were dreaming of, and the country achieved sovereignty.
Despite that many years have passed since those bloody days, Azerbaijanis remember the dreadful night that took many innocent lives and marks the anniversary of the January 20 tragedy every year.
January 20 is immortalized in the memory of Azerbaijani nation as a Day of the Nationwide Sorrow.
Follow the author on Twitter: @Lyaman_Zeyn