Hunted by the horror of the Khojaly shooting, Azerbaijanis are seeking justice
Azerbaijanis are still waiting for those responsible to be kept accountable for their crimes on the 29th anniversary of the Khojaly massacre, though Armenian officials are far from accepting responsibility despite all the facts.
Although the horrors of the Khojaly Massacre still haunt the Azerbaijani nation, amid all the facts of the crime, the Armenian authorities are far from taking responsibility. Azerbaijani officials and surviving victims renewed their call for justice and for the prosecution of those responsible on the 29th anniversary of the disaster.
Armenian forces took over the town of Khojaly in the occupied territory of Nagorno-Karabakh on Feb. 26, 1992, with the fresh breakup of the Soviet Union, after battering it with heavy artillery and tanks, supported by infantry. Armenian troops killed a total of 613 civilians in Khojaly, a strategically significant village that was originally populated by 7,000 people.
106 women, 63 children and 70 elderly people were killed in the attack. The massacre is seen as one of the Armenian forces’ bloodiest massacres against Azerbaijani civilians in the city, which, after decades of occupation, was largely liberated by Azerbaijani forces last fall.
Some 487 people were seriously wounded, including 76 children, while 150 of the 1,275 Azerbaijanis captured by the Armenians during the massacre are still missing. Eight families were totally wiped out, 130 children lost their fathers, and the massacre resulted in about 25 children being orphans.
Armenian forces tortured the inmates by burning them alive, killing women, peeling off their scalps, chopping off ears, noses or genital organs, and removing their eyes, along with mass executions, according to the inquiries conducted by the Azerbaijani government based on expert comments and the testimony of 2,000 survivors.
In spite of all the facts, however, the Armenian authorities are still far from realising responsibility.
When she was 20, Durdane Agayeva survived the massacre. Captured by Armenian forces and subjected to inhuman torture, Agayeva told the Anadolu Agency (AA) that on the night of Feb. 25, 1992, Armenian forces began attacking the town with rockets and artillery. They wanted to abandon their hometown as Armenian tanks and armoured vehicles got closer, she said.
She said, adding that in very cold and snowy weather they fled to the Aghdam area, “My mother, grandmother, and my brothers and sisters were with me. Armenian forces barred our path and began firing. Innocent civilians, girls, and elderly people were brutally slaughtered. To save their lives, everybody tried to run away.”
“The ‘new’ world of the 21st century is still quiet and denying the Khojaly Massacre,” he said, adding that because it had direct influence over those who carried out the activities in Khojaly, Armenia ignored its duty to deter genocide and the actions of its perpetrators.
We deem what was done in Khojaly, as the World Azerbaijani Congress, a violation of several treaties, such as the 1949 Geneva Conventions, the U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Prosecution of the Crime of Genocide,” it added, seeking punishment for the perpetrators.”
It claimed that the inability to ensure the responsibility of those responsible for the Khojaly genocide before the legislation will pave the way for new genocides that could be committed in the future by Armenians.
Speaking at the opening of the exhibition marking the 29th anniversary of the massacre in the capital of Ankara, Turkish Parliament Speaker Mustafa Şentop also said that the war will continue until the killers who are attempting to legitimise this atrocity are made responsible for their crimes.
“Like Turkey, we still sense the sting of this ferocity that has taken place in the eyes of the entire world, dismissed by the international community and published in the history of mankind as a shame. We are making great efforts to keep this massacre on the global agenda, “And he said.