On 26 February 1992, the international community was shocked and outraged when it witnessed a horrific crime committed in a small town of Khojaly in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan. After keeping the town in blockade for several months and shelling it for weeks, the Armenian armed forces, with the support of the infantry guards regiment No. 366 of the former Soviet Union, seized Khojaly and perpetrated one of the most despicable and barbaric acts against innocent civilians, the massacre which came to be known as the Khojaly Genocide. The invading military spared none and slaughtered 613 innocent civilians, including 106 women, 63 children and 70 elderly people. A large number of victims were slain with particular cruelty: they were variously burned alive, beheaded or had eyes gouged out; pregnant women were bayoneted in the abdomen.
The Khojaly Genocide is not an allegation or a fiction like some genocide claims used to pursue political interests and keep the alleged “offender” under pressure. Rather it is a widely documented fact supported by reports from international non-governmental organisations and independent media articles. The inherent elements of the acts committed in Khojaly qualify them as crime of genocide as defined under international law, including in particular the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
As you are aware, Armenia occupied Khojaly in the course of its military aggression against Azerbaijan. Along with Khojaly, Armenia occupied other parts of the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven adjacent districts of Azerbaijan, conducted ethnic cleansing of the areas seized, expelling about one million Azerbaijanis from their historic lands and committed other flagrant violations of international law, including perpetrating war crimes and crimes against humanity. The ongoing Armenian occupation policy is the key threat to regional peace, security and prosperity.
It is deplorable that even though more than two decades have elapsed, no one among the perpetrators has yet been convicted for the ferocious crimes committed in Khojaly. Impunity for the acts committed remains a major stumbling block for justice – a crucial element for achieving durable peace in the region. Furthermore, recognition and standing up for the truth are important not only for relieving the victims’ sorrow, but also for ensuring that such mass atrocities and genocides never happen again.
We believe that with your support, justice for the massacre in Khojaly is achievable. Therefore, we join “Justice for Khojaly” Campaign (www.justiceforkhojaly.org) and write to you with the request of taking all necessary measures at your disposal to eliminate the consequences of this massacre and contribute to restoring peace and security in the region. More specifically, we call on your support in advancing the following goals:
We are not seeking revenge! We demand justice!
H.E. Mr. Thorbjørn Jagland
Secretary General of the Council of Europe
H.E. Ms. Anne Brasseur
President of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly
H.E. Mr. Jens Stoltenberg
Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization
H.E. Prof. Mr. Iyad Ameen Madani
Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation
H.E. Prof. Dr. Mahmud Erol Kılıç
Secretary General of the Parliamentary Union of the OIC Member States
H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon
Secretary-General of the United Nations
H. E. Mr. Liu Jieyi
Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the People's Republic of China to the United Nations
H. E. Mr. François Delattre
Ambassador, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
H. E. Mr. Vitaly Churkin
Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations
H.E. Mr. Matthew Rycroft
Ambassador, Permanent Representative of United Kingdom to the United Nations
H. E. Ms. Samantha Power
Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations