The perpetrators of the Khojaly Massacre still have not been brought to justice 30 years after the killings, an Azerbaijani official said. In the Nagorno-Karabakh region, 613 ethnic Azerbaijanis were killed on Feb. 26, 1992, by Armenian soldiers in the town of Khojaly during the first Karabakh war following the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
In a letter to the United Nations, the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Republic of Azerbaijan Sabina Aliyeva said: "Unfortunately, although 30 years have passed since the commission of the act of genocide in Khojaly, applying double standards, the international community has not yet established due political and legal assessment of this brutal act and its perpetrators have not yet been brought to justice."
"The world community and relevant international organizations must adequately respond to the brutal act committed in Khojaly, recognize it as a genocide and bring its instigators and perpetrators to justice," Aliyeva underlined.
Saying that throughout history, as a result of "Armenia’s ethnic cleansing and genocidal policies against Azerbaijanis," hundreds of thousands of civilians have been massacred and expelled from their native lands, Aliyeva reminded that on the night of Feb. 25 to 26, 1992, the Armenian Armed Forces, Armenia-backed terrorist groups and the 366th motorized infantry regiment of the former Soviet Army deployed in Khankendi town committed an act of genocide against the civilian population in Khojaly.
Aliyeva said that as a result of Armenian policies of ethnic cleansing and genocide against Azerbaijanis, the requirements of several international binding documents, especially of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, the Genocide Convention, the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights have been grossly violated.
While the horrors of the Khojaly Massacre still continue to haunt the Azerbaijani community, Armenian authorities are far from acknowledging responsibility despite all the evidence of the incident.
"Armenia targeted densely populated cities and villages located kilometers away from the combat zone with ballistic missiles and cluster bombs during the Second Karabakh War as well, by continuing its genocidal policy," she added.
Relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia have been tense since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, a territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.
New clashes erupted on Sept. 27, 2020, with the Armenian Army attacking civilians and Azerbaijani forces, and violating humanitarian cease-fire agreements.
During the 44-day conflict, Azerbaijan liberated several cities and villages that were occupied by Armenia. A Russian-brokered agreement ended the fighting on Nov. 10, 2020.
During the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Ankara supported Azerbaijan and accused Yerevan of occupying Azerbaijani territories.
"The Azerbaijani military liberated our native lands, which were under the occupation of Armenia for about 30 years, as a result of its counteroffensive operations with the aim to stop the military aggression against our State and to protect the lives of civilians," she said.
Aliyeva highlighted that at present, the legislative bodies of 17 countries, as well as 24 states of the United States have adopted resolutions and decisions condemning the massacre of civilians in Khojaly.
"Also, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) recognized Armenia as an aggressor and the Khojaly tragedy as genocide," she highlighted.
Aliyeva added that the fate of nearly 4,000 Azerbaijanis taken captive, hostage or went missing, including those missing in Khojaly, is still unknown since Armenia began its territorial claims against Azerbaijan.
She urged the international community to take "effective and drastic measures" against Armenia, a country that violates the norms of international humanitarian law, and put pressure on the responsible state to provide information about the fate of Azerbaijani citizens taken prisoner, hostage or have gone missing.