By Rashid Shirinov
Armenia’s military and political leadership is criminally responsible for committing the Khojaly tragedy, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry’s Spokesman Hikmat Hajiyev said on January 25.
“Taking into account that the Armenian leadership and Foreign Ministry have institutional memory loss or amnesia, I would like to remind them of the statement of the then Defense Minister and now Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan to the British journalist Thomas de Waal,” he said.
Hajiyev noted that Sargsyan’s words were quoted in the book by Thomas de Waal, titled “Black Garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan through Peace and War.”
In particular, Sargsyan said: “Before Khojali, the Azerbaijanis thought that the Armenians were people who could not raise their hand against the civilian population. We were able to break that [stereotype].” Thomas de Waal also has an audio recording of this interview.
Hajiyev also noted that Markar Melkonian – the brother of the Armenian national hero, terrorist Monte Melkonian – quoted Monte, who was one of the participants in the Khojaly genocide in his book “My Brother’s Road: An American’s Fateful Journey to Armenia.”
Author Markar Melkonian described in the book how some residents of Khojaly had nearly reached safety after fleeing almost six miles, but “[Armenian] soldiers chased them down.” The soldiers, he continues, “then unsheathed the knives they had carried on their hips for so long, and began stabbing.”
Hajiyev added that in accordance with modern international law, along with Armenia, representatives of its military and political leadership are criminally responsible for committing the Khojaly tragedy, which is a genocide and a crime against humanity.
“If the Armenian military and political leadership shows the courage to give testimony and an international tribunal is held on the Khojaly genocide, more detailed facts proving criminal responsibility for the Khojaly tragedy, including testimonies as well as the conclusions of forensic examination may be presented within the investigation case conducted by the prosecutorial bodies of Azerbaijan,” Hajiyev noted.
Khojaly, the second largest town in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan, came under intense fire by Armenia from the towns of Khankendi and Askeran already occupied by the Armenian armed forces in 1992.
As many as 613 civilians, mostly women and children, were killed in the massacre, and a total of 1,000 people were disabled. Eight families were exterminated, 25 children lost both parents, and 130 children lost one parent. Moreover, 1,275 innocent people were taken hostage, and the fate of 150 of them remains unknown.
Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov
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