Review of Events: Armenian Capture of Khojali, February 1992
By David Davidian
Events preceding the February 26, 1992 capture of Khojali by Armenian forces in Nagorno Karabagh allows one to view subsequent events with a context devoid of accusations of barbarism and genocide.
If such events during a conflagration are viewed without a context, as some suggest, it renders the neutral observer a predisposed conclusion. One can certainly view the fire-bombing of Dresden and Hanover, Germany during World War II as acts in indiscriminate barbarism, in isolation. However, such view loses meaning when removed from the greater context of war against the Nazi infrastructure.
Khojali is a village about 7 km north of Stepanakert, the capital of Nagorno Karabagh. Due to its geographic location, it was a staging ground for small-scale military operations and large scale shelling of Armenian villages and towns, especially Stepanakert.
By February 1992, Stepanakert was being shelled daily, much of that shelling coming from Azerbaijani rocket positions in or nearby Khojali. In an attempt to end the shelling of nearby towns and villages from this Azerbaijani position, Armenian forces attacked and captured Khojali. It is interesting to note that the CIS's 366th Motor Rifle Regiment was withdrawn from its position in Stepanakert through Khojali, after suffering death and destruction while stationed in Stepanakert.
The following are reports taken from the international press. It is also noteworthy that none of the events that led up to the February 26, 1992 attack on Khojali were videotaped or witnessed by any significant number of foreign journalists. However, immediately after the Armenian attack on Khojali, an orchestrated effort was made to document the event posthumously.
The following are the major events in and around Stepanakert and Khojali, preceding the February 26, 1992 capture of Khojali.
February 4, 1992: The Armenian villages of Berdadzor and Hasanabad in Nagorno Karabagh's Askeran region came under machine gun fire from the Azerbaijani village of Khojali.
February 14, 1992: Fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces in the town of Khojali in the Askeran region of Nagorno Karabagh.
February 16, 1992: Fighting reported between Armenians and the Azerbaijani town of Khojali in the Askeran region of Nagorno Karabagh. Two killed and others wounded.
February 17, 1992: Azerbaijanis continue to fire grad and rapira rockets on Stepanakert, the capital of Nagorno Karabagh. Over 300 artillery shells have been launched at the city in the past 24 hours- one shell every five minutes. An entire block of 31 residential buildings in Stepanakert has been demolished. The Gossnab [state supply] warehouse, the premises of the republican Procuracy and the Supreme Court have completely burnt out. Over 15 people have been
killed and several dozen wounded. The number of those killed and wounded continues to grow since corpses and mutilated bodies are still being dug out from debris of demolished buildings.
February 19, 1992: Over 20 people killed and many more wounded when Stepanakert was shelled with 180 missiles.
February 20, 1992: An Azerbaijani rocket attack on Stepanakert resulted in 17 dead and 34 wounded. More than 350 shells and rockets were launched at Stepanakert, from the direction of nearby Shushi, 218 of which were of the shrapnel type. Several dozen buildings were destroyed. Damage was also caused to the Supreme Soviet and television buildings, which were partly destroyed.
February 21, 1992: Thirty grad rockets were launched on Stepanakert, from the direction of nearby Shushi. At 1705 Moscow time, a second salvo was fired causing considerable damage. At 1845, 35 rockets exploded in residential areas. The town is on fire. Rescue work is being hampered by the lack of electricity, fuel, and water. Wounded servicemen were evacuated from the town. They had been injured on February 19, 1992, when the CIS 366th Motor Rifle Regiment came under fire.
February 23, 1992: Six civilians were killed and dozens hurt today as four salvoes of grad rockets were launched against Stepanakert, from the direction of Shushi. Eighty Grad shrapnel strafed the 366th Motorized Rifle Regiment, stationed in Stepanakert. One serviceman was killed, 10 wounded.
February 23, 1992: The 366th Motorized Rifle Regiment was bombarded yesterday from a Grad rocket launcher. Eight servicemen received injuries, two died, two near death, and six Armenians killed. The regiment expressed open dissatisfaction with the actions of the commanders who are observing neutrality at a time when Azerbaijani units are shooting not only at the civilian population but at servicemen who are not intervening in the conflict.
February 24, 1992: The command of the Transcaucasian Military District has ordered the troops stationed on the Azerbaijani-Armenian border to take retaliatory measures if they are attacked by Armenian or Azerbaijani guerrillas. The move was prompted by recent attacks on the troops stationed in the region and heavy shelling of 366th Motorized Rifle Regiment in Stepanakert.
February 24, 1992: Azerbaijani Army sub-units in Khojali, in the Askeran region of Nagorno Karabagh, launched an offensive in the direction of the Armenian village of Berdadzor in the Askeran region of Nagorno Karabagh with the support of armored vehicles. The Azerbaijanis simultaneously attempted to seize the compressor station of the Yevlakh-Nakhichevan gas pipeline. Armenian forces repulsed the attack and forced the Azerbaijanis to retreat to Khojali, after which intensive shelling of the Armenian villages of Noragyugh, Nakhichevanik, Lusadzor, and Dahraz, and the regional center Askeran began. The Armenian self-defense forces returned fire to take out the gun emplacement at Khojali.
February 25, 1992: Stepanakert was twice subjected to rocket shelling. At 1030 in the morning Azerbaijanis launched more than 150 missiles at residential districts and the territory of the 366th Motorized Rifle Regiment which is stationed there. On the night of February 25-26, another salvo from a BM-21 rocket launcher hit the capital. This time the missiles landed 500 meters from the regiment. Several soldiers from the 366th have been killed or wounded during continual Azerbaijani shelling.
February 25, 1992: Russian Radio reported that the Azerbaijani town of Khojali in the Askeran region of Nagorno Karabagh came under attack from Armenian armed formations, citing the Azerbaijani People's Front. The town was
reportedly "surrounded on all sides" by Armenians who included in their ranks
soldiers and vehicles of the 366th Motor Rifle Regiment. Radio Baku said although Khojali had been partially evacuated, it had not been surrendered, adding that "the Armenian bandits have been totally removed from Khojali."
February 26, 1992: The shelling of Stepanakert by Azerbaijani forces has been continuous for the past 24 hours. There are civilian casualties.
February 26, 1992: Armenian forces succeed in capturing the second largest Azerbaijani-populated center in Nagorno Karabagh, Khojali, in the Askeran region, which had also doubled as a potent launching point for GRAD missile attacks upon surrounding Armenian regions. Close to 300 Azerbaijanis and Meshketian settlers brought to buttress the Azerbaijani presence are killed while fleeing with Azerbaijani soldiers in retreat.
February 26, 1992: Russian President Boris Yeltsin had said Azerbaijani President Ayaz Mutalibov had contacted him vis-a-vis Azerbaijan's military status. Mutalibov said that if the CIS 366th Motor Rifle Regiment were withdrawn from Nagorno Karabagh, Azerbaijan would be prepared to join the CIS agreement, already signed by eight CIS states, on having "joint armed forces under a joint command."
February 27, 1992: Azerbaijani forces launched an offensive in the Khojali-Stepanakert direction in the Askeran region of Nagorno Karabagh. The offensive was preceded by three salvoes fired from BM-21 GRAD rocket launchers. Azerbaijani units used armored vehicles and helicopters, reports Krasnaya Zvezda. Just after the Armenians and the CIS's 366th Motor Rifle Regiment (carrying orders of retaliation if fired upon) captured and neutralized shelling positions in Khojali, during a civilian evacuation process fighting erupted between Armenian and CIS soldiers guarding this evacuation and Azerbaijani soldiers mixed in with these evacuating civilians. The result was the deaths of hundreds of evacuating Azerbaijani civilians and soldiers. Within hours of this event, news spread of a massacre of thousands of civilians by Armenian forces. Within several more hours video cameras were gathering footage of the carnage. Videotapes showing hundreds of dead bodies and grieving people made its way to Western press outlets. Some within days had to retract their claim of thousands of dead (the Boston Globe was one example). While the carnage was substantial, this event was used to oust the then Azerbaijani President.
* * *
Of the many international press reports, several are noteworthy. What remains to be explained, however, are the following four points. First, an unsubstantiated claim of 1,000 Azerbaijanis murdered and mutilated by Armenians; second, a regular Armenian-Azerbaijani dead body exchange shown as Azerbaijani deaths in Khojali, as shown on French television; third, a Czech reporter seeing the same dead bodies three days after the events Khojali, mutilated later in Aghdam; and fourth, the account by the Czech reporter asking
Mutalibov why Azerbaijanis were shot in the feet, a report that Mutalibov didn't dispute.
The Czech journalist Jana Mazalova conducted an interview with ousted Azerbaijani President Ayaz Mutalibov in Moscow. The following is an excerpt from that interview, "Azerbaijani Leader Ayaz Mutalibov Says 'Massacre Incident' Was Staged," which was published in the April 2, 1992 issue of Nizavisimaya Gazeta.
Mazalova: What are your thoughts about the incident in Khojali, which was followed by your resignation? Corpses from the fighting in Khojali have been found not far from Aghdam. It appears that these people were initially shot in the foot to prevent them to move further, after which they were hit with axes. On February 19, my colleagues had filmed these corpses. On March 2, the same corpses were shown scalped. It seems like weird games.
Mutalibov: Those residents who survived the Khojali incidents have stated that whatever happened there was orchestrated only to create the scenario for my resignation. There were certain elements working the overthrow of the President. I highly doubt that the Armenians would provide revealing documents to the Azerbaijanis. I can only assume that certain people were interested in using those pictures at the plenary session of the Azerbaijani Supreme Council to place the focus of the attention on my person.
* * *
A French reporter, Florence David from French Intel-5 TV, sent the following account to Paris on March 2, 1992.
According to Ms. David, on March 1, the Azerbaijanis and Armenians had agreed
to exchange, at a place near Khojali, the bodies of those killed during recent actions. During the exchange there were 100 bodies lying in a open field. While the exchange was proceeding, Ms. David said, "From nowhere and suddenly an Azerbaijani helicopter appeared in the sky, flew directly over the site of the exchange. It was full of Azerbaijani and foreign correspondents, who were taking pictures or videotaping the exchange. The next day, the Turkish press and television presented the pictures and videotapes as the 'massacre' of 'thousands' of defenseless Azerbaijani civilians by Armenians."
In conclusion, Ms. David said, "This was a sinister manipulation of the facts."
* * *
In a Rossiiskaya Gazeta article, "How 'Thousands Were Killed' in Khojali," French television correspondent Florence David said television reports shown in Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Russia picturing thousands of bodies of Azerbaijanis allegedly massacred in Khojali, Nagorno Karabagh, are "just a trick pure and simple."
According to her, the reports were filmed on March 1, 1992, when Armenia and Azerbaijan were exchanging their dead under an agreement brokered by the Iranian Red Crescent Society. The French journalist, who witnessed the exchange, maintains that under the terms of the agreement numerous dead bodies had been taken to a predetermined location for the exchange procedure. The key element of the story is that those were the corpses of Armenians as well as Azerbaijanis killed at "various times and places in Nagorno Karabagh." The French journalist says she saw television crews filming the dead bodies from helicopters and from the ground.
* * *
According to a March 26, 2002 article by the Bilik Dunyasi news agency in Baku, "Azerbaijani Opposition MPs Refuse to Vote for Azerbaijani Genocide Bill," at the March 26 plenary session of the Milli Maclis, deputies started debating a draft resolution "On genocide of Azerbaijanis in the town of Xocali (Khojali)." "The Bilik Dunyasi news agency already reported about the bloody events, which happened in this small town in Nagorno Karabagh on the night of February 25-26, 1992. Milli Maclis deputies reminded those present of the atrocities committed by Armenian separatists and their patronizers. On that night, the town of Xocali was razed to the ground and its population was killed and taken prisoner. About 5,000 people lived in Xocali. The fate of many is still unknown," began the report. "[Ex-President] Ayaz Mutalibov, [ex-Soviet Azerbaijani leader] Abdurrahman Vazirov, [ex-Soviet President] Mikhail Gorbachev, [former Azerbaijani internal
troop commander] Fahmin Haciyev, [ex-deputy speaker] Tamerlan Qarayev, [ex-army
chief of staff] Sahin Musayev, and many others are among the culprits," it continued.
"But when it came to voting on the issue, the opposition deputies refused to support the final document, with one vote. It became known that it is mainly Azerbaijanis themselves that are to blame for the Xocali tragedy and Azerbaijani genocide. That's why there was not a single Armenian surname on the list. For this reason, they reminded the participants in the session of the remarks by [Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliyev's brother] to MP Calal Aliyev:
the culprits on both sides of the genocide of Xocali's Azerbaijani population should be made answerable to an international court," concluded the report. Azerbaijani List of 167 Non-Combatant Deaths The chief of the Department on Questions of Law Enforcement and Defense of the Supreme Soviet of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Namig Aliyev, provided a list of Azerbaijani deaths in Khojali on the night of February 26, 1992. For reasons of space, the list included in this research has not been included here.
The list does not include those identified by profession as soldiers of the Azerbaijani National Army. The list includes the name, sex, age, and profession of the 167 victims. Of that list, 35 victims were either unidentified or it was not known whether these individuals were part of local Azerbaijani forces or civilians.
The Armenian response
During a discussion of the issue "On the Violation of Human Rights and Main Freedoms Throughout the World" at the 57th session of the UN Commission on Human Rights in 2001, the Azerbaijani delegation made a statement about the events in Khojali. In response, the Armenian delegation submitted information on the actual events of February 1992 to the chairman of the UN Commission on Human Rights.
The document, which was based on Azerbaijani sources, was also published that same year in the May 26, 2001 issue of the Armenian Weekly. The report, "Events in Khojali According to Azerbaijani Sources: An Armenian Response," is currently available at http://www.hairenik....history002.html
The official document stated that the Azerbaijani side had committed the atrocities there in the name of "political intrigues and the struggle for power" in Azerbaijan.
As these reports on the Khojali events suggest, the Azerbaijani arguments lead to an inability to substantiate a number of issues.
First, why was it necessary to attribute a regular exchange of Armenian and Azerbaijani deaths as only Khojali Azerbaijani deaths?
Second, why were bodies mutilated three days after they were dead, from areas not associated with deaths in Khojali?
Third, why does official Baku listing 167 civilian deaths in Khojali remain unreferenced by Azerbaijanis?
Fourth, how was it possible that video cameras and other documentation methods were well in place for this one event, whereas a planned massacre of 80 Armenian civilians by Azerbaijani soldiers in Maragha went undocumented? On April 20, 1992 Azerbaijani forces invaded the Armenian village of Maragha in the Martakert region of Nagorno Karabagh. In a matter of a few hours, the buildings were razed. Over 53 inhabitants of the Armenian village-mainly women and children-were killed in a beastly manner, their bodies so badly mutilated that they could not be identified. The surviving population of Maragha has disappeared without trace and 52 inhabitants whose names have already been ascertained have been taken as hostages by the Azerbaijanis. The majority of the latter are women and children.
Fifth, why were dead Azerbaijani bodies found shot in the feet?
* * *
A review of these facts leads to a number of conclusions.
First, while many people died during the Armenian capture of Khojali, its aftermath was planned for political reasons. President Ayaz Mutalibov was swept from office within days of this event. This unfortunate loss of life still continues to be clearly manipulated for political purposes today.
Second, there is no evidence of thousand(s) of deaths. All we have are videos of dead people, similar in nature to the Palestinian claim of hundreds of deaths in the West Bank town Jenin, after an Israeli military operation-later shown to be bodies taken from other places or recorded multiple times.
Third, it can be speculated that the deaths of so many soldiers of the CIS's 366th Motor Rifle Division sparked some form of retaliation, as per their orders. Since one of the major centers of Azerbaijani shelling was Khojali, their public departure towards Khojali could have easily been used for ulterior political ends. This is typified by the methods and unsubstantiated claims that remain until today.
Political Uses Today
During an on-the-spot interview with Siavash Novruzov, deputy executive secretary of the ruling Yeni Azerbaijan Party, conducted by L. Nuri of Azerbaijan's Russian-language Zerkalo daily on February 21, 2003 during the party's Khojali commemoration, Nuri asked if Yeni Azerbaijan would be participating in the Karabagh Liberation Army's commemoration of Khojali on the following day.
"No, because that rally is being organized by the opposition who had a hand in this [Khojali] tragedy," stated Novruzov. Yeni Azerbaijan's rally included banners reading, "Khojali Genocide, Worst Crime of the 20th Century."
* * *
Thus, even today questions are raised regarding the role of the Azerbaijani opposition in the Khojali events. However, if this was such a major crime, why do those that had a role in it remain free in Baku?
[This research was conducted in February 2003. The author is the director of
the Genocide Archive Project in Boston, MA. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.]http://www.panarmeni...date=2005-02-24
AZERBAIJAN BRIBES AMERICAN CONGRESSMEN?
Official Baku to create a centralized fund for financing lobby activities in the United States and Europe.
In the interview to "Liberty" radio station, an employee of the Armenian embassy in USA said that the government of Azerbaijan has paid a considerable sum of money to congressman Dan Burton who has recently come up with anti-Armenian statements. It should be reminded that on February 18, Dan Burton called his colleagues at the House of Representatives to regard the events of Khodjalou town as genocide, organized by Armenians against the Azeri. The American diplomat who asked not to announce his name, informed that the government of Azerbaijan had paid the honorarium to the lobby organization two weeks before Dan Burton’s speech.
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Burton is serving his third term representing the state of Indiana at the Congress. The influential member of the Republican party heads the House Committee on Government Reform. Burton was one of the initiators of the campaign against Bill Clinton, connected with Monica Lewinski. A radical supporter of the war in Iraq, Burton is also the informal leader of the "hawks" at the Congress. He is considered to be one of the most anti-Russian congressmen. More than once Burton has spoken out against the recognition of Armenian genocide. He actively cooperates with the political circles of the Turkish community of USA. Since 2001 Burton has been a co-chairman of the Turkish-American Friendship Group of the House of Representatives.
Dan Burton is in close connection with the largest American companies that deal with lobbying political and economic interests. His speech at the House of Representatives was the outcome of the contract signed by Azerbaijan with one of the mentioned companies. During the interview to the correspondent of "Liberty" radio station the Armenian diplomat mentioned that this is a campaign which was previously worked at by congressman Livingston who lost at the previous elections and is currently replaced by Burton. It seems that the company involved is "Cassedy & Associates" or "Patton Bogs". There is information that official Baku has tried to establish cooperation with those companies that can publish any statement at the Congress for a certain payment.
Azerbaijan has recently activated its lobby and this is confirmed by Valeri Vainberg the member of the electoral headquarters of US Republican party and the editor-in-chief of the Russian language "Novoe russkoe slovo" magazine, published in New York. In one of his interviews he agrees that Azerbaijan is really doing huge work to lobby its interests and the efforts return very well. "Every dollar spent for PR can bring back thousands of dollars. It is the best place for investments", Vainberg said.
For lobbying political interests Azerbaijan spends funds also from the state budget. Those funds by the way could be used for the construction of houses for refugees who still live in tents, dying of frost. The government of Azerbaijan ripps off money from socially vulnerable people and spends that money for lobbying. This can be proved by the interview of Novruz Mamedov to Azeri "Echo" magazine. Novruz Mamedov is the head of the international department of the president’s administration. Answering to the question whether there is a separate expense item in the state budget for lobbying the interests of Azerbaijan abroad, Mamedov said, "Of course, there are certain expenses for lobbying aims, but I am afraid to give certain figures…" The high-ranking official of the Aliev administration calls his compatriots to realize that the support of foreign politicians can be achieved with money only. He assures that "in the nearest future spending funds on such purposes will be considered quite normal in Azerbaijan". "We need to allocate more funds for that aim due to our current situation and neighborhood", Novruz Mamedov concludes.
It is quite clear that the government of Azerbaijan uses not only budget funds but also off-budget resources. By off-budget resources, funds generated from oil sales are first of all meant. "In this view the oil strategy that is implemented by president Aliev is vitally important", Mamedov says. It is easy to guess that the majority of funds spent for lobbying are taken from the Oil fund. The distribution of the financial resources of the fund is not supervised by any international financial establishment and even the country’s parliament. The authorities of Azerbaijan are currently discussing the issue of creating centralized mechanisms for financing lobby activities. "I think that soon this strategy will be clearly reflected in the budget.", Novruz Mamedov says.
The fact that in Baku they have decided to raise funds for bribing foreign politicians does not do credit to Azerbaijan. It is now obvious that the Azeri could manage to attract American congressmen with ideological considerations. Now after the failure of the "Azerbaijanian group" which was to be "knit together" at the House of Representatives by the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Curt Weldon, Azerbaijan has to set hopes on money only.
24.02.2005, "PanARMENIAN Network" analytical department
"360 Degree. Khodjalou. A True Story or a False Genocide? Khodjalou. A true story or a false genocide?
Meskhetian Turks - victims of Khojalou events, who have become a tool and victim of Azeri political games, throw light upon the dark story invented by the Azeri propaganda machine. A documentary from Stepanakert. "http://armtv.com/sch...c...c=tv&id=792 http://armtv.com/sch...c...c=tv&id=793
Talks on War. Khodjalou - 13 Years Ago
On February 25, 1992, Artsakh military forces formed a humanitarian corridor and offered Azerbaijan to lead out the peaceful citizens of Khojalou through that corridor. Azerbaijan military forces continuously bombed Stepanakert and nearby villages from Aghdam and Shoushi.
The only airport of Karabakh was located in Khojalou. The humanitarian corridor of Lachin being closed, and Shoushi - occupied, Karabakh disposed of air communication only.
At that time, the president of Azerbaijan Allaz Moutalibov confirmed that Armenians had really provided the humanitarian corridor for leading out people.
Today, Baku tries to use Khojalou events for concealing the butchery taken place in Sumgait on February 25-28, 1988.
Today, after 13 years, we are reviewing the history of Kojalou. Facts and proofs, unmasking the attempts of Azerbaijan to distort historical events. Memories from Khojalou. Watch on the First.
Bakou commémore Khodjalou pour mieux oublier Soumgaït
Une délégation de diplomates français a claqué la porte du Parlement de Bakou mardi, après des propos jugés attentatoires à l'honneur de la France. Les diplomates français, qui assistaient à une audience du Parlement azerbaïdjanais en qualité d'observateurs, ont ainsi réagi en signe de protestation après une intervention du député azéri Chamil Gurbanov, qui s'indignait de ce que le président français Jacques Chirac ait "l'audace" de reconnaître le génocide des Arméniens alors qu'il ne reconnaît pas le droit aux Azéris de dénoncer le génocide dont ils s'estiment victimes de la part des Arméniens. Ce génocide dont les Azéris s'estiment victimes renvoie à l'un des épisodes les plus sanglants de la guerre arméno-azérie au Haut Karabagh, la bataille de Khodjalou, dont l'Azerbaïdjan demandait mardi officiellement qu'elle soit reconnue comme un acte de génocide par la communauté internationale. Dans un communiqué, l'ambassade de France à Bakou a confirmé que les diplomates avaient bien quitté l'enceinte du Parlement azéri en signe de protestation, en déplorant "le regrettable incident qui s'est produit aujourd'hui dans le Parlement". Le même communiqué salue néanmoins "l'attitude correcte du président du Parlement, Murtuz Aleskerov, qui a rappelé à l'ordre le député, en ce jour de recueillement et de deuil en souvenir d'un épisode douloureux de la récente histoire de l'Azerbaïdjan".
Au-delà de l'incident diplomatique donc, l'Azerbaïdjan entend mettre à profit le 10e anniversaire de la bataille de Khodjalou, au cours de laquelle, selon la version officielle de Bakou, 613 civils azéris auraient trouvé la mort, pour alimenter sa propagande contre les Arméniens, présentés comme les agresseurs, et accessoirement, comme les auteurs d'un génocide contre le peuple azéri, allié et cousin des Turcs qui sont accusés eux-mêmes d'avoir perpétré le premier génocide du XXe siècle contre les Arméniens. La boucle serait ainsi bouclée, les victimes étant devenues des bourreaux. Le président azerbaïdjanais, de son côté, a tenu à souligner que "la tragédie de Khodjalou constitue l'épisode le plus sanglant de l'histoire du nettoyage ethnique et du génocide perpétrés par les Arméniens contre l'Azerbaïdjan" , ajoutant que "notre tâche aujourd'hui est d'informer les États, les parlements et l'opinion publique de la réalité de ce génocide de Khodjalou et d'obtenir sa reconnaissance comme un véritable acte de génocide".
Les Arméniens contestent bien sûr la présentation des faits de Bakou et n'ont cessé de le faire depuis que les forces arméniennes ont pris le contrôle de Khodjalou, cette localité où se trouve l'aéroport de Stépanakert. Selon la version arménienne des faits, qui a d'ailleurs été accréditée par l'ancien président azéri Moutalibov, les forces arméniennes avaient dégagé un corridor humanitaire permettant aux civils azéris de fuir la localité et les combats. Mais les civils azéris en auraient été empêchés par certaines forces politico-militaires azéries à des fins purement tactiques et aussi politiques, de telle sorte que de nombreux civils azéris seront pris entre deux feux. Encore aujourd'hui, cette bavure tragique et peut-être délibérée des militaires azéris est mise en avant par les milieux politiques azéris pour accuser les Arméniens de génocide, en exonérant ainsi l'Azerbaïdjan de son statut d'agresseur. Ainsi, il n'est pas indifférent de rappeler que cet anniversaire du prétendu génocide de Khodjalou est commémoré par Bakou quelques jours avant celui des pogromes et massacres anti-arméniens de Soumgaït, fin février-début mars 1988, qui allaient donner le coup d'envoi d'une vaste campagne de nettoyage ethnique à Bakou et dans les villes et villages azéris d'où seront chassés avec une rare violence tous les habitants arméniens, autant d'épisodes sanglants que la conscience collective azérie cherche à occulter, comme la Turquie le génocide arménien.http://cdca.asso.fr/...9vrier_2002.htm
COMMISSION DES DROITS DE L'HOMME
Point 9 de l'ordre du jour
QUESTION DE LA VIOLATION DES DROITS DE L'HOMME
ET DES LIBERTÉS FONDAMENTALES, OÙ QU'ELLE SE PRODUISE DANS LE MONDE
Lettre datée du 1er avril 1999, adressée au Président de la Commission des droits de l'homme par le Représentant permanent de la République d'Arménie auprès de l'Office des Nations Unies à Genève
Au cours de l'examen du point 9 de l'ordre du jour de la présente session de la Commission, la Représentante permanente de l'Azerbaïdjan a fait distribuer un nouveau document (E/CN.4/1999/121) intitulé "Appel adressé aux peuples du monde, aux États, aux parlements et aux organisations internationales par les habitants du district de Khojaly", où sont travestis d'une manière atterrante les événements qui se sont déroulés à Khojaly en 1992.
Une fois encore, le Gouvernement azerbaïdjanais cherche par ce type d'écrits à effacer la mémoire des atrocités et des massacres commis par son propre peuple au cours de la période du conflit armé entre l'Azerbaïdjan et le Haut-Karabakh.
En guise de commentaire sur la teneur de ce document, ma délégation rappellera les mots mêmes qu'a prononcés Aiaz Mutalibov, Président de la République azerbaïdjanaise à l'époque, dans une interview avec la journaliste tchèque Dana Mazalova : "... la milice du Front national azerbaïdjanais a entravé activement et, de fait, empêché l'évacuation de la population civile locale de la zone d'opérations militaires par les cols qui avaient été délibérément laissés ouverts par les Arméniens du Karabakh". Le grand espoir de l'opposition azerbaïdjanaise et son intention étaient d'exploiter les pertes civiles de cette ampleur pour susciter un soulèvement populaire contre le régime de Bakou et saisir les rênes du pouvoir. Cette interview a été publiée dans le numéro du 2 avril 1992 du journal russe Nezavisimaya Gazeta.
Qu'il me soit permis de citer ce qu'a écrit une organisation non gouvernementale, Helsinki Watch, dans son rapport de septembre 1992 : "Une Azerbaïdjanaise confirme que les Arméniens avaient fait savoir à la population civile azerbaïdjanaise de Khojaly qu'elle devait quitter la ville en arborant des drapeaux blancs. En fait, la milice azerbaïdjanaise a abattu ceux qui tentaient de s'enfuir".
Ma délégation est convaincue que les informations susmentionnées expliquent comme il convient la situation réelle au moment des faits. Elle estime qu'au lieu de diffuser des mensonges flagrants au sein de la Commission, l'Azerbaïdjan devrait s'efforcer de rétablir la vérité par égard pour les habitants de Khojaly et, dans le même temps, de traduire en justice les bandes organisées et les criminels azerbaïdjanais responsables des massacres de victimes innocentes.
Ma délégation regrette d'avoir à mettre en lumière des faits aussi pénibles et de devoir vous demander, Madame la Présidente, de bien vouloir faire distribuer le texte de la présente lettre comme document officiel de la Commission des droits de l'homme à sa cinquante-cinquième session, au titre du point 9 de l'ordre du jour, en réponse aux informations figurant dans le document susvisé.
(Signé) Karen NAZARIANhttp://www.unhchr.ch...10?Opendocument
On February 24, the NKR Supreme Soviet Presidium took a decision concerning the law status of the republic armed formations, which were subordinated to the united command. Serge Sargssian was appointed the chairman of the Self-Defense Committee. One of the primary tasks of the Artsakh self-defense forces was the removal and destruction of the enemy’s bridgehead at Khodjaly. Here there was a considerable contingent of manpower, a great quantity of military equipment. It was essential to reopen the corridor that linked the settlement of Askeran with the capital Stepanakert and also to regain control of the republic’s airport, which was in Azeri hands.
On February 25, the Artsakh self-defense detachments, taking up a position in the west of Khodjaly, demanded that the enemies leave the military base and allow the civilians through the established humanitarian corridor.
The then president of Azerbaijan A. Mutalibov confessed, that "the corridor was established by the Armenians to let the civilian inhabitants through" (the Nezavisimaya Gazette, April 2, 1992). Meanwhile the Azeri servicemen acted in another way, using the inhabitants in the village as a shield, they resumed a bombardment of the NKR populated points, and when they were compelled to leave the village, they themselves shot the civilian inhabitants columns on the approaches to the Agdam district borders. The same A. Mutalibov connected this unprecedented criminal action with the Azerbaijani Opposition Popular Front efforts to remove him from office, putting the whole responsibility for what had happened on him. http://nkr.am/eng/history/voina.htm
Khodjaly: Many Azeri-Turk civilians died a tragic death during an Armenian assault on Khodjaly - 10 miles north of Stepanakert - on the night of February 25-26, 1992. Khodjaly is the site of Nagorno Karabakh's only airport. It was also, together with Shusha, the main base for Azeri-Turk military operations inside Nagorno Karabakh. It was from Khodjaly and Shusha that most of the GRAD rocket attacks on Stepanakert came. The civilian population of about 6,000 was made up of Azeri- and Mesketian-Turks, the latter having been resettled in Khodjaly after having been deported to Central Asia from northern Transcaucasia by Stalin.
On February 26, the Azerbaijani Interior Ministry released their casualty figures: 100 dead and 250 wounded (COVCAS Bulletin, March 5, 1992). But by the first week of March the sensation-seeking western press elevated into headline news fresh Azerbaijani government claims that over 1,000 Azeri-Turk civilians had been massacred by the Armenians at Khodjaly (see the The Times of March 2, 1993, the New York Times, March 3, 1992, Boston Globe of March 3 & 5, 1992), There was apparently little effort by western journalists covering the aftermath of the battle to investigate the claims made by Azerbaijani officials or to give equal weight to the account issued by the Armenian authorities in Nagorno Karabakh.
As a result of this partial reporting, the Azeri-Turks and their allies in Turkey have repeatedly used the Khodjaly bloodshed as an excuse for barbarities committed by Azeri-Turks, with the justification that their behaviour is an understandable form of retaliation, given the Armenians' brutality at Khodjaly. When those events are themselves questioned, the reply given by the Azeri-Turk and Turkish officials is that they are only quoting information given in the western press.
Given these circumstances, delegates on a subsequent CSI mission tried to ascertain the Armenian version of events. Some aspects can be independently corroborated; others must always remain a question of the Armenians' word versus that of the Azeri-Turks, and whichever version is more consistent with facts which can be established.
According to the Armenians of Nagorno Karabakh to whom we spoke, it is acknowledged that they had decided to attack the Azeri-Turk town of Khodjaly, although they knew there were still some civilians there. They claim this attack was necessary to protect the civilians of Stepanakert, as Khodjaly was being used as a base for GRAD rocket launchers firing onto the city (this is true). They also claim that they did not want to harm civilians and so they issued advance warning of the attack, requesting the Azeri-Turks to allow any civilians to evacuate. This has been independently corroborated by Russians and by the testimony of Azeri-Turk survivors of the attack. Giving testimony to Helsinki Watch in Baku on April 28, 1992, A.H., an Azeri-Turk woman from Khodjaly stated:
"They (the Armenians - ed.) made an ultimatum.. . that the Khodjaly people had better leave with a white flag. Alif Gajiev (the head of the Azeri-Turk OMON in Khodjaly - ed.) told us this on February 15. but this didn't frighten me or other people. We never believed they could occupy Khodjaly." (Helsinki Watch, p. 20)
The Armenians claim that when they began to attack, they were concerned about civilians still in the town and tried to negotiate safe passage for them with the Azeri-Turk soldiers. They claim that the Azeri-Turk officers refused this. Moreover, they allege that, as the Azeri-Turk soldiers themselves evacuated, they intermingled with the civilians, firing at such close range that the women and children were caught in the cross-fire, receiving horrible injuries. The testimony of Azeri-Turk survivors corroborates the Armenian account. Twenty-three-year old Hijran Alekpera stated that the mass of civilians fleeing Khodjaly were "surrounded by a ring of defenders. They tried to defend us. They had guns and they would try to shoot back." S.A., a member of the Azeri-Turk OMON testified: "We (the OMON and civilian evacuees - ed.) were shooting and running in the pack, but it was not an organized retreat. We were all mixed together." Another young Azeri-Turk evacuee declared:
"When Armenians saw us they began to shoot. We hid. At the same time Azerbaijanis shot back. They were Azerbaijani OMON. Some of them were with us when we fled."
Helsinki Watch concluded:
"All Azerbaijanis interviewed who were in this group reported that the militia, still in uniform, and some still carrying their guns, were interspersed with the masses of civilians." (Helsinki Watch, p. 21)
Subsequently, the Armenians allowed the Azeri-Turk military to return to the area to collect their dead. This gave the Azeri-Turks the evidence of the civilian casualties which provided the basis for the allegations of cold-blooded, calculated Armenian 'atrocities'. One of the few journalists to probe beneath the surface of what the Azerbaijani authorities presented to the media was T. Mazalova from Czechoslovakia. She had seen two videos of the same collection of Azeri-Turk bodies, one filmed on February 29 and the other on March 2. She observed that the heads had been scalped in the meantime. When she raised the question of this discrepancy with the ex-President of Azerbaijan, Ayaz Mutalibov in April 1992, he declared that the massacre at Khodjaly was "organized" by his political opponents to force his resignation. He found it doubtful that the Armenians would have allowed the Azeri-Turks to collect the bodies had the allegations of a massacre been true (COVCAS Bulletin, April 9, 1992, p. 4). Helsinki Watch published a list of 181 Azeri-Turks, 130 males and 51 females, including 13 children, who were reported by the Azerbaijani parliament to have died during the battle of Khodjaly. (Helsinki Watch, p.23). http://www.geocities...o-Karabagh.html
I was in charge of the Askeran direction of the front line and I state that a corridor was provided for the peaceful population of Khodjalu which was guarded by both the Armenian force and armed Azerbaijanis. It was a railroad, the shortest and safest way to Agdam. We had announced beforehand for a several times that the way would be open, said Lieutenant-General Vitaly Balasanyan, former deputy minister of defense of NKR, in an interview with the KarabakhOpen.com.
“The Khodjalu authorities were to take people through the corridor. However, the people were left to choose their way themselves. Some of them died of cold, but most of them were shot by the Azerbaijanis waiting for them near Agdam. Now photos of people who died at that time are exposed who are reported to have been killed by Armenians. I personally guarded the corridor and I can state that these people were killed by Azerbaijanis. At that time, it was favorable for certain people who were trying to come to power in Baku.
Immediately after Khodjalu they accused the Popular Front, now they are accusing the Armenians. At that time the Azerbaijani soldiers and we gathered the bodies and returned to the Azerbaijanis. Those who were there at that time should display courage and tell the truth to stop poisoning the generation with hatred,” Vitaly Balasanyan said.
“I personally returned about 100 people to the commander of the Agdam brigade Allaverdi Mashirov, referred to as “Godja Gartal”. Allaverdi is not alive but his soldiers are alive who witnessed all. Let the people of Khadjalu remember how we took them to the border. I also want to remind how the mayor of Khodjalu Elman Mamedov got to Agdam. His family was in Agdam, he got there through the same railroad. Why is he lying to his own people ? At that time there were 735 guns in Khodjalu, and Mamedov had to organize the defense of his people. However, the person who held people in the captured village till the last minute but ran away the first, whereas the Azerbaijanis accuse Armenians of everything. I am ready to meet with E. Mamedov and discuss all these questions,” Valery Balasanyan said.
Recalling those hard times, the general told that during the movement of Artsakh Khodjalu was turned into a den of bandits by the Azerbaijanis. In a few years the village was built up and Turk-Meskhetis settled here. The men were armed. “Day by day the threat from Khodjalu grew. Soon attacks on the road began - they threw stones at the cars, stopped the cars and beat people. The events in Khodjalu, Lesno, Karagava, Khodjavend and other Azerbaijani areas in 1988-1990 were directed by Baku.
The Armenian authorities organized a number of meetings with the Azerbaijani authorities, agreement was reached to stop attacks on civilians. However, the Azerbaijanis did not stop. On February 22, 1988 the Azerbaijani insurgents moved from Agdam towards Armenian Askeran, armed with anything they had. The roads connecting Stepanakert with some villages were blocked. It was already necessary to neutralize Khodjalu,” says the general.
Khodjalu, as well as many other villages in Karabakh, had originally been settled by Armenians. The Armenian population left these villages as a result of the Azerbaijani policy. The Armenian fortress or Askeran and the small village of Khodjalu did not let the Azerbaijanis capture Shushi early in the past century. This made the Baku authorities to settle the areas around Shushi with Azerbaijanis and create a chain of Azerbaijani villages around the capital of Karabakh - Khodjalu, Malibeklu, Djanhasan, Kiosalar, Molanlar, Alimadatli, Aliagha in the right, Avdal and Gyulaplu in the south. Those were far-reaching plans to capture Karabakh in a peaceful demographic way, because all the violent attempts to get hold of the country had failed.
27-02-2007 13:20:48 - Karabakh http://www.karabakho...m/src/index.php
THE KHOJALU CASE: A SPECIAL DOSSIERhttp://budapest.sumg...hojaly/main.htm
De 1988 à 1992, alors que nos populations civiles étaient soumises aux pires atrocités en Azerbaidjan et en Artsakh, nous devions faire des efforts extraordinaires pour que les médias occidentaux en parlent moindrement, en disent un mot, dans les journaux, à la radio et à la télé. Souvent, c'était peine perdue. Mutisme. À peine un entrefilet occasionnel, un flash furtif... Je parle surtout pour l'Amérique du Nord.
Dès l'instant où nous avons commencé à gagner, tout à coup, la guerre d'Artsakh est devenue de l'actualité brûlante, pour ces mêmes médias. Et des reporters ont été dépêchés, pour aller chercher ces images amplifiées et grossies, avec moult gros plans et commentaires émus, des effets de notre avancée militaire.
1988: Massacres d'Arméniens à Soumgaït et Bakou. Massacres d'Arméniens à Kirovabad.
Janvier 1990: Massacres d'Arméniens à Bakou.
1991: Massacres d'Arméniens à Kédachén, et dans de multiples villages et localités à Chahoumian.
1992: Massacres d'Arméniens à Léninavan; Pilonnage massif des populations civiles dans plusieurs villages et localités, dont Stépanaguérd; Massacre des Arméniens de Mardaguérd;
Hommage à nos soldats et combattants qui se sont sacrifiés à Khodjalou.