Perpetrators of the Khojaly massacre, where 613 Azerbaijani civilians were killed by Armenian forces on Feb. 26, 1996, should be brought to justice to send a message that such inhumane acts will not go unpunished, the Azerbaijani envoy said yesterday.
Calling for increasing awareness on the Khojaly massacre, Khazar Ibrahim thanked Turkey for recognizing and supporting Azerbaijan on this issue. "Despite the U.S. Security Council Resolutions and resolutions by many other organizations, including the OIC [Organisation of Islamic Cooperation], justice has not been served either for Khojaly or for Azerbaijani areas under the occupation of Armenia," Ibrahim said yesterday at the "Justice for Khojaly" program held to commemorate the victims. Ibrahim pointed out that when such acts go unpunished, it only encourages and sends a clear message to other perpetrators in the world to commit similar atrocities against other civilians. Pointing out that one of the Armenian commanders who took part in the massacre admitted pre-planning the Khojaly massacre, Ibrahim noted that the head of state, however, ruled for a long time without condemnation or facing punishment. Stressing that unpunished atrocities became the reality of the international system, Ibrahim said that the international system should conform to moral standards and international law should be the driving force but not be driven by force.
Other participants also criticized the selectivity of Western powers that refer to themselves as civilized nations but fail to act in the face of uncivilized actions or condemn such actions and refuse to recognize these inhuman issues as genocides. He also called for necessary actions to be taken by the international community.
Twenty-seven years ago, Khojaly suffered what the Human Rights Watch has described as the "Khojaly massacre." On the night of Feb. 25-26, 1992, following massive artillery bombardment, Armenian armed forces and paramilitary units moved in to seize the town. Once the assault began, around 2,500 remaining inhabitants tried to leave, hoping to reach the nearest area under Azerbaijani control. However, the fleeing people were ambushed, killed by gunfire, captured by Armenian forces or froze to death. A total of 106 people, including 63 children, 106 women and 70 elderly people, lost their lives in the brutal attacks. Some 1,275 were taken hostage while the fate of 150 victims still remains unknown.
The massacre was announced to the world via photographs and videos taken by U.S. and French journalists. Yet, only a handful of nations, including Turkey, Pakistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina and some U.S. states adopted resolutions on the massacre while a large portion of the international community has remained silent about the incident.