The Khojaly genocide is the gravest crime of genocide committed against peaceful Azerbaijani people in the course of Armenia’s aggressive war against Azerbaijan.
On the night of 25-26 February 1992, in violation of all international legal norms, Armenian armed forces attacked the civilian population of the sieged town of Khojaly with heavy military equipment, killing them with unprecedented brutality and razing the town to the ground. As a result of a crime against not only the people of Azerbaijan but against humanity, 613 civilian Azerbaijanis, including 63 children, 106 women, and 70 elders were brutally murdered on grounds of national identity.
The nature and gravity of the crimes committed in the town of Khojaly fully suits the definition of the word genocide as indicated in the Convention “On Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide” adopted on December 9, 1948, under Resolution 260 (III) of the UN General Assembly. The premeditated massacre on this territory was committed with the intent to annihilate residents solely on grounds that they were Azerbaijanis. Khojaly villagers were beheaded, had their eyes gouged out, skinned, and burned alive. Those trying to flee were killed with particular brutality by Armenian troops who ambushed them on roads and forests.
Khojaly does not differ from other horrifying tragedies of Katyn, Lidice, Oradour-Sur-Glane, Holocaust, Songmy, Rwanda, and Srebrenica, which remain in history as deep and shameful scars.
According to a February 24, 1994 Resolution of the Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan, February 26 was declared as the Day of the Khojaly genocide.
The Khojaly genocide is one of a series of acts of mass slaughter aiming to annihilate the Azerbaijani population of Nagorno-Karabakh. This was witnessed once again by a massacre committed during the occupation of Aghdaban village in the Kalbajar region on April 8, about a month and a half after the Khojaly tragedy. 67 civilians, including children, women, and elderly were brutally killed, dozens of people were taken hostage and many others went missing. As a continuation of these events, on August 28, 1992, another ruthless crime – the Balligaya massacre – was committed in the village of Balligaya in the Goranboy region. 24 Azerbaijani civilians were killed with special cruelty, including 6 kids and a 6-month-old baby, a 93-year-old woman, and 3 children who lost both parents. The corpses of some civilians were burned.
Promotional activities carried out under the “Justice for Khojaly” campaign organized by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation are widening their scope every year. As a result of systematic efforts to increase the international community’s awareness of the Khojaly genocide, the Parliamentary Union of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, as well as the parliaments of Mexico, Pakistan, Czech Republic, Peru, Columbia, Panama, Honduras, Indonesia, Sudan, Guatemala, Paraguay, and Djibouti recognized the mass killings committed in the town of Khojaly as a genocidal crime. The parliaments of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Jordan, Slovenia, Scotland, as well as executive and legislative bodies of more than 20 American states strongly condemned and recognized the Khojaly events as a massacre.
Annual events are organized to remember the Khojaly genocide under the orders of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev. In 2017, a nationwide march was held in Baku to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Khojaly genocide. Slogans reading “The world must recognize the Khojaly genocide”, “Justice for Khojaly”, “Do not forget Khojaly”, “No to Armenian fascism”, “Khojaly – the genocide of 20th century”, “The criminals won’t go unpunished and others were displayed on large monitors along the streets during the rally.