International legal bases of recognition of genocide
The following instruments allow to qualifying Кhojaly massacre as genocide crime based on international law:
- Convention “Оn the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide” adopted bу UN General Assembly оn December 9, 1948 (resolution number 260 (III)).
- Statute of the Nuremberg Military Tribunal (although this statute does not point out genocide actions directly, these actions constituting genocide are qualified as crimes against humanity and war crimes);
- Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (par. 4);
- Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (par. 1);
- Statute of the International Criminal Court (par. 6):
- Criminal Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan (par. 103);
- Decree of the President of Republic of Azerbaijan “Оn genocide of Azerbaijanis” dated March 26, 1998.
The recognition of the Khojaly Genocide at the ICO
The Khojaly genocide ranked with the great tragedies of XX century like Khatyn, Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Songmi. This tragedy happened at the end of the century was not against only the people of Azerbaijan, but it is one of the gravest crimes against humanity. The international conventions adopted in the world, universal laws, repeatedly condemned tragedies like the tragedy of Khojaly genocide and stated its unacceptability.
Azerbaijan has taken decisive steps in many international organizations, parliaments of the world for international political and legal assessment of the military offense committed in the territory of the Azerbaijan – Khojaly by Republic of Armenia.
“Justice for Khojaly” campaign
The world’s second after the United Nations organization for the number of its members, the Organization of Islamic Conference (Note: on 28th June of 2011 by the decision of the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of member-countries the name of the organization has been changed to Islamic Cooperation Organization (ICO)) was repeatedly condemned aggression of Armenia against Azerbaijan Republic and expressed solidarity with the position of Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Garabagh problem.
In 2004, the Organization of Islamic Conference has established the Youth Forum for Dialogue and Cooperation.
Forum also applied to the International Youth Movement, in the autumn of 2007 at “Youth stands for Alliance of Civilizations” Initiative, which was founded within the framework of “Alliance of Civilizations” and offered via its partners, international organizations to deliver to world community provocative actions of the regime that shed a blood of the peaceful Azerbaijanis. These ideas were in the proposal that the Nagorno-Garabagh conflict should be considered as a conflict that can lead to potentially worsening of the relations between civilizations. The proposal also stated that such policy of S.Sagsyan, came to power in Armenia, may lead to the serious violation of the stability in the South Caucasus region which plays important role in world’s energy security policy.
At 6th session of the Board of Directors of ICO Youth Forum in Kuwait in April 2008, the Head of Heydar Aliyev Foundation’s Representation in Russia Leyla Aliyeva was elected as the first general Coordinator of the Forum on the issues of intercultural and dialogue among civilizations. It played significant role in the drawing of more attention by the ICO Youth Forum on the occupation of Azerbaijani territories by Armenia. As a result, at two-day meeting of experts organized by of ICO and ISESCO in the same year in Istanbul on May 17 the ICO Youth Forum, the campaign initiated by Leyla Aliyeva, the “Justice for Khojaly – Liberation for Garabagh” supported by ICO experts and it was decided to mark 26th of February as the Day of tragedy the victims of humanitarian disasters in the countries of the ICO. In addition, it was agreed to submit to at the meeting of ICO ministers the proposal on inclusion of the Khojaly massacre in textbooks on Islamic countries.
At Kampala (Uganda), in conference of foreign ministers of ICO member countries the initiative of General Coordinator for the Alliance of civilizations of the Youth Forum Leyla Aliyeva “Justice for Khojaly – Freedom to Garabagh” was approved. At the 35th session ICO foreign ministers conference the special resolution was adopted. Support of the resolution by the foreign ministers of 57 countries led to the establishment of political and legal framework in the world for the implementation of this campaign.
According to the resolution, Day of Memory of victims of humanitarian tragedies was established at the ICO member-countries. The resolution states that besides the approval of list of tragedies, including Khojaly tragedy, the campaigns should be carried out for dissemination of right information on humanitarian disasters faced by the peoples of the Muslim countries in the twentieth century, about aggressions and ethnic cleansing.
By initiative of Leyla Aliyeva, General Coordinator for Intercultural Dialogue of Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) member-body of the Islamic Conference Youth Forum for Dialogue and Cooperation “Justice for Khojaly” international information campaign announced on May 8, 2008 has been started . The first event within the framework of the campaign was the exhibition of the photographs taken by children in connection with the Khojaly tragedy and photos of a foreign country’s youth in Istanbul, in “Taksim” metro station. In May 2009 at 36the ministerial conference of Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the ICO held in Damascus, Syria the ministers fully supported the campaign taken by the Youth Forum on the “Justice for Khojaly – Freedom to Garabagh” and it was included in the final resolution, and members-countries were called to participate actively in this campaign.
In 2011 the Parliamentary Unions of the Organization of Islamic Conference (PU OIC) adopted declaration in support of the international campaign carried out by initiative of Leyla Aliyeva “Justice for Khojaly”. At the 13-th session of the Council of ICO Council of Parliaments held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) capital Abu Dhabi, the Abu-Dhabi declaration adopted by member states calls for recognition the Khojaly tragedy as a crime committed against humanity. This was a result of the initiative of the Youth Forum of OIC “On Cooperation between YF of ICO and Parliamentary Unions of ICO”. It was noted in item 3 of the resolution that PU of ICO member- parliaments recognize massacre in town of Khojaly of the Republic of Azerbaijan committed by Armenian armed forces against the peaceful Azerbaijani population as a crime against humanity. The member states call to assess the crime at the national level.
There is a direct call to the parliament-members of organization and this, in turn, can lead to legal and political recognition of tragedy at the national level.
On January 30, 2012, at 7th session of the Parliamentary Union of Islamic Cooperation Organization member states (PU ICO) held in Indonesian Palembang city to the traditionally adopted resolution “On aggression of the Republic of Armenia against the Republic of Azerbaijan” a special item was added on the initiative of the Youth Forum of ICO. In paragraph devoted to Khojaly tragedy it is stated that the parliaments of the conference member-countries calls recognize since 2012 (20 year anniversary of the tragedy), February 26, 1992 as genocide committed by the armed forces of Armenia against the peaceful Azerbaijani population in accordance with the nature of the mass extermination, and demands to bring to responsibility of those committed the Khojaly massacre.
The recognition of Khojaly genocide by the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation
On November 15-17, 2012 the 39th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (CMFA of OIC) was held in Djibouti. At the session the draft resolution submitted by the Islamic Conference Youth Forum for Dialogue and Cooperation (DC of Islamic Conference Youth Forum) in connection with its activities had been adopted by the CMFA of OIC. The special paragraph was allotted on the “Justice for Khojaly” campaign implemented since May 2008 with the initiative of Leyla Aliyeva, General Coordinator of the Intercultural Dialogue of Youth Forum for Dialogue and Cooperation of OIC. According to this paragraph, CMFA of OIC has appealed to its member states and institutions of OIC to take active part in the campaign and to support it and strive for making the genocide to be recognized at the international and national levels as a crime against humanity. Thus, the CMFA of OIC had recognized for the first time the Khojaly tragedy as an act of genocide.
Recognition of the Khojaly Genocide by the U.S.
On February 25, 2010, House of Representatives of the state of Massachusetts of the U.S adopted a resolution on the recognition of the fact of committing of genocide in Khojaly.
In 2011 the U.S. State of Texas recognized the fact of grave crimes in Khojaly by the Armenia. In the Resolution 535 adopted by the House of Representatives of this state the fact of the annihilation of civilians escaping from Armenian occupation by the Armenian armed forces and units of Russian army was condemned. The resolution noted that: “Human Rights Watch” organization recognized this action as a crime and violation of the Convention on the treatment of civilians in the zone of military operations.
In March 2011 Sui Wilkins, congressmen from North Carolina State of the United States, raised the issue of recognition of the Khojaly tragedy committed 19 years ago, in the U.S. Congress.
It should be noted that State of California, USA also adopted a resolution and proclamations on recognition of Garabagh as part of Azerbaijan.
At 20th anniversary of Khojaly genocide the Governor of the New Jersey state of the U.S Chris Christy and the vice-governor, lieutenant Kim Gadaqno had expressed esteem of New Jersey state to the victims of the Khojaly genocide and disseminated a joint statement. The statement reads: “On behalf of New Jersey state, we and the U.S. Azeris Network express our solidarity with those who remembered the terrible tragedy of war in Nagorno-Garabakh – 20th anniversary of the Khojaly massacre committed by Armenian and Russian soldiers against hundreds of ethnic Azerbaijanis while attempting to escape”.
In March 2012 House of Representatives of the State of Man of United States of America adopted in a resolution in connection with the 20th anniversary of Khojaly genocide. The initiators of the adoption of the document were Anne Haskell member of the House of Representatives and Senator Justin Alfond from State of Man . The resolution noted that on February 26, 1992, the Armenian armed forces with the assistance of 366 infantry regiment committed genocide and killed hundreds of innocent people and Azerbaijani town of Khojaly z was occupied. As a result of genocide, 613 people were killed, 487 wounded and 1275 people were taken hostage. The fate of many of them are still unknown. After withdrawal of 366th Infantry Regiment from Khankendi the big part of the military equipment at the disposal of regiment was handed over to the Armenian separatists.
Recognition of the Khojaly genocide by Pakistan
On February 1, 2012 the Senate of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan after hearings “On Pakistan – Azerbaijan relations” unanimously adopted a resolution on occupation of 20% of the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Khojaly Genocide committed by the Armenian. The text of the resolution is:
- Foreign Relations Committee condemns the genocide committed on 26 February 1992 by Armenian armed forces against the civilian population in the Khojaly town of Azerbaijan and the occupation of Azerbaijani lands by Armenia.
- The Committee once again confirmed the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Azerbaijan Republic recognized by the international community.
- The Committee demands implementation of resolutions of the UN General Assembly and Security Council immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, and calls the international community and international organizations to make Armenia to fulfill these resolutions. The international community may also determine the responsible side for this genocide.
- The Committee supports the efforts of the Republic Azerbaijan for peaceful settlement of Armenia – Azerbaijan Nagorno Garabagh conflict.
Recognition of the Khojaly massacre in Mexico
At the end of 2011 the Senate of Mexico adopted a resolution on the agreement of the provisions of the Nagorno-Garabagh conflict. The decision said that on February 26, 1992, units of the Armed Forces of Armenia attacked civilian population in the town of Khojaly of Nagorno-Garabagh region of Azerbaijan and committed genocide as it was stated without hesitation by the international human rights organizations, on the basis of their ethnicity, and during this massacre the hundreds of people were killed.
The decision at the same time reminds about the process of settlement of the Nagorno-Garabagh conflict, the occupation of Azerbaijani territories by Armenia, and the essence of the Madrid principles was disclosed and the importance of return of internally displaced persons and refugees to their previous place of residence was noted.
The decision also stated that Mexican MP-s respect the sovereignty of Azerbaijan and Armenia and call conflicting parties for making more efforts for settlement of Nagorno-Garabagh conflict as soon as possible and also called OCSE Minsk Group to provide all required support for peaceful settlement of the conflict.
It was also stated in the decision that, in spite of passing of 19 years since Khojaly massacre, the victims of the crime could not achieve justice and it still shows that the central element of any peace agreement should be in its place in a short period of time, as well as relations among the people should be restored as soon as possible, and the harmony between two nations should be re-established.
Recognition of the Khojaly genocide in Columbia
In April 2012 a decision was made by the Senate of Colombia in connection with the occupation of Azerbaijani territories. In Annex to that decision the information about the history of aggressive policy against Azerbaijan was provided; the position of Azerbaijan was reflected, including the occupation of Nagorno Garabagh region of Azerbaijan and other 7 regions adjacent to Garabagh and still being under the occupation of Armenian armed forces. It was also informed in the decision that more than 1 million Azerbaijani became refugees and internally displaced persons, and the violence committed against the Azerbaijani population and the violation of human rights took place, and it was decisively condemned. In addition, an important fact was that all these crimes committed in Khojaly were named as genocide. Prior to giving the decision for consideration of the Senate it was discussed at the 2nd commission on foreign affairs and defence of Columbia. The decision was unanimously adopted at the meeting held with the participation of 102 senators.
The Senate at the same time called the Armenians to comply with 4 resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council.