ARMENIA – AZERBAIJAN, THE NAGORNO – KARABAKH CONFLICT
History of conflict
Historical facts show that till the XİX century, not only in Karabakh, but in whole Azerbaijan not s single Armenians lived. Their settlement in this area served the private political interests of the Russian Empire. Events taking place in all of the Eastern Europe in XIX century, as well as in Russia (Russia-Turkey, Russia-Iran war), led to gradual weakening of the positions of northern neighbor in the region. Russia seriously concerned about presence of Turkic and Muslim countries in the southern borders and that is why there began to think about the idea of realization of the settlement of Armenians in the Northern Azerbaijan.
After the signing of Treaties Gulistan in 1813 and Turkmenchay in 1828 the process of settlement of Armenians at Azerbaijani territories took a mass form. During this period, from Turkey 86 thousand and 40 thousand Armenians from Iran shifted to present territory of Armenia, histological western Azerbaijan. Armenians were mostly settle din Nakhichevan, Yerevan and Karabakh khanates. Even after that efforts to further disintegration of Azerbaijan was continued and the Armenian region of was created here. It is true, later this province was abolished in 1846, however, the process of resettlement of Armenians on the territory of Azerbaijan had the negative track in the history.
Settlement of Armenians in the Caucasus have been implemented in stages at different times. Nearly 200 years ago, Russian Czar signed a decree on the transfer of a part of the Armenian population at Derbent and Guba. In this Decree named “On privileges of Armenians of Derbent and Muskir and right for freedom of movement” a lot of rights were given to Armenians and it was noted that in order to improve their living conditions their settlement in the fertile lands was important. In 1723 the Russian tsar Peter I signed a decree on the allocation of places for the resettlement of the Armenians on the basis of an agreement dated September 12, at Baku, Derbent, and Guba regions. In 1726 Ekaterina II issued a decree, which expressed the need to support Armenians and show them special mercy.
In 1729 by the decree of the Russian Emperor, a group of Armenian maliks adopted Russian citizenship. In 1799 Tsar Pavell I instructed Kartli-Kacheti kingdom for help in the settlement of Armenians in the territory of Gazakh.
The transfer of Armenians at Azerbaijani territories was not reflected just in separate decrees but in inter-state treaties, too. In Turkmenchay peace Treaty concluded in 1828 between Russia and Iran an article was reflected that the Armenians living in Iran are given the right to move independently to the Russian territory. Thus, the foundation for settlement of Armenians in the territories of Azerbaijan was created. When said territories of Russia it means territories of Azerbaijan, which is considered close to Iran. Turkish-Russian War in 1828 -1829 it was agreed about the resettlement of Armenians in Turkey in Azerbaijan. In order to accelerate the implementation of it
a special committee was established in Russia and general rules consisting of 12 Article were determined.
The main purpose of this policy, which refers to wills of Peter , which consisted of disintegration of the territory of Azerbaijan from ethnic point of view and by settling here the Christian peoples
to prevent threats that may come from the south. Thus, gradually, the Armenians were settled in the territories of Azerbaijan, where the best conditions were created for them and fertile lands were allocated.
According to calculations of the well-known Russian statistics officer I. Chopin, just at the beginning of the XIX century only in the city of Yerevan 2400 Azerbaijani families, 12 thousand people lived. After seizure of city by the Russians despite of migration of some of people to Iran the great majority of the population was Azerbaijanis. Thus, for the information of year 1829, just in Yerevan city 4/5 of the population, or 80 percent of the population was Azerbaijanis. According to census held in Russian empire for the first time, in 1897 313,178 Azerbaijani lived in Western Azerbaijan in Yerevan province. However, these figures changed completely a few years later.
After settling of Armenians in the territories of Azerbaijan, they began to think about creating their own state. The result was that the Armenians carried out by the mass acts of genocide in Azerbaijan in 1905-1906. During these years, they killed in mass Azerbaijanis in Baku, Tbilisi, Yerevan, Nakhchivan, Ganja, Karabakh, Zangezur and committed terrible crimes. Historical sources confirmed that the Armenians during the events completely razed to the ground 75 villages in the Zangezur, Shusha, Azerbaijan Javanshir and Jabrayil and destroyed more than 200 residential precinct in Yerevan and Baku provinces.
Since the creation of republic without “capital” Armenian chauvinists committed mass killings in provinces settled by the majority of Azerbaijanis like Loru-Pambak and Sorayel provinces, Zangezur, Goycha and other places. The facts show that, during 1918-1920 when in the Republic of Armenia the power was under solid-nationalists they could significantly achieve the policy of “Armenia without Turks “. At the same time as a result of atrocities committed against Azerbaijanis, 565 thousand of 575 thousand Azerbaijanis living in the territory of present-day Armenia were killed or forced from their homes. After the establishment of the Soviet Armenia only 60 thousand of them could return to their native land.
During the months of March-April 1918 in Baku, Shamakhi, Mugan, Guba, Lankaran thousands Azerbaijanis were killed, tens of thousands of people have been driven out from their lands by Armenians. During this period, the mass genocide acts committed by Armenians in Baku and Shamakhi were more terrible. 30 thousand people were killed with special cruelty and brutality in Baku. 58 villages of Shamakhi turned into ruins, 7 thousand people were killed (1653 of them women, 965 people were children), 122 villages with Muslims population in Guba were burned and destroyed. More than 150 villages located in the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh were razed to the ground. The operation carried out by Armenians in the villages from the tragic scale was the most severe events in the history of the world. In Zangezur destroying with brutality 115 villages in the same way Armenians plundered and burned the 211 villages in Yerevan province, and 92 Kars. All this proves once again that the history of settlement of the Armenians in Azerbaijan served to the disintegration of our historical lands, destruction of Azerbaijanis as nation and prevention of the existence of an independent state. The Armenians were just means in realization of the most brutal offensive in these processes. The only purpose of acts of genocide and mass deportation was to prevent the formation of powerful Muslim and the Turkish state in the South Caucasus. Both Gulistan and Turkmenchay Treaties once confirmed it. Attempts to divide the territories of Azerbaijan from an ethnic point of view will ultimately lead to the collapse of the country in respect of political and geographical views. What a painful, but the historical chronology of events that happen and its analysis confirm that part of these plans was implemented.
At the beginning of the XX century, the logical result of the processes taking place in the South Caucasus led to situation when at the eve of the foundation of the Soviet government a great part of Azerbaijan’s territories were under the Armenians. Historical sources clearly indicated the complete absence of the Republic of Armenia. The interests of the some superpowers required the creation of the Armenian state in South Caucasus. And its most serious results were faced and lived by Azerbaijani people. At the end of 1920, after the establishment of Soviet power in Armenia, the Armenians began to implement their century-long will, the creation of the Armenian state and acting with territorial claims to neighbors. During 70-year long period of Soviet power Armenians extended their territories at the expense of Azerbaijani lands, and their claims in this direction gradually increased more.
In provinces of West Azerbaijan, which mainly were populated by Azerbaijanis in the past, in Zangibasar, Vedibasar, Zangezur, Goycha, Agbaba, Darachichak, Sisian, Gafan, Qamarli, Garagoyunlu, Qırkhbulaq, Sharur, Surmali, Seidli, Sardarabad, Abaran, Garnibasar and other lands not a single Azerbaijani left but those lands fixed in our memory as the ancient Azeri habitations.
At the end of 60-es of the last century – the beginning of 70-es the issue of annexation of Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast to Armenian SSR was a part of issues discussed in the Kremlin and even in the Political Bureau. Armenians continued to implement efforts to annex Azerbaijani lands to Armenia with the help of their patrons. In May 1969, Supreme Soviet of this country adopted a decision on annexation some villages in the territory of the Kazakh and several other regions to Armenia. This decision was affirmed by the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, too. However, appointment of Heydar Aliyev as the first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic did not allow implementation of this decision. It is not difficult to understand how the decision of the legislative body of a huge country like the USSR was not implemented. However Heydar Aliyev did a great risk for the sake of national interests of the people of Azerbaijan and prevented annexation of Azerbaijani lands to Armenia. However, due to indifferent attitude of the leadership of Azerbaijan in 1986, some of the areas specified in the decision were annexed to neighboring Armenia.
In 1977 the commission worked on the new Constitution of the Soviet Union offered annexation of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast to Armenian SSR being separated from Azerbaijan SSR. And first secretary of Central Committee of Communist Party of Republic of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev, representing the country in the commission strongly rejected the suggestion that prevented its implementation.
In 1985, being elected to the post of Secretary-General of the Central Committee of CPSU Mikhail Gorbachev was doing its utmost for the realization of this intention offensive. In person of M. Gorbachev the Armenians found the political patron in the person of the country’s first
man and tried to use this chance maximum. In 1988 the Armenians already started to implement their hostile policy against Azerbaijanis openly. The conflict started with killing of two Azerbaijanis in Karabakh, destroying of Topkhana forest, soonest turned to military operations in the light of ongoing conflict, and shown how serious a problem was. Processes were taking place so rapidly that Azerbaijanis could not find an opportunity to understand the logic of Gorbachev’s indifference in exchange of diamonds presented to him by Armenians and removal of great part of Azerbaijani territory from control and also incompetent policies of the local government. And the geography of the conflict was expanded day by day. In 1989, the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Armenia adopted a decision on the Nagorno-Karabakh’s annexation of this country without any legal basis. This, in fact, was annexation of the territory of Azerbaijan. Armenians taken the struggle tactics to the military aggression and in this sense the mass protest actions in Azerbaijan could not change the direction of the events.
Of course, the support of the external forces played a greater role in realization of aggressive policy of Armenians. In this sense, efforts of then Soviet leadership are particularly noticeable. In 1990, the operations of the Soviet army in Baku ionce again confirmed it. Rallies held as a sign of protest of annexation of the Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia were suppressed by bullets of the Soviet soldiers.
In the summer of 1990 Heydar Aliyev came to Nakhchivan. The situation was extremely tense in the autonomous republic. Nakhicevan people forced to live under conditions of severe economic blockade believed that there is a turning point in this return. Within a very short period of time and limited opportunities Heydar Aliyev was successful to make serious changes in Nakhchivan. Immediately after the election as the deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic namely on his initiative the name of SSR was removed from name of the autonomous republic. Three-color flag of the Republic of Azerbaijan was adopted as a symbol of the state. On September 3, 1991, the Supreme Assembly of Nakhchivan adopted a decision on the election of Heydar Aliyev as the chairman of the Supreme Assembly. The new head of the autonomous republic besides focusing on the solution of economic problems also fulfilled mission of ceasing of the bloody battles on the border with Armenia.
Since 1992, the geography of military operations conducted in the territories of Azerbaijan by Armenian armed forces was enlarged and regions of the republic one after another began to be occupied. In 1992, a terrible act of genocide in Khojaly allows you to imagine the scale of the brutality of Armenians. At this terrorist operation realized with the support of Russia’s 366 infantry regiment 613 Azerbaijanis were killed. From killed at the time of the tragedy 63 were children, 106 were women, 487 people have been crippled, 1275 people were taken prisoners of war, that a large part of them were elders, women and children, 8 families were fully perished. Khojaly has been engraved in history as one of the most obvious examples of centuries-old attitude of hostility carried out by Armenians against Azerbaijanis.
Kalbajar region was occupied on April 2, 1993. On April 6, the chairman of the UN Security Council condemned the occupation of Azerbaijan’s Kalbajar Region by Armenian armed forces and demanded immediate liberation of these territories and the withdrawal of the army. But Armenia continuing the war against Azerbaijan captured Agdara in July 7. After that, the Armenians between July-October of 1993 occupied Aghdam (July 23), Fizuli (August 23), Jabrail (23 August), Gubadli (July 31) and Zangilan (October 29) , the regions surrounding Karabakh. Thus, the number of region around the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan (Shusha, Khankendi, Khojaly, Khojavend, Aghdere) reached to 7 (Lachin, Kalbajar, Aghdam, Fuzuli, Jabrail, Gubadli, Zangilan).
Azerbaijan was in need of mobilizing its military-economic and human power in the war against Armenian invaders. For this purpose Heydar Aliyev, newly returned to power, appealed to the population on radio and TV channels November 2 and serious measures political-military actions were undertaken. That enabled to radically change the events in Azerbaijani people’s struggle against Armenian separatism. The attacks of Armenian troops in direction to Beylagan were rebutted in mid November 1993. As a result of successful operations of Azerbaijan army the strategically important Horadiz district and 22 villages of Fuzuli were released from enemy on January 5, 1994.
After that Azeri troops released part of Djebrayil district, Bozlu, Tekeqaya, Babashlar, Qanlykend, Chepli, Qasymbinesi, Yanshaqbine, Yanshaq, Baghirsaq, Qamyshly settlements. Chichekli Mountain and other strategic peaks were returned, Kelbadjar-Lachyn road’s section till the tunnel was taken under control. In these conditions Azerbaijan signed the Bishkek protocol on May 8, 1994. Due to Azerbaijan’s progress in fighting its enemy the ceasefire was reached on May 12.
As a result of Armenian aggression Azerbaijan lost 20 percent of its territory. Nearly 20,000 people died as a result of this aggression, 50,000 people were wounded and disabled, more than a million people were deprived of their land, they became internally displaced persons, 5,000 people were missed. In addition, as a result of the war and the occupation of the territories Azerbaijan was subjected to a great deal of social and economic loss. The total amount of direct and indirect losses made 60 billion U.S. dollars.
Armenian armed forces deployed in occupied Azerbaijani territories 316 tanks, 324 armored vehicles, 322 guns, 50.000 thousand staff.
Till 1995 international organizations adopted many decisions on Upper Garabagh. Security Council of the UNO adopted the resolutions No 822 (30/04/1993), 853 (29/07/1993), 874 (14/10/1993), 884 (11/11/1993) confirmed the fact of occupation of Azeri lands by Armenians and required unconditional withdrawal of forces from occupied Azerbaijani territories. But despite of all these resolutions of the UNO Armenia continues to keep these territories under occupation, actively settles these areas and so ignore the will of the international community.
Since January 1997, the OSCE Minsk group (set at OSCE Council of Ministers meeting held in Helsinki on March 24, 1992. Azerbaijani, Armenian, Russian Federation, the United States, France, Poland, Germany, Turkey, Belarus, Finland and Sweden are members of the group. Since December 1996 it has the three co-chairs – Russia, the United States and France) created the new format consisting of three co-chairs the United States, France and Russia for negotiations. The Minsk Group developed so far the various proposals for the peaceful settlement of the conflict. But the Armenian side continuing to stretch the negotiations.
Sumgait events organized by Armenians
Mass rallies in Yerevan launched at the same time when an Armenian separatism in Nagorno-Karabakh went on active phase in February 1988. The participants of the rally shouted «Armenia should be cleaned of Turks “, “Armenia for the Armenians!” slogans. On the third day of rallies in Yerevan, the only surviving building of the mosque, secondary school, equipment of the Yerevan Dramatic Theatre named after J. Jababrly were burnt. In Yerevan the homes of Azerbaijanis protested against were set on fire. The mass deportation of Azerbaijanis from Armenia began. The mass deportation of Azerbaijanis was associated with massacres, brutal violence. Forced deportation of Azerbaijanis from Armenia, burning their homes, but also by beginning of attacks of Armenians against Azerbaijanis in Nagorno-Karabakh caused anger in Azerbaijan.
So at when the Armenians had planned massacre of Armenians in Sumgayit in order to make the world community against Azerbaijan, to divert attention from thousand deported Azerbaijani from Armenia and to implement the plan of cessation of Nagorno-Garabagh from Azerbaijan.
On February 28, 1988, and 29 there were mass unrest in the city. As a result of this unrest 32 people, including 26 Armenians, 5 Azerbaijanis, and 1 Lezgin were killed.
For many years, the separatist Armenian side always refers to the events in Sumgait to justify its aggressive policy, the Khojaly genocide and other crimes committed in the territory of Azerbaijan. Armenia occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s territory and carried out a policy of ethnic cleansing presents Sumgait events as in the purposeful act “organized by Azerbaijan”. Yet this propaganda campaign, which was launched in 1988, aimed at making the world community to believe on the cruelty of Azerbaijanis against the Armenians, about impossibility of coexistence of Azerbaijanis and Armenians within one state Armenia continues its propaganda based on false facts on Sumgait events during 23 years, and ignores the irrefutable facts about guiltiness of the Armenians as being organizers of this event.
In fact, at the time it was proved during the investigation carried out by thee USSR State Security Committee and the Prosecutor’s Office that the organizers of that event were Armenians. The main organizer of the Sumgayit events during investigation was proved to be Eduard Robertovic Grigoryan, born in 1959 by irrefutable evidence. The investigation found that from 26 Armenians killed in these incidents, E.Grigorian killed 6 people personally. Also during the investigation it was revealed that among organizers of the event were brothers of E.Grigorian, as well as other Armenians like Ohanian, Samoylov and Pavlovsky. 444 people were interogated in court, 400 of them were kept in places of detention for 10-15 days, 94 people were sentenced to different terms, one person, Ahmed Ahmedov for death penalty. Although the investigation charged A.Ahmedov as the main organizer of the disorders but there was no consistent evidence to prove it.
From investigative materials it was already known that Grigorian Eduard Robertovich, born in 1959, convicted earlier thrice and spent 9 years 2 months and 13 days in prison was the main person inciting the crowd and directing the youth and criminal elements to attack homes of Armenians refusing to pay money to separatist “Karabakh” Committee and the “Krunk” Community. Grigorian actively participated in looting and other crimes and personally killed himself 6 Armenians. E.Grigorian wasaccidentally detained as a witness in connection with the events in Sumgait. However, during the investigation the victims of those event Armenian girls – Marina and Karina Mejlumian sisters, their mother Rosa Mejlumyan recognized him. In fact, it is known that Grigorian was an active participant and organizer of events. As a result of the investigation had to choose arresting him.
Although it was proved by investigation that Grigorian personally killed 6 Armenians, he only was sentenced to 12 years of imprisonment due to influence of forces behind these events on court of the Soviet Union and was sent Armenia for serving his sentence and was released a few years later. Subsequently, the law enforcement authorities of Azerbaijan established unequivocally in the investigation that Grigorian’s two other brothers took an active part in these events. According to testimony of numerous witnesses at the investigation, prior to the events in Sumgait, Eduard Grigorian and his brothers contacted Armenian emissaries in Nagorno-Karabakh, and have identified the home addresses of Armenians being originally from Karabagh but refusing to pay money to their funds, refusing the Armenians separatism. With his team on February 27 he went to Sumgayit at the square where rallies of protests were held against brutalities against Azerbaijanis and he introduced self “Azerbaijani from Kafan” E.Grigorian told about mass killing of Azerbaijanis by Armenians in Kafan and instigated the crowd to take revenge from Armenians living in Sumgayit. Then he said that, “I have a list of Armenians, I know where we need to go,” and began to make robberies at Armenians’ homes with group about 100 people.
From the victim, Sumgayit resident: L.Meklumian’s statement to group of investigation on the events in Sumgait: ” Grigorian entered my home, made a blow with the legs of broken chair on the head of my ill mother, and this time I tried to resist a few times, but I had no enough force as being women, he put me on floor and began to rape. ” From testimony of a person named Najafov who participated in the events: “The gang organized by Grigorian, entered in flat No 512 of Armenian woman named Emma, immediately undressed her and Edik Grigorian offered to take her to street in such conditions and then Emma was killed with his participation.” In other investigative file it was said: “E. Grogorian entered the apartment of M.Petrosian at the first micro-district and made a blow on head of the apartment owner and she fell down unconsciously”
The press wrote a lot about the facts when hundreds Azerbaijani families during Sumgait tragedy put themselves at risk while rescued their Armenian neighbors from threat of angry crowd. By the way, many Armenians who left Sumgayit also gave their testimonies on facts how Azerbaijanis protected them while being interrogated by the Armenian Prosecutor’s Office. Armenian Prosecutor’s Office keeps these episodes in investigating materials.
As a result of investigations carried out an investigation of the events in Sumgait it was proved that the Soviet special services participated in it. The doubts and the data about it were revealed even during investigation of 1989-1990. Thus, in the materials of the criminal case started then the facts that Armenian Eduard Grigorian who headed the group of persons committed mass marauder action in Sumgayit, met with suspicious persons on the eve of Sumgayit events, the person that actively participated in killings, raping of Armenians and damaging their property an that he distributed spirited drinks and psychotropic drugs to members of own group but these information were not investigated by investigation group of USSR Prosecutor Office, in contrary the materials and details that might help in finding of organizers of the violence were hidden. Also no investigation was carried out about Armenians detained in Sumgait during violence, they were immediately released as suffering party and many others were kept out of investigation.
In 2011, Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev gave instructions to renew o the investigation of the criminal case related to the events in Sumgait. The investigation team is headed by the Deputy Prosecutor General. After this renewal numerous witnesses of Sumgait events, the investigator of former USSR Prosecutor’s Office were questioned. Investigations confirmed that these events were organized and ordered by pro-Armenian circles represented in the leadership of the Soviet Union, Armenian nationalists and separatists.
OSCE Minsk group
On January 30, 1992, the Republic of Azerbaijan became a member of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) and the same year, on July 8 it had signed its documents at the CSCE Helsinki Summit.
Since February 1992, Armenia – Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Garabagh conflict became the object of attention of the CSCE. In the middle of February, the special mission of CSCE visited Azerbaijan. On February 27- 28 at 7th meeting of the Committee of High-ranking officials of the CSCE held in Prague on the report of mission in the conflict zone was heard. In the document confirming that the Nagorno-Garabagh belongs to Azerbaijan, peaceful resolution of the conflict under the condition of changing of borders, was reflected.
At 8th meeting of the Committee of High-ranking officials of the CSCE held in Helsinki on March 13-14 the continuation of the conflict and ways of its peaceful political solution was discussed. After this meeting, the delegation headed by the chairman of the Committee of High-ranking officials of the CSCE Jan Cubish (Czechoslovakia), for the second time visited the conflict zone on March 19-23. The mission of delegation, which visited Nagorno-Garabagh, Baku and Yerevan was to study the to the representation of the possibility of the cease-fire in Garabagh, deployment of observers of the CSCE in the conflict zone.
On March 23-24, 1992, at 9th meeting of the Committee of High-ranking officials of the CSCE held in Helsinki the conflicting parties were called for creation of all conditions for immediate cease- fire in the conflict zone and to call the conference on Nagorno-Garabagh within the framework of the CSCE as soon as possible. At the first additional meeting of the CSCE Council of Foreign Ministers held on March 24, the situation in Nagorno-Garabagh was discussed. CSCE Council of Ministers on the basis of the guarantee of the Committee of High-ranking officials had adopted a decision on convening peace conference on Nagorno-Garabagh in order to ensure the effectiveness of the negotiations in the direction of the peaceful settlement of the conflict.
Ministers agreed that the conference to be called in Minsk is to be held with participation of delegations from the United States, Russia, Turkey, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Czechoslovakia (it was later replaced by Hungary), Belarus, Azerbaijan and Armenia.
On May 1, 1992, at 10th meeting of Committee of High ranking officials of the CSCE held in Helsinki the Committee adopted a decision on the terms of the conduct of meetings, the powers of the chairman and others issues on Nagorno-Karabakh. Minsk group established for realization of same name Minsk Conference should act in the direction of conflict resolution and after conflict resolving the member States of the Conference should gather in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, which was in neutral position to the conflict and adopt the Final document.
At Summit held in Budapest in December 1994, the co-chair institution was established in Minsk Group and the Conference. According to the decision made, Russia and Finland were assigned the co-chair functions. In January 1997, the trilateral co-chairs were established in the Minsk Conference and the Group and today the United States, Russia and France implement the co-chair functions.
Agreement on ceasefire
Azerbaijan’s late President Heydar Aliyev considered the necessity of signing of the ceasefire agreement in order to strengthen the stability in the country, to accelerate development in all spheres and began to make serious efforts in this direction. Finally, a result of intense efforts of the Head of state on May 12, 1994 the cease-fire agreement was signed. Finally, as a result of his intensive efforts on May 12, 1994 the cease-fire agreement was signed.
A brief history of the cease-fire
On May 4, 1994 in Bishkek, capital of Kyrgyzstan within the framework of the meeting of the CIS Inter-Parliamentary Assembly the negotiations on cease fire in the Garabagh conflict were started. At negotiations initiated with mediation Azerbaijan was represented by Vice Speaker Afiyaddin Jalilov, Armenia by Speaker of the parliament of Armenia Babken Ararksyan. In the cease-fire document, prepared by Russian representative of the OSCE Minsk Group Vladimir Kazimirov the Armenian community of Nagorno-Karabakh has been marked as a separate party. Therefore, it is natural that the Azerbaijani side refused to sign it.
On May 8, 1994, “Bishkek Protocol” brought to Baku by the Russian representative of the OSCE Minsk group V. Kazimirov, was signed by Azerbaijan.
On May 12, 1994 ceasefire agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan “Bishkek protocol” came into force. Chairmen of the Parliament of Armenia and Azerbaijan as well as leaders of Armenian and Azerbaijani communities of Nagorno-Karabakh put signatures to the document.
Azerbaijani side had signed the document only with two additions..
In Paragraph 5 of the Protocol “the captured territories” was replaced with “occupied territories” and the observers to be placed on the front line after ceasefire was named “mission of international observers”.
According to the document, the parties had to sign “Great peace agreement” with the international mediation as soon as possible.
The fate of captured and hostage azerbaijanis
Capturing and making hostages of thousands of innocent Azerbaijanis, their subjecting to torture, murder and facing with other inhumane treatment are the most terrible and bloody pages of military aggression of Armenia against Azerbaijan.
As a result of investigations carried out by various organizations, it was found that thousands of Azerbaijanis, having been captured and taken hostage by the Armenians since the beginning of Garabagh conflict, were subjected to terrible violence for their ethnic origin.
The investigation conducted by the Working Group of the State Commission on Captured, Missed and Hostage Citizens under the Ministry of thee National Security of Azerbaijan Republic, had revealed that the number of captured and hostage persons during the year of 2007 was 4354. Out of these 3504 were soldiers, 841 of them civilians. Only 9 people are unknown to be either military men or civilians. Among civilians 47 are children (16 under aged girls), 268 women, and 371 elderly people. During the analysis of the data received by the State Commission it was identified that 550 people were killed or died of various causes during captivity. Of these 104 were women, 446 men. Only Names only of 137 people are known and 74 persons are unknown.
In 2008, as a result of investigations carried out by the International Red Cross Society the information on the fate of over of 170 captured and hostage Azerbaijanis was identified. It was identified that they are alive now. In subsequent years, the fate of other group of persons from this list was cleared.
According to official figures of 2012, the number of captured, missed and hostage people was 4030 people. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) had registered 4600 people as missing persons during Garabagh war. About 3700 of them are Azerbaijanis. Since 2012 the ICRC began implementation of a new program jointly with Azerbaijan and Armenia to determine the fate of missing persons. According to this program the search for missing persons will be carried out based on samples of the DNA taken from their relatives.
The documents on number of captured and missing Azerbaijanis provided by Azerbaijani side have been detected at the international organizations. The draft resolution offered by Azerbaijani delegation at 7th session of the UN Human Rights Council, held on February 7, 2008, in connection with the problem of missing Azerbaijanis during armed conflicts was adopted by the unanimous opinion of 38 countries. The resolution reflects the appeal to parties of the Garabagh conflict for full-fledged cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in order to determine the fate of missing persons. However, the Armenian side has ignored this appeal. Moreover Armenia has not created conditions to investigate the data on prisoners and hostages kept as slaves in secret camps in Armenia and the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. Despite the International Committee of the Red Cross proposed co-operation for investigating the information on survived prisoners and hostages but the aggressor has repeatedly refused it.
The facts gathered at the State Commission on Captured, Missed and Hostage Citizens prove the rough violation of international legal norms by Armenia in relation to captured Azerbaijani citizens, violation of requirements of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 “on the protection of war victims”, on attacking of life and personality, to kill at any circumstances, make crippled, to treat cruelly or torturing and humiliating human dignity.
The facts on treatment of Armenians with Azerbaijani prisoners of war and hostages:
– The Armenian armed forces had shot at site about 80 residents out of 117 taken as hostages from Garadaghly village during the occupation of Khojavend (17.02.1992). The village residents Seyyur Khanlar oglu Nagiev, Shahruz Amirkhan oglu Aliyev and other witness this fact.
– The resident of Garadagly village of Khojavand Haqiqat Yusif kizi Huseynova was witnessed how Armenians burned alive of 10 her co-villagers on February 1992.
– According to Imarat Mamishova, she was taken hostage with her two young children during the occupation of Kelbajar. In front of her eyes Armenians killed eight civilians, including her eight-year-old son Taleh and their bodies were burned. After that the Armenians had taken herself, her 10-year-old son Yadigar, other women, children and elderly people to Khankendi and subjected to horrible tortures.
– According to words of the Ahmadovs, released from Armenian captivity in 1994, on August 17, 1993the Armenians shot in front of their eyes up to 25 civilians in the village of Gajar of Fizuli;
– Hasan Majid oglu Huseynov, held in Armenian captivity, informs that in 1993 40 civilians were killed at Horadiz-Fuzuli way by Armenians.
– Niyaz Balay oglu Zeynalov that returned from captivity, informs that Armenian killed by setting a fire on alive residents of the village of Shusha region, Gushchular village, hostages Sariya Tagi kizi Zeynalova, born in 1910, Yegana Dadash kizi Madatova, born in 1920 and Movsum Abdulrahim oglu Ahmadov, in February 11, 1992.
– 61-year-old Budag Ali oglu Alishanov, a former hostage, witnessed how 5 Azerbaijanis in Armenian captivity in Drmbon village (Nagorno-Garabakh) were killed as being used as slaves in hard physical labor.
– Israyıl Sarif oglu Ismayilov, released from captivity, has confirmed that Armenians cut heads of three hostage Azerbaijanis on the Armenian grave.
– resident of Lachin region Samaya Kerimova he could not stand the torture against her 2-year-old daughter Nurlana and self and committed suicide in captivity.
– Ilham Nasirov, born in 1973, died in a military hospital in Yerevan on November 23, 1993 for being kept hungry and thirsty for a long period of time;
– Forensic expertise of the remains of 20-year-old Farhad Rahman oglu Atakishiyev died in Armenian captivity proved that he was killed as a result of regular beatings and other tortures.
– Yardimly region’s resident Heydar Heydarov died as a result of systematic torture by the Armenians in Shusha prison; (24.12.1994). This information was witnessed by former hostages Habib Aliyev, Avaz Mukhtarov, Abulfat Gasimov and others.
– Khojaly resident Faiq Shahmali oglu Alimammadov being in Armenian captivity was shot dead by Armenian soldier for refusing to say “Kirovabad” for city of Ganja. Zulfi Ibrahim oglu Mammadov, Mammad Jumshud oglu Mammadov and others witnessed it.
The brother of Monte Melkonian, “Arabo” Armenian battalion commander, one of the leaders of the ASALA Armenian terrorist organization distinguished with its cruelty in Garabakh against Azerbaijani civil population, Markar Melkonian, in his book written in the United States “My Brother’s Road” describe how Armenians kill the hostages, residents of Garadagly village. Quote from the book: “Aramo and Arabo’s soldiers had taken captive 38 people, among them were women, they were in a valley near the village. Aramo and Arabo wanted to avenge for their friends killed in battle soldiers, so later they began to knife and shoot with machine guns the prisoners. Edo with scar joined them, too. He poured gasoline on some of wounded prisoners and set them to fire. When Monte came to this valley away from the village there was just a stack of human remains”. That book also describes how head of the Azerbaijani prisoner was cut off at the grave of Armenian in Yerevan.
The facts on mass killing of civilians during the military aggression of Armenia against Azerbaijan, the exposure of Azerbaijani citizens held captive in Armenia and the occupied territories of Azerbaijan to severe tortures and moral sufferings, causing the suicide by regularly humiliating human dignity of people, killing brutally, or dying at result of given tortures are numerous. These facts show that captured and hostage Azerbaijanis became victims of the mass genocide, were deprived of their basic human rights.
Illegal settlement in the occupied territories
After the cease-fire and termination of hostilities Armenia started to implement the policy of artificially changing the demographic structure in the Armenian-occupied territories of Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Garabagh and the surrounding regions adjacent to it. For this purpose, the illegal settlement of Armenians in the occupied territories was carried out, and the process still continues. According to variety of sources, including, Armenian sources and confirmed reports of the OSCE mission, since the mid 90-es of the last century until 2012, 25-27 thousand Armenians moved to Nagorno-Garabagh and other occupied territories. This resettlement policy is supported and funded by the Government of Armenia, the Armenian Diaspora in abroad. Resettling in the occupied territories is contrary to the Fourth Geneva Convention dated 12 August 1949 and its Additional Protocols relating to the Protection of the civilian population during the war, joined by Armenia in 1993.
Illegal settlement has become massive in the mid-90s
The process of illegal settlement became particularly widespread in the mid-90s of last century. The Government of Armenia resettled Armenians once moved from Baku and other parts of Azerbaijan as well as implemented a special program for the resettlement of the Armenians from countries in the Middle East and other foreign countries in these occupied territories. According to advisor to former President Levon Ter-Petrosian of Armenia Levon Zurabyan just in 1998 the number of Armenians settled in Lachin region was over 15 thousand. The government of Armenia provided Armenians settled in the Nagorno-Garabagh and other occupied territories with financial assistance, cattle. The special funds allocated from state budget of Armenia for resettlement purposes in the occupied territories.
Official Baku’s protests and the first international mission
Since 2004, a number of projects resolution on “The situation in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan” has been included in the agenda at the annual sessions of the UN General Assembly for the first time, the Special Commission of the OSCE with mission of regulation of the conflict to investigate these matters was set up for discussion the matter of illegal settlement in the occupied territories, illegal economic activity, the destruction of historical and cultural monuments, and other activities related to the settlement. The organization of mission was arranged within the discussion of Clause 163 “The situation in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan” included at the agenda of the 59th session of the UN General Assembly.
Composition of the Fact Finding Mission of the OSCE In 2005
The composition of Fact-Finding Mission (OSCE Minsk Group Fact-Finding Mission) of OSCE Minsk Group, set based on agreement of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Armenia and Azerbaijan, includes experts from countries-co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group – United States, France and Russia, as well as the Minsk Group countries, Germany, Italy, Finland and experts from Sweden. Andrzej Kasprzyk, the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in mission and the OSCE Secretariat representatives also attended the meeting. Fact-finding mission of the OSCE Minsk Group conducted observations in the 7 occupied regions surrounding the Nagorno-Garabagh region from January 31 to 6 February 200. The mission submitted the report on situation in occupied Azerbaijani territories in March 2005 to the OSCE Viena Secretariat, and parties of the conflict.
The mission confirmed the mass illegal settlement
The report of the OSCE Fact-Finding Mission confirms the concerns expressed once by Azerbaijan about carrying out illegal settlement by Armenia in the occupied territories. The mission determined by visual assessment of the number of Armenians settled in the occupied territories and the resulting figures are quite close to the figures released earlier by Azerbaijan. The mission found that the number of Armenians resettled in the occupied territories is than 17 thousands. Before the mission’s inspection Azerbaijan stated that this figure is between 20-23 thousands. The Fact-Finding Mission of the OSCE defined in that report that 8-11 thousand Armenians were resettled in Lachin region. According to information of Azerbaijan this figure is more than 13. Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry said that the confirming by the mission of resettlement of population in the organized form in Lachin region is a matter of concern. Thus, in general, previously no Armenians lived in these areas.
Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry stated that sending of the OSCE mission to the region was made possible thanks to the principled position of the UN General Assembly. The statement noted that the mission has been carried out for the first time since occupation of Azerbaijani territories and adoption of relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council on the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, along with the Fact-Finding Mission’s report, released a letter, too. In the letter the co-chairs addressed with demands of the suspension of settlement of Armenians in the occupied territories, putting an end on changing of the demographic structure of the region and asked donor countries to assist in the return of that people to Armenia. The co-chairs noted particularly that remaining of in this situation for a long time complicates the peace process seriously.
Organization of the OSCE Field Assessment Mission in 2010
In September 2010, during the annual session of the UN General Assembly the draft resolution on the situation in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan once again put for a discussion. Taking into account the great possibility of passing the resolution by vote Armenia agreed on visit of Field Assessment Mission with broader mandate of the OSCE Minsk Group to investigate situation in the occupied Azerbaijani territories. Field Assessment Mission of the OSCE Minsk Group set same year visited the occupied territories on the vicinity of the Nagorno-Garabagh in order to assess the overall situation in the area on Oct 7-12, 2010.
The second international mission has confirmed the continuation of the settlement policy
Field Assessment Mission once again had revealed continuation of resettlement policy at the occupied territories of Azerbaijan by Armenians, as well as the implementation of infrastructure changes and economic activity. Based on a visual assessment and the information provided by the local population, the number of Armenians settled illegally in Azerbaijan’s occupied seven regions was indicated by the mission as about 14 thousand people. Part of the migrants live in restored and newly built homes.
The facts from the Armenian sources
In Armenian sources, in the statements of Armenian authorities the facts on illegal settlement in the occupied are met regularly. For example, in April 2012 the Armenian “Panarmenian» agency disseminated the information referring to member of so-called Nagorno-Garabagh’s “government” Narine Astchatryan that more than 600 Armenian families were resettled in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan in the last five years. The majority of those families was settled in the vicinity of the contact line of troops.
Only in 2010, 199 Armenian families (616 people) were resettled in Lachin region of Azerbaijan being under occupation. In the first months of 2011, more than 50 families were settled in Lachin, too. By the end of 2011, resettling of total 300 families is planned in Lachin region. Officials of the illegal regime in Nagorno-Garabagh said that the privileged loans, construction materials, as well as transportation vehicles for moving are provided to those agreed to settle in the area. U.S. $2700 of privileged loans were allotted by”Artsakh” Fund operating in Lebanon to each Armenian family settled in Lachin for agricultural purposes.
The process of resettling of Syrian Armenians in Garabagh
In 2012, in connection with the conflict in Syria the active campaign began for settlement of the Armenians leaving this country in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. The Cabinet of Ministers of Armenia held a closed session for discussion of this issue. According to the information by the end of August of 2012, already 15 Syrian Armenian families were settled in occupied Lachin, and 1 family in Kalbajar region.
Hence Armenia’s efforts to change the demographic structure artificially in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan further complicate the negotiation process concerning the Nagorno-Garabagh conflict. The illegal settlement is not limited just with administrative boundaries of the Nagorno-Garabagh but covers the surrounding regions under occupation and it shows once more policy of illegal settlement of Armenia.