I join Americans of Azerbaijani and Turkic descent, members of the Pax Turcica Institute, to remember the victims of the 1992 Khojaly Massacre on the eve of its 21st anniversary.
On February 26, 1992, Armenian armed forces supported by Russia’s 366th Motor Rifle Regiment attacked Khojaly – once a town of 7,000 – and massacred its fleeing residents. According to NewsWeek, many were killed at a close range, some were scalped and had their faces mutilated. 613 civilians including 106 women, 63 children and 70 elders were tortured to death; up to 1,000 people were reported missing. Over 1,000 people received permanent health damage, 1,275 people were taken hostage, and 8 families were fully destroyed. Over 150 children lost one or both parents.
Brutality of the Khojaly Massacre exceeded that of the 1995 Srebrenica Genocide in Bosnia. Human Rights Watch called Khojaly the largest atrocity of the conflict and regarded the actions of Armenian forces as a violation of the customary law on the treatment of civilians in war zones.
Armenia’s incumbent president, Serzh Sargsyan, referred to the killing as an act of revenge to “break stereotypes” of Azerbaijanis. Yet Armenia denies responsibility and obstructs any investigation of the Khojaly Massacre.
States of Massachusetts, Georgia, Texas, New Mexico and Arkansas acknowledged the Khojaly tragedy by legislative resolutions. Ahead of its 21st anniversary, I appeal for a proper recognition of this crime against humanity in our legislature. Sample recognition is available at http://khojaly.azeris.com