By Mahbuba Musayeva & edited by Dr Shahid Qurehi : –
Twenty-four years have passed since KHOJALY genocide, which was one of the acts of genocide policy of Armenia towards Azerbaijan, a flagrant breach of principles and norms of international law, human rights and freedoms and one of the bloodiest pages of the history of humanity.
The genocide committed by Armenians in Khojaly is regarded as one of the most grievous crimes against the humanity. In world history, Khojaly massacre maintains the same position as such horrific tragedies as Khatyn, Holocaust, Songmi, Ruanda and Srebrenica genocides. The cited events have entered the world history as a genocide of civilians and has attracted wide response in the world. While committing this genocide exclusively in Khojaly according to a plan, the main target was to wipe out the ancient settlement of Azerbaijan from the face of the earth. Because Khojaly was distinguished for its historic and cultural monuments pertaining to the ancient times of Azerbaijan.
Although the Khojaly tragedy has been illuminated in world media for 24 years, the international publicity has not given an accurate legal and political evaluation regarding this genocide. It is the result of the politics of mendacity pursued by Armenians.
During 24 years, one of the priorities targeted by Azerbaijan politics was the recognition of the genocide in international community, as well as the pursuit of continuous actions with positive results towards the objective evaluation of the genocide. In last 24 years, several countries had declared the official acknowledgement of Khojaly genocide. Mexico, Pakistan, Turkey, Columbia, Indonesia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Czech Republic, Peru, Honduras, Sudan, Slovenia, Guatemala and several countries that I have not cited, as well as more than 20 USA states are among those countries. Moreover, the Organization of Islamic cooperation of 57 countries has also recognized the Khojaly tragedy as a genocide; several declarations and resolutions exist in this regard. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation makes special efforts towards the recognition of Khojaly genocide also by the member countries.
Azerbaijan is a full member of the Council of Europe for 16 years. The insistence of Azerbaijan towards the admission of Azerbaijan as a member of European Council was not overlooked by this Institution. Thereafter, PACE has provided to National Parliament of Republic of Azerbaijan the list of responsibilities to be carried out after Azerbaijan would be accepted as a full member to the Council of Europe. This document has been signed by the representatives of all political parties represented in National Parliament in March, 2000. During the following session of PACE held in June of the same year, a positive vote has been given regarding the admission of Republic of Azerbaijan to the membership of the Council of Europe with 120 votes in favor, 1 vote against and 5 votes neutral. Thereafter, the Resolution N14 (2000) has been adopted titled “Invitation of Azerbaijan to the membership in the Council of Europe” during 107th session of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. If to consider the near past, the achievement of successful results can be easily noticed. Both sides – the Council of Europe and Azerbaijan has benefited from this agreement. During the early periods of the membership to the Council of Europe, the Armenian lobby aiming the aggressive policies against Azerbaijan has carried out broad measures against our country. Nevertheless, the authority of Azerbaijan in the organization is very high today.
The first achievement of Azerbaijan in the Council of Europe regarding the genocide events can be considered as the Resolution 1416 adopted in 2005. In the first paragraph of the Resolution, it is noted that hundred thousands of people are displaced from their homeland, they are still refugees and live under unbearable conditions. Substantial parts of Azerbaijan territory are under the occupation of Armenian forces and the separatist forces still control the Nagorno-Karabakh area up to date.
Another positive event in the Parliament Assembly of the Council of Europe was the dissemination of the written Declaration associated with the 20th anniversary of Khojaly genocide. The Declaration prepared by the member of the delegation of Azerbaijan in this institution Ganira Pashayeva has been signed by
the deputies of several countries. The adoption of the documents as a written declaration of PACE has been acknowledged by Jean-Claude Mignon, the recently elected president of the parliament. In Declaration it has been stated that, Khojaly genocide is one of the most grievous pages of the history of Azerbaijan and the humanity. This barbaric and violent genocide is one of the inhumane and mass terror acts committed in the history of humanity. In the written Declaration, the Council of Europe and other organizations were called to give an objective estimate to the genocide. In the document, it is noted: “Considering all these, we (the deputies signing the document) call in the international community, as well as PACE to denounce this inhumane, violent crime and to give an appropriate legal and political evaluation to this bloody act committed against the humanity by the armed forces of Armenia.”
In recent years, the opinion of the Council of Europe (CE) regarding the Khojaly Genocide has changed in a positive direction. This, in turn, shows that the countries do not overlook the injustice, reconcile with the realities and give an accurate estimate in this regard. As an example, it is sufficient to consider the speech of the newly elected president of PACE Pedro Agramunt dated 19 February. As the specific incentives in fourth priority area, he has stated the protection of sovereignty and integrity of CE member countries, as well as the continuation of discussions regarding the frozen conflicts in several regions of Europe, including the Nagorno-Karabakh of Azerbaijan. PACE president has considered the existing conflicts on the territory of former Soviet republics, as well as Nagorno-Karabakh conflict as a threat against the security of Europe. By criticizing the Armenian representative protesting against the mentioning Nagorno-Karabakh as a region of Azerbaijan, Argamunt has stated that PACE members are free to discuss any issue deemed as purposeful. At the same time, he has noted that Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict must be resolved and “hiding head in the sand” will not be beneficial in this case.
Instead of putting the aggressors in the place they deserve, the United States which is deemed as the basis of major countries has not distinguished the aggressor country from the country invaded. The amendment 907 to “Freedom Support” act is an obvious example in this regard. The amendment carried out in “Freedom Support” is an amendment prohibiting direct government aid to Azerbaijan by the United States. Chris Smith plays a pivotal role in the cited amendment. This person does not hide his amity with Armenians. Due to this friendship, he brings into life their orders.
The congressman Chris Smith is one of the active advocates of the recognition of “Armenian genocide”. In last 10 years, Smith has proclaimed several declarations regarding the recognition of the feigned “genocide”, five of which has been done in this year. If these facts are considered, the close friendship tie between the Armenians and Chris Smith can be clearly seen.
Another analogous case has taken place in OSCE, when the co-chairman James Warlick has mentioned about Sumgait events of 1988 instead of commemorating the genocide victims in 22th anniversary of the Khojaly genocide. By memorizing the bloody events organized by KGB and carried out by the Armenians 26 years ago, the diplomat has demonstrated an unjust position once again.
Unfortunately, the unjust position against the righteous struggle of Azerbaijan is not only demonstrated by Smith, Warlick and several co-chairman friends or the states represented by these diplomats. The USA administration making a talk regarding the fabricated “Armenian genocide” each year does not consider as necessary to express condolences to Azerbaijani people for Khojaly horrors. 20 percent of Azerbaijan territory is under the occupation for more than 26 years, 1 million 200 thousand people are refugees and displaced; however, the resolutions of UN Security Council demanding to curb the aggression still remain on the paper.
Nevertheless, 22 states of USA have signed a declaration regarding the recognition of “Khojaly Genocide”. Even Nebraska state has declared 26th of February as “Khojaly Commemoration Day” and invited the residents of this state to commemorate this day. The document adopted by Nebraska is a first document on the Khojaly Genocide. In this document, Khojaly tragedy is denounced as a horrific genocide. Also in
other states, those have not expressed any negative opinion regarding the organization of events and marches in commemoration of the genocide victims.
Nowadays, Armenians carry out substantial efforts to introduce their fabricated genocide to the whole world. Falsified facts are provided. While severe punishment is implied to the people denouncing the fabricated “Armenian genocide”, Khojaly genocide is refused to be recognized the witnesses of which are still alive, sufficient documents, photo-video materials are available. The position of Russia, the military collaborator of Armenia is obvious. By demonstrating the neutrality during the voting on the document about the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, co-chair countries have actually breached the international law. At least the European countries were obliged to demonstrate a just position due to the benefit their governments are having from the energy resources of Azerbaijan…
Investments are being made into Nagorno Karabakh by Karabakh armenians residing in USA, Canada, France, Australia, Switzerland, Lebanon, Argentina, Russia and Armenia. The total volume of direct investments made in this region constitutes approximately 40 million dollars. In recent years, more than 30 enterprises have illegally begun to operate towards the exploitation of mineral resources in Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. İllegal visits to Karabakh are innumerable. All these are the obvious signs of double standards.
In the Resolution adopted by the European Parliament regarding the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in April 2012, the immediate, unconditional and complete withdrawal of aggressor military forces from the territories of Azerbaijan, and the termination of the process of sending troops to Karabakh by Armenia in Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict was demanded. However, the strict appeal to Armenia which ignores this document does not come to front. Such that, the occupation of the territory of one participant country by another in “Eastern Partnership” programme contradicts to fundamental principles and goals of “Eastern Partnership”.
Despite all negative cases, Ukrainian pilot Leonid Markovish who came to Azerbaijan in recent days to commemorate Khojaly martyrs has mentioned that he has served in USSR military forces and was a helicopter captain in 1989-1992 years:
“When we started flights on 27th February, we were not aware of the tragedy. No information was provided to us in this regard. While flying at 2 km eastern from Khojaly, colorful clothes were seen on the ground. We started landing in order to understand what has happened. As we got closer to the ground, I understood that they are wounded people. Armenians were shooting the people who survived the night shooting. We flew to Ganja from here and reported to the country administration regarding the incident. The deputy of Mutallibov asked us to take journalists to the location of incident”. A pilot witnessing the Khojaly tragedy has talked about the filming in the location of the incident: “The filming crew of Chingiz Mustafayev was there. He worked in Moscow State Television. We knew and trusted him. We knew that he told the truth. There seemed like there were three men with him. Chingiz Mustafayev has conducted the first filming here. The footage was very difficult. There was little time for it – only 5 minutes. People were not wearing bulletproof wests. They were the obvious targets. Because the witnesses had to be got off. I couldn’t land the helicopter. It would be easier to shoot helicopter on the ground. We’ve been flying over the journalists for 5 minutes”.
The facts that I have mentioned are only a part of the works carried out by Azerbaijan, and just and unjust decisions made by the countries. As a country, we only demand justice. In my opinion, it is not hard to make a just decision by considering the general facts. The issue must be approached impartially and transparently only. We have been fighting for justice for 24 years and have not achieved the desired result, however, it does not mean that this struggle will be left unfinished. No, we won’t stop until we take our land back and have the revenge of our martyrs.
(Mahbuba Musayeva young journalist based in Baku & Dr Shahid Qurehi is senior journalist and writer on foreign policy and security based in London)