By Abdul Kerimkhanov
Azerbaijan’s Representative to the United Nations Yashar Aliyev has said that Armenia’s denial of aggression against Azerbaijan is a challenge to the international law.
“It is important for the international community to think about the tragedy in Khojaly and other Azerbaijani cities, settlements and villages. Yerevan's stubborn denial of responsibility for the heinous crimes committed during the aggression against Azerbaijan is a challenge to the international law and human rights, as well as a direct obstacle to lasting peace and genuine reconciliation,” Aliyev said in an official letter addressed to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on December 8 on the occasion of the anniversary of the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
He pointed to the importance of the UN mandate to prevent genocide and the concept of “responsibility to protect” in promoting national and international efforts to protect population from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.
“Proceeding from its own experience, Azerbaijan knows about the ‘flagrant calamity’ of genocide. The memory of thousands civilians who died as a result of the massacres committed by the Armenian armed forces in 1918 is revered on March 31, which is marked as the Day of Genocide of Azerbaijanis,” said in a letter.
Aliyev noted that heinous acts of violations of international humanitarian law, equal to war crimes, crimes against humanity and acts of genocide, were committed during the war launched by Armenia against Azerbaijan in the late 1980s.
“The war [in Nagorno-Karabakh], which continues up till now, claimed the lives of tens of thousands of people, destroyed cities, towns and villages; thousands of people went missing; and all the occupied Azerbaijani territories were ethnically cleaned of over one million Azerbaijanis,” the letter reads.
He recalled Khojaly massacre of 1992, which was the worst massacre during the Nagorno-Krabakh conflict. As a result of the attack and the occupation of Khojaly by the Armenian forces, hundreds of Azerbaijanis, including women, children and the elderly, were killed, injured or taken hostage, while the city was fully destroyed.
“The Armenian forces’ cruelty in Khojaly is shocking. Six families were completely destroyed; 25 children lost both parents and 130 children lost one parent; 56 men were burned alive, scalped, tortured, beheaded or blinded; while pregnant women were stabbed with spike-shaped weapons.”
As Aliyev emphasized, although international norms and standards, along with institutional activity, have greatly developed during these years, civilians still suffer as a result of the armed conflicts.
He reminded that the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide is one of the first international treaties, which Azerbaijan joined after regaining its independence and becoming a UN member.
“The universal ratification of the Convention will become an important consolidated commitment of the international community to the eradication of the crime of genocide,” the message further reads.
Aliyev said it is important that the efforts to establish peace and preventive diplomacy help ensure accountability and, under no circumstances, allow or support situations arising as a result of the unlawful use of force and other gross violations of the international law such as genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing.
Furthermore, Aliyev expressed regret that there are still cases of glorification of Nazis and their accomplices in some countries, including those countries that are trying to show themselves as ardent advocates for the protection of human rights and the program for the prevention of genocide.
“Such shameless hypocrisy is unacceptable and great disrespect for the memory of millions of people around the world who died for freedom from tyranny and colonization during WW2,” he stated.
In conclusion, Aliyev called for the circulation of his letter as a document of the General Assembly on agenda items 31, 32, 37, 68, 75, 83 and 130 and of the document of the Security Council.
The events on the occasion of the 71st anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and in connection with the International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime were held at the UN headquarters on December 9.
The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide was adopted upon the resolution 260 (III) of the General Assembly of the United Nations dated December 9, 1948, in Paris. The Convention, which entered into force on January 12, 1951, establishes the international legal status of the "genocide" concept as the gravest crime against humanity and also stipulates its legal definition.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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