FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FEBRUARY 26, 2013
Armenia's War Crime in Khojaly:
Over 20 Years of Impunity
LOS ANGELES – On February 26, 1992 the people of Azerbaijan witnessed what the Human Rights Watch later called the “largest massacre to date in the conflict” between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces attacked the Azerbaijani town of Khojaly brutally murdering over 600 civilians, including many children, women and elderly. Hundreds more were wounded; some are still missing.
The massacre became a symbol of the pattern of extermination and ethnic cleansing of the Azerbaijani civilian population institutionalized by Armenian soldiers. This pattern has since become an integral part of Armenia’s policy in the region. In the most shocking admission of culpability, Armenia’s then-defense minister Serzh Sargsyan was quoted in the book “Black Garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan Through Peace and War” (by Thomas de Waal, NYU Press, 2003, page 85), as saying, “Before Khojaly, 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.”
The continued Armenian military occupation of the 20% of Azerbaijan's internationally recognized territory and disregard for the plight of a million displaced Azerbaijani civilians and as well as for the prosperous future of their own people, illustrate both the vision and character of Armenia's current leadership.
Recognition of the Khojaly massacre as a crime against humanity as well as bringing the perpetrators of this horrendous crime to justice is a debt owed to the memory of those perished, and a necessity for building long-term peace for the Azerbaijanis and Armenians alike.
This year, the Azerbaijani-American community along with millions of Azerbaijanis and friends of Azerbaijan around the world paid tribute to the memory of innocent civilians murdered in Khojaly, while the U.S. states of New Mexico, Arkansas and Mississippi followed Georgia, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Texas in officially recognizing the tragedy.