Jean-Yves Yunet, a French journalist who witnessed the massacre that occurred on the night of Feb. 25, 1992, in the town of Khojaly in Azerbaijan, later said: “I heard a lot about wars, the cruelty of Nazis, but Armenians went beyond them, killing 5- or 6-year-old children, innocent people. We saw a lot of injured people in hospitals, carriages, even in kindergartens and school buildings.”
In the course of a war waged by Armenia against Azerbaijan that started in 1988, Armenian armed forces, enlisting the help of infantry guard regiment No. 366 of the former Soviet Union, seized Khojaly, a town located in the Nagorny-Karabakh region of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Since the Armenian government annexed the region against international law, it has demonstrated willingness to resort to any kind of crime and violence.
The town was savagely overrun and its 2,500 people were massacred. As a result of the atrocity committed by Armenian forces, 613 civilians were killed, including 106 women, 63 children and 70 elderly people. Another 1,000 people were wounded and 1,275 were taken hostage. To this day, 150 people remain missing.
Despite Armenia’s attempts to conceal the truth about the incident, actions on the ground and witness testimonies provide evidence that the tragic event was deliberately carried out by Armenian armed forces with an aim to kill civilians.
Azeri Ambassador Ramzi Teymurov (Joel Lee / The Korea Herald)
R. Patrick, a journalist for British television Fanta Main News, who was at the event, reported: “It is impossible to justify Khojaly in the eyes of the world community.” French magazine Crua l’Eveneman wrote on Feb. 29, 1992: “Armenians attacked Khojaly. The whole world witnessed the disfigured dead bodies. Azerbaijanis informed about the many killed.” On March 1, 1992, British newspaper Sunday Times said, “The Armenian soldiers destroyed thousands of families.” The Human Rights Watch called the tragedy the “largest massacre of the Karabakh conflict.”
Furthermore, British journalist Thomas de Waal, in his book “Black Garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan Through Peace and War,” echoed current Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan’s view, saying, “Before Khojaly, the Azerbaijanis thought that they were joking with us, they thought that the Armenians were people who could not raise their hand against the civilian population. We were able to break that (stereotype). And that’s what happened.”
In trying to shed light on the event before the international community, International Awareness Campaign, under the motto of “Justice for Khojaly -- Freedom for Karabakh,” was initiated in 2008 by Ms. Leyla Aliyeva, vice president of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation. The campaign aims to raise international awareness through photographs, media, Internet and other events that highlight the suffering of people from the event. The campaign also tries to publicize the grave situation regarding the oppressed people under a military occupation in the region.
Sharing knowledge of this dark chapter of our history is implemented by the BUTA Azerbaijan-Korea Student Association through photo exhibitions, public campaigns and informative materials.
By Azeri Ambassador Ramzi Teymurov