Baku urges Bashlibel massacre perpetrators to be brought to justice
By Sabina Mammadli
Human Rights Commissioner Sabina Aliyeva has demanded that those responsible for Armenia's numerous crimes against peaceful Azerbaijanis face justice, the ombudsman's office has reported.
She made the remarks in a statement dedicated to the 29th anniversary of the Bashlibel massacre committed by Armenians in 1993.
“We believe that those responsible for the numerous crimes committed by Armenia against peaceful Azerbaijanis, including the Bashlibel massacre, will soon be brought to justice and answer before the court,” the statement said.
She noted that the genocide, deportation, ethnic cleansing and occupation carried out by Armenia on the basis of hatred against Azerbaijan, resulted in the ruthless murder of thousands of innocent Azerbaijanis.
Aliyeva informed that as a result of the genocide committed by Armenia in Kalbajar region's Bashlibel village, as well as the act of vandalism against Azerbaijan's historical and cultural heritage, the requirements of existing international human rights law have been grossly violated.
The rights activist brought to light that one of the Armenian war crimes against humanity, which resulted in massacres, occurred in the village of Bashlibel in April 1993, during the occupation of Kalbajar region.
According to the statement, during the Armenian occupation of Bashlibel, 62 civilians sought refuge in a cave to escape, but when the Armenians discovered them, they launched an armed attack and committed a massacre.
“As a result of this crime, villagers, including children, women, people with disabilities, and the elderly, were tortured to death, and some were even burned alive,” she stated.
After the liberation of Kalbajar region, Azerbaijan Discovered the burial place near the cave of these brutally killed people.
Aliyeva emphasized that the massacred residents' remains were exhumed, identified, and buried separately. According to the statement, the surviving witnesses' testimonies confirm that there were hostages among the residents during the Bashlibel massacre and that some are still missing.
Furthermore, the human rights commissioner stated that during the occupation of Bashlibel, one of the oldest and largest villages in the Kalbajar region, historical, cultural, and religious objects were destroyed.
It should be noted that the U.S. State Department Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor annual report on the global human rights situation in 2021 also covers the details of the Bashlibel tragedy.
After liberating its lands from occupation during the 2020 Patriotic War, Azerbaijan inspected Bashlibel village by a drone. The inspection revealed that all the houses, buildings and infrastructure that existed in the village before the occupation were completely destroyed.
The Prosecutor General's Office investigation evidenced that the Armenian armed forces were particularly cruel to the civilian population in Bashlibel village when they occupied the Kalbajar region with military aggression in early April 1993, as they did in other regions of Azerbaijan.
Under the court decision on corpse exhumation, on April 24, 2021, investigators from the Prosecutor General's Office's Investigation Department conducted an investigation in Bashlibel. As a result, the remains of 12 skeletons were discovered buried at a depth of 50 cm. These remains belong to 12 unarmed Azerbaijanis (a 12-year-old child, a 16-year-old teenager, including six women and six men) who were deliberately killed by the Armenian armed forces on April 18, 1993.
Bashlibel is part of a series of systematic genocide acts that Armenia committed against innocent Azerbaijanis during the first Karabakh war in 1988-94. Kalbajar region also saw the Aghdaban massacre, which occurred a year before Armenian military forces occupied Azerbaijan's Kalbajar region. It is one of the bloodiest chapters in Armenia's anti-Azerbaijan aggression.
During the massacre, the Armenian invaders committed horrifying atrocities, violating both military and international human rights principles by brutally murdering civilians and destroying all historical monuments in the village.
As a result of the Aghdaban tragedy, which resulted in the burning of the entire village, hundreds of civilians were tortured and forced to flee their homes.
Armenia has violated the provisions of the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (1954) and the Paris Convention on the Illicit Trafficking of Cultural Property (1972) and plundered Azerbaijan’s cultural property in all its former occupied territories.
Many of the Armenia-committed massacres on Azerbaijan's formerly occupied territories meet entirely the requirements of the Genocide Convention, which was approved by the United Nations General Assembly on December 9, 1948. Therefore, these tragedies must be classified as acts of genocide under international law, and the slaughter perpetrated against the civilian population of Aghdaban should be recognized as a genocide crime by the international community.