Statement issued on 3 March 1997 by the Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs(Khojaly events)

February 26, 2009

From UN site
     The Azerbaijani statement of 22 February 1997, with regard
to what they call the Khojalu event, is the most cynical and
vicious statement ever made by Azerbaijan.

     Azerbaijan refers shamelessly to a 1992 military event, where,
according to then-Azerbaijani President Mutalibov, the responsibility
for the slaughter of the civilian population of the mostly Azeri city
of Khojalu near the capital Stepanakert of Nagorny Karabakh fully
falls on the Azeri opposition group, the Azerbaijani National Front.

     In the days following the event, President Mutalibov, in an
interview with Czech journalist Dana Mazalova published in the 2 April
1992 issue of the Russian newspaper Nizavisimaya Gazeta, said that the
militia of the Azerbaijani National Front actively obstructed and
actually prevented the exodus of the local population through the
mountain passages specifically left open by Karabakh Armenians to
facilitate the flight of the civilian population.

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Responsibility for the tragic loss of civilian life on February 26-27, 1992 on the outskirts of Agdam, territory fully controlled by Azeri forces, lies with the political and military leadership of Azerbaijan.

February 24, 2009

Events on the territory controlled by Azerbaijan,
7 miles from Khojaly, after the Khojaly operation was over

When the military operation began in Khojaly, a large group of civilians and armed military personnel from Khojaly used the provided humanitarian corridor to exit the battlefield and began moving in the direction of the Azeri- controlled Agdam. Near Nakhichevanik village of Karabakh (outside of the provided corridor), the group provoked a gun battle with the defenders of Nakhichevanik, which resulted in numerous death on both sides. On February 28 and early March 1992, in the area then fully controlled by Azerbaijan, Azerbaijani and Turkish journalists videotaped images of the hundreds of killed and, during the second video shooting session, also mutilated bodies.

 

Since then, official Baku has falsified the events and used the human tragedy to persistently fan anti-Armenian hysteria to demonize the Armenian people in the eyes of the Azeris and the international community. It used the images to incite anti-Armenian sentiment and intolerance, which resulted in murders and calls from Azeris to wipe out Armenians as an ethnic group.

Conclusion

Responsibility for the tragic loss of civilian life on February 26-27, 1992 on the outskirts of Agdam, territory fully controlled by Azeri forces, lies with the political and military leadership of Azerbaijan.

First, the Azeri leadership used the territory of Khojaly for indiscriminate artillery attacks on civilian targets, thus turning the town into a legitimate military target for NKR Self-Defense Forces.

Second, the Azeri leadership intentionally prevented the civilian population from leaving the militarized village.

Third, the Azeri leadership failed to safely relocate civilians from Khojaly after public warnings of upcoming military operation, although it had many opportunities to do so.

Fourth, retreating Azeri forces provoked an exchange of fire with NKR Self-Defense Forces some five miles from Khojaly, which resulted in losses on both sides.

Fifth, those who had continued, full access to the site of reported close-range, mass killing are responsible for it. The reported killing of hundreds of civilians with incidences of barbaric mutilation of bodies took place near Agdam (some seven miles from Khojaly), on the territory controlled by Azeri forces. Free access to the site by Azeri and Turkish journalists is clear evidence to that end.

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THE TRUTH ABOUT THE EVENTS IN KHOJALY

February 24, 2009

Evidence from Azerbaijani sources

For nine years after the events in Khojaly official Baku has been obstinately fanning anti-Armenian hysteria with the aim of falsifying real events and discrediting the Armenian people in the eyes of the international community.

The events in Khojaly, which led to the death of civilians, were the results solely of political intrigues and a struggle for power in Azerbaijan.

The real reasons are most convincingly reflected in the accounts of Azerbaijanis themselves – as participants in and eyewitnesses of what happened – as well as of those who know the whole inside story of the events in Baku.

According to Azerbaijani journalist M. Safarogly, “Khojaly occupied an important strategic position. The loss of Khojaly was a political fiasco for Mutalibov”. 1

Khojaly, along with Shushi and Agdam, was one of the main strongholds from which Stepanakert, the capital of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic, was shelled continuously and mercilessly for three winter months using artillery and missiles and launchers for targeting cities.

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The extract from the interview of President of Azerbaijan A. Mutalibov to Czech journalist Dana Mazalova.

February 23, 2009

“I am a humanist in my soul,” says about himself former president of Azerbaijan. D. Mazalova – What you think about the events in Khojalu, after which you resigned. The bodies of Khojalu people were found not far from Aghdam. Someone shot to the legs at first, in order not to allow fleeing. Then they were killed by ax. In February 29 my colleagues had taken pictures of them. During the new recording in March 2 these bodies were scalped. Very strange game, hmm…?

“As the survived Khojalu dwellers speak, all of that was organized to have a reason for my resignation. I do not think, that the Armenians, who have very precise and professional approach to similar situations, could allow Azerbaijanis to have documents denouncing them in fascist actions. It is possible to assume, that someone was interested in showing these shots later on the session of the Supreme Soviet and to blame me in all those things.”

If I declare that that the culprits are from Azerbaijani opposition they will say that I discredit them. But the important thing is that the corridor, to enable people to flee, was left by Armenians. And why for to shoot then? Especially on the territory close to Aghdam, where at that moment enough forces were deployed to come and help people. Or simply made an agreement to withdraw people. We practiced this all the time.

They were saying me all the time that Khojalu people stay firmly and they need armament, men force and food. I ordered to do so helicopter pilots. But pilots, as I was explained, rejected to fly there, since they lacked sets to escape from stingers (At the time of interview Armenian forces of Self Defense had no any anti aircraft weapons, including Stingers, – H. D., L. M.-Sh.)

So a week had passed. There, Aghdam contingent was deployed near, which was obliged always to follow the developments. When military vehicles surrounded Khojalu, they should evacuate population. Before that the similar order I gave on Shushi: men staying, women and children to be evacuated. This is the rule of war too: they should be saved. My behavior was objective and clear: I gave such orders, but why they did not implement them, it is not clear for me.

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Conclusion on Khojaly events

February 23, 2009

The state propaganda of Republic of Azerbaijan having taken the thesis about the “Azerbaijani Genocide” implemented by Armenians in Khojalu up to this day continues to insist on the version of what happened from a biased point of view relevant to its interpretation.

Most probably, this way the Azerbaijani authorities tried to erase from the memory humanity the bloody Armenian pogroms in Sumgait (February 1988) and in Baku (January 1990) as well as the mass killings of Armenians in Maragha and Khramorth villages in summer 1992. On the other hand Baku tries to use accusations to address the Armenians as one more «weighty» proof of its ambitious demands towards Armenian territories, which are justified neither legally, nor historically.

However, the more important thing is that authorities of modern Azerbaijan are trying to forcibly attach the intolerable burden of genocidal psychology to its own people. Imposing of feeling of genocide and its subsequent politization is a not less heavy crime before the Azerbaijanis. The atmosphere of revanchism cultivating among Azerbaijani society is aimed to play down social hardships and dissatisfaction of Azerbaijanis.

No doubt that during the time bitter truth about massacre of Khojalu civilians will be known to the world. Then neither the former Azerbaijani authorities and their foreign protectors, nor the current authorities cannot justify themselves for this crime and especially before their OWN PEOPLE


9. THE TOTAL NUMBER OF CASUALTIES

February 23, 2009

The number of victims, wounded and disappeared persons from Khojalu brought by official Baku are confusing. Let’s follow the information sources on this matter. Official Baku, contrary to traditions of the Azerbaijan propaganda, tried to keep silent about the developments in the initial stage to save the authority of President Mutalibov.

Logically, Armenian traces in this tragedy could serve as a convenient occasion “to wash off” from Azerbaijan the shameful facts of Armenian pogroms in 1988 in Sumgait and in Baku in 1990, when, according to the official Soviet data, more than 300 Armenians were tortured and killed.

After a long pause the Speaker of parliament of Azerbaijan Elmira Kafarova declared, that the attack of the Armenian armed forces on Khojalu had been repulsed, and that only two Azerbaijani soldiers had been killed.59

After some silence the Minister of Interior of Azerbaijan T. Kerimov informed “Interfax” news agency the following figures: 100 killed, 250 wounded and about 300 missing.60

“… According to the eyewitnesses, for many of them, February 26 became the last day in their life … In searches of save heaven women, children and old men moved to Agdam. But on the way to the Armenian village of Nakhichavanik they were caught by bullets. The people died, their bodies remained on the place of another tragedy … The Aghdam hospital was overflowed: the number of patients from Khudjalu only made almost 120”.61

In the first week of March Western media reported about thousands of killed civilians, mainly getting the inofrmation from the Azerbaijani and Turkish mass media.62

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THE CAUSES OF CASUALTIES AMONG CIVILIANS IN KHOJALY

February 23, 2009

Part 8.

The armed soldiers of the Khojalu defense forces were running away from the village together with the civilian population. On the approaches to the Armenian village of Nakhijevanik they run on Armenian villagers’ self-defense positions. As a result of the fighting the first Armenian post was destroyed (2 men were killed, 10 were wounded). Some Azerbaijani soldiers also were among casualties as the result of this clash.

Above mentioned S. Abbasov, who was among defenders of Khojalu, confessed afterwards, that after destruction of the Armenian post near Nakhijevanik village “we managed to have a narrow escape with the help from Aghdam”.58 Aghdam forces “arrived in time”, and Khojalu civilians “made their way”, as was already marked, right on the fields, where the corpses were found later. It is clear that no Armenian military unit could be stationed in the territory under control of large Azerbaijani armed forces.

The number of efficient military groups of the Armenians were limited at that time, and practically all of them were involved the Khojalu operation. It should be mentioned that in the beginning of 1992 the military clashes between the Armenian and Azerbaijani forces only began, and both sides were at the initial stage of formation of armed forces.

As it was mentioned, the operation on suppression of fire emplacements in and around Khojalu and de-blockading of the only airport began at 23:00 p. m. with artillery bombardment. At 23:30 infantry moved towards Khojalu but no serious resistance Armenian forces met in the city. The majority of Khojalu civilians together with the Azerbaijani soldiers left the village in panic. At 01:30 Armenians intercepted an Azerbaijani radiogram, in which remaining Azerbaijani forces reported to Shushi and Aghdam headquarters about their decision to follow fleeing civilians towards Aghdam direction.

However one-two small groups of Azeris were blocked by the Armenians and continued their resistance till 4 o’clock in the morning. Except them no Azerbaijanis remained in Khojalu at that moment. In a telephone conversation Artur Mkrtchyan, President of Nagorno-Karabakh Republic with the Azerbaijani colleague said that “They (civilian population of Khojalu – H. D., L. M.-Sh.,) left Khojalu before it was occupied by Armenian forces”. The distance to the place, where afterwards the numerous corpses of civilians were found is approximately 11-12 km by highway and 3-4 km less by a direct route.

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