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Heydar Aliyev

Khodjali genocide



«The Khojaly genocide, an act perpertrated against the whole of the Azerbaijani nation, is one of the most atrocious and despicable acts to have ever been known throughout the history of mankind, owing to its extreme cruelty and inhumane, beastual bloodliness. This genocide is a crime against the humanity, too.»

Heydar Aliyev


The Khojaly genocide is one of the most terrifying and tragic pages in Azerbaijan's history. In his address to the Azerbaijani nation commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Khojaly genocide, the national leader of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev said: «This cruel and bloody act of genocide has become part of the mankind's history as one of the most terrifying acts of terror ever».

It should be noted that the Azerbaijani nation has suffered at the hands of the Armenian nationalists and chauvinists for 200 years, being consistently subjected to a string of ethnic cleansings and genocidal actions. Azerbaijanis were driven away from their historic lands, becoming refugees and internally displaced persons, all of which was accompanied with mass-scale massacres by the Armenians. Displacement of Azerbaijanis from their historic and ethnic lands was continued throughout the Soviet era as well. In 1948-1953, 150 thousand Azerbaijanis were deported from Armenia to the Kura-Araz lowland. And in 1988, 250 thousand Azerbaijanis who lived on their own, historic lands, were driven away, and Armenia thus became a monoethnic state. The events that started in 1988 involving Nagorno Garabagh, as part of the ceaseless efforts to realize the crazy idea of «Armenia from sea to sea» begotten by the Armenian ideologists, resulted in the destruction of villages and towns, annihilation of tens of thousands of innocent people, and displacement of hundreds of thousands more Azerbaijanis from their historic lands.


In contradiction to any and all international laws, Armenia wants to expropriate Nagorno Garabagh, clearly demonstrating that they are willing to perpetrate any crime or unspeakable atrocities in the process. The tragedy of the 20th century, the Khojaly genocide, is a direct result of this aggressive and criminal Armenian policy.  This tragedy that struck in the late 20th century is one of the gravest crimes committed against the whole of humanity, all of mankind, not just the Azerbaijani nation. The Khojaly genocide shares the mournful ranks of tragedies as terrifying as Khatin, Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Songmi.

So to what end did the Armenians target the town of Khojaly? While on the one hand they sought to remove an obstacle of strategic significance, comprised entirely of Azerbaijanis in the highland region of Nagorno Garabagh, on the other hand, they wanted to completely eradicate Khojaly, wipe it off the face of the earth altogether. Because Khojaly was a place where the age-old historic and cultural traditions and customs of Azerbaijan have flourished and prospered for centuries, if not millennia. This singular culture is known in history as the Khojaly-Gedabey culture. The Khojaly cromlechs, dolmens, cyclops, mounds and other monuments, as well as a variety of domestic, household implements exemplify the tangible culture that represents the human society's development path.

Destroying all of these monuments of tangible culture after the Armenian invasion, and razing down the Khojaly cemetery, considered one of the world's most ancient burial grounds, using heavy machinery, is but a clear demonstration of the Armenian vandalism, and an act of violence against the world culture as a whole.

Armenian troops committed an act of genocide in the town of Khojaly, with some 7 thousand people, on February 26th, 1992. When Armenia's troops assaulted the town there were only some 3 thousand people left there. Because most of the people had been forced to flee owing to a blockade resulting from the siege that had lasted for more than 4 months. 613 people were killed in the Khojaly massacre, 1000 peaceful residents of different age groups were disabled by bullet wounds. 106 women, 63 toddlers, 70 old people were killed. 8 families were completely annihilated, 25 children lost both parents, 130 lost one of the parents. On the night of the tragedy 1275 peaceful residents were captivated, and the fates of 150 of these people remain unknown to the date. All of this was done by the Armenian military with extreme prejudice and unspeakable cruelty. The assault included the 2nd battalion of the 366th regiment led by Major Seyran Oganyan Mushegovitch (Seyran Oganyan is now the «minister of defense» of the unlawful Armenian regime in Nagorno Garabagh), 3rd battalion led by Yevgeni Nabokikhin, chief of staff of the 1st battalion Valery Tchitchyan Isayevitch and over 50 Armenian officers and warrant officers serving in the regiment. (from the «Investigation materials of the Khojaly occupation»). A part of the town's population attempting to escape the violence and bloodshed, got into a pre-set ambush and were utterly obliterated. According to the Russian human rights watchdog «Memorial», for four days the bodies of 200 Azerbaijanis slaughtered in Khojaly were transported to Agdam, and dozens of instances of post-mortem mutilation and desecration were registered. 181 corpse went through forensic examination in Agdam (130 men and 51 women, including 13 children). The forensics established bullet wounds as the cause of death of 151 people, shrapnel wounds as the COD of 20 people, and blunt force trauma as the COD of 10 people. The human rights watchdog also reported a case of a man scalped alive.

Various episodes of the Khojaly genocide are simply horrific. A Khojaly resident, Antiga, was burned alive for refusing the Armenian military's demands to say: «these lands belong to the great Armenia». Another Khojaly resident, Sariya Talibova's account of the events: «4 Meskheti Turks and 3 Azerbaijanis were beheaded at an Armenian's grave. Then 2 more Azerbaijanis' eyes were plucked out».

The Armenians humiliated the survivors beyond sanity. They scalped them alive, decapitated them and mutilated them in any fashion possible, cut out the children's eyes, ripped open pregnant women's bellies. They also used the globally banned 5.45 caliber bullets and chemical weapons during the assault. All of these facts provide sufficient evidence that Armenia clearly breached the Geneva convention protocols and committed a brutal act of genocide against peaceful people thereby violating the rules of war.

The extreme cruelty and atrocity of the Khojaly genocide horrified the Russian, Georgian, English, French, German, American and other journalists and reporters.

An address by Khojaly refugees to the UN, European Union and Organization of Security and Cooperation of Europe says: We, Khojaly residents, having lived as refugees for more than 10 years now, we now turn to the peace-loving nations of the world and international institutions, with an ache at our hearts, yet with an unbridled hope in our souls. We ask you not to stay indifferent to the tragedy that has befallen us as a result of the Armenian military aggression. We firmly believe that the UN, EU and OSCE and other reputable international organizations, as well as peace-loving nations of the world, will act in response to such aggressiveness and violence on part of Armenia.»


Internationally accepted conventions, general laws of mankind criticize and unequivocally object to genocides like the Khojaly tragedy. The Azerbaijani nation, pursuant to the «Prevention and punishment of the genocide crime» convention of December 9th, 1948, has all the legal grounds for filing a lawsuit against the Republic of Armenia with the UN International Court. The world needs to know that this crime was not only committed against the Azerbaijani nation, but against the entire civilized world, the whole of mankind. The perpetrators of the genocide who currently hold high government posts in Armenia, the likes of Seyran Oganyan, Serge Sargsyan, as well as Robert Kocharyan and others, must be held accountable at an international court of law.

A crime should not go unpunished. The world community must recognize and punish Armenia's military and political aggression. International organizations, world parliaments need to give an international political and legal evaluation of the military crime committed by the Republic of Armenia in Azerbaijan, the Khojaly genocide, as an act of true and undisputable genocide.

The A. Bakikhanov Institute of History, National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan



The legal term «genocide» was defined in the «Prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide» Convention adopted by the UN General Assembly's Resolution No. 260 A (III), dated December 9th, 1948, and indicates the following actions with an intent and forethought to obliterate any national, ethnic, racial or religious groups, in full or in part:

- murdering members of such a group;

- inflicting grave injuries and mental damages upon members of such a group;

- enabling circumstances and living conditions pre-calculated with a malice forethought and intent to eradicate any such group, either in full or in part;

- taking measures designed to prevent such a group from childbirthing;

- forcefully transferring children from one group of people to another.

Existence of a specific intent is a prerequisite condition of a crime of genocide. This objective feature is what delineates the crime of genocide from other similar international transgressions. Each and every action constituting a crime of genocide must be a conscious choide and have a forethought. Such actions can never be accidental or a result of negligence. Yet, the time of intent to commit such an act and general realization of the possible consequences thereof are not enough to interpret them as a genocide. Existence of a malice, criminal forethought with respect to the negative consequences of an action, or the singular objective of a specific intent need to be evidenced. Spraying a hail of fire at the Azerbaijani civilians who were trying to escape the massacre, from submachine guns, machine guns and other weapons at specifically pre-established ambush locations is a clear evidence of the existence of a genocide intent. And it is obvious and clear that this crime was directed specifically at an Azerbaijani national group.

A thorough scrutiny of the genocide crime reveals 3 key components thereof:

- existence of a known, national, ethnic, racial or religious group;

- existence of an intent to eradicate such a group in full or in part (mens rea);

- commission of any of the acts construed as genocide against a known group (actus reus).

Therefore, an act of genocide must be directed at a national, ethnic, racial or religious group. Such actions when directed at another type of group, e.g., political or social group, cannot be interpreted as a genocide.

The notion of a genocide requires existence of a specific intent to generate general consequences of a prohibited action. An intent, as a construed sign of a crime of genocide, combines several different components:

- the intent must not be to accidentally destroy an individual or several individuals pertaining to a specific group, but must be to destroy the entire group. The determinant feature of identifying genocide victims is not their individuality, but their being part of a group;

- the intent must be to destroy a whole group. Genocide signifies denying the right of a whole group of humans to live. Killing a person (genocide) is characterized as denying an individual's right to live. Accordingly, actus reus (restricted action) may be limited to a single person, but mens rea (intent) must be directed against the existence of a group;

- the intent must be to destroy a group either in full or in part;

- the intent must be to destroy a national, ethnic, racial or religious group.

As per the definition of the crime of genocide, the end-result of complete destruction of a whole group is required in order to establish responsibility.

To this end, it is enough to commit one of the actions that constitute an objective side of the crime with an intent to destroy an ethnic group either in full or in part.

The notion of «to destroy», which is an objective side of a genocide, means depriving one of life by means of physical or biological impact.

The UN international court's ruling on the Barcelona Traction case termed the commitment to ban the act of genocide as erga omnes commitments.

The international court recognized the underlying principles of the «Prevention and punishment of genocide crimes» Convention as mandatory provisions and requirements for all countries.


Documents listed below allow for construing the Khojaly events as a crime of genocide in accordance with the international laws:

1. The «Prevention and punishment of genocide crimes» Convention adopted by the UN General Assembly's Resolution No.260 A (III) of December 9th, 1948.

2. The Nurnberg Military Tribunal's Regulation (although the Regulation does not contain a direct reference to a crime of genocide, it does construe actions constituting a genocide as crimes against humanity and military crimes).

3. The International Criminal Tribunal's Yugoslavia Regulations (article 4).

4. The International Criminal Tribunal's Rwanda Regulation (article 1).

5. The International Criminal Court's status (article 6).

6. Criminal Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan (article 103).

7. Presidential Decree of the Republic of Azerbaijan «On genocide of the Azerbaijanis», of March 26th, 1998.


International law has identified the following with respect to the crime of genocide:

1. Capture and punishment of genocide perpertrators is inevitable.

2. Corpus delicti does not only entail commission of an act of genocide, but also an attempt to commit a genocide, direct and open instigation of genocide, attempted genocide and involvement in genocide.

3. Principles of universal jurisdiction should apply to perpetrators of genocide.

4. References to following orders when committing a crime of genocide does not release from responsibility.

5. Leaders are responsible for failing to take measures to prevent a crime of genocide.

6. There is no statute of limitations for crimes of genocide.

7. Retrospective application of laws with respect to crimes of genocide is permitted.

8. The perpetrators of a crime of genocide must be extradited to the requesting country for criminal prosecution.

Thus, the acts committed by Armenians against the population of the town of Khojaly, the ethnic Azerbaijanis, are recognized as genocide under international law, and constitute a transgression against the humanity in accordance with the principles of international law.


The document titled «The Khojaly tragedy, as an international crime, is part of the Republic of Armenia's deliberate policy against the Azerbaijani nation», adopted by the Expert Council of the Human Rights Institute of the National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan, was presented to the Parliament of the Republic of Azerbaijan, parliaments of Turkey, Georgia, Russia and other states, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, European Council's Parliament Assembly, European Council's Chief Human Rights Directorate, OSCE's Parliament Assembly, OSCE's Democratic Institutions and Human Rights Office,  as well as national and international human rights organizations, and Azerbaijani diaspora centers in foreign countries.

* * *

More than one million people who were victimized by Armenia's occupation policy are living in hard circumstances - they found shelter in tent camps, pre-fabricated houses, cargo railway cars and other places unfit for living.

Armenia has consistently ignored the UN Security Council's resolution No.822 adopted in April 1993, No.853 adopted in July, No.874 adopted in October and No.884 adopted in November, in connection with the Armenian army's occupation of Azerbaijani territories, thereby disrespecting and disregarding the international community's involvement.

The consistent, principal and categoric policy line pursued by the Republic of Azerbaijan with an aim to solving the Garabagh problem, and the country's constructive position are well known globally. The main directions of the peaceful and negotiation-based resolution of the problem were approved and supported by 53 countries of the world at the OSCE Lisbon Summit in December 1996.

We all are inhabitants of one planet and we should stand united and unwavering against anyone who threatens our common home with death and bloodshed. We firmly believe that for the nations of the world who have now stepped into the 21st century, for justice to prevail, for the triumph of human values the world's countries, parliaments, international organizations will support the restoration of justice.  Advocating a peaceful and negotiation-based resolution to the Garabagh problem, we once again state our firm belief that joint efforts of the world's countries, parliaments, international organizations will help restore the Republic of Azerbaijan's territorial integrity, and refugees and internally displaced persons will return to their homes.

Research Institute for Human Rights



Washington Post, February 28th, 1992


Thomas GOLTS, Agdam, Azerbaijan, February 27th

Attendants of the main mosque of this town located in the east of the war-gripped Nagorno Garabagh enclave say that today they buried 17 people brought over from an Azerbaijani town located in the enclave that was taken over by the Armenians on Tuesday. Refugees from the town of Khojaly, north-west of the enclave's capital, Stepanakert, with some 6000 residents, claim that 500 people were killed, including women and children, during the assault. Director of the Agdam mosque, Said Sadigov says that refugees from Khojaly have brought 477 corpses to his mosque since Tuesday.

Baku officials claim 100 people were killed in Khojaly, while Armenian officials, from their capital, Irevan, claim that only 2 Azerbaijanis were killed. A Baku official says that his government is anxious that when the real death toll becomes known the a surge of wrath would grip the nation.

Of the 7 dead bodies we saw here today two were children, and three women. Another 120 refugees treated at the Agdam hospital suffer from bad wounds.

Raziya Aslanova fled to Agdam on Wednesday night. She says that the Armenians who had invaded Khojaly on Tuesday night shot ceaselessly. Her husband and son-in-law were killed, her daughter went missing.

There were two Turkmen soldiers who served in the formed Soviet Interior Troops among the refugees who fled here from Nagorno Garabagh. They deserted their military base last Friday and found shelter in Khojaly. The soldiers stated that the Armenian sergeants would beath them up for just «being Muslims».

The deserters claimed that their former military base, the 366th regiment, supported the Armenian military who invaded Khojaly. They also said that they helped women and children escape. One of the soldiers, Agamehmet Mutif said: «We were leading a group of people through a passage in the mountains. Armenians saw us and opened fire. Twelve people were killed».

Independent, February 27th, 1992

Helen Womac

A Reuters correspondent in Agdam, Elif Kaban, reports that after the Tuesday massacre Azerbaijanis bury tens of people who were killed during the Armenian assault on the region's second largest residential center, Khojaly. One of the persons at the burial yelled at the journalists: «The world ignores what's happening here. We're dying and you just sit there watching».

Sunday Times, March 1st, 1992



Thomas GOLTS, Agdam, Azerbaijan

According to the survivors, Armenian soldiers shot and knived over 450 Azerbaijanis, mostly women and children. Hundreds, perhaps even thousands of people went missing and got killed.

The assailants killed the soldiers and volunteers who defended women and children. Then they started shooting at the trembling refugees. Some of the survivors described the events like this: «And it was then that the real massacre started. The Armenians didn't stop shooting. And then they moved in, slashing and slicing everyone with knives and bayonets». These are the words of one of the three surviving soldiers, Azer Hajiyev.

Raziya Aslanova came to Agdam with other women and children, through Armenian forests. She said that Armenians shot non-stop, her husband and son-in-law were killed right before her eyes. Her daughter is still missing.

One of the boys who came to Agdam lost one of his ears.

According to the survivors another 2000 people who fled separately has not been found yet: it could well be that most of them died of cold or wounds and injuries.

Last night 479 dead bodies were brought to the Agdam morgue, and 29 people were buried at the cemetery. Of the seven dead bodies I saw that were still not buried, 2 were children and 3 women. The chest of one of them was completely devastated by a bullet.

The Agdam hospital turned into an arena of blood and terror. Doctors said that 140 patients who escaped the massacre suffer from deep bullet wounds.

But they were not safe in Agdam either. On Friday night, the town of some 150 thousand people were hit by missile strikes. A few buildings were destroyed, and one person was killed.

Times, March 2nd, 1992



Anatol Liven was shot at as he was gathering information about the massacre committed by the Armenian troops.

We saw dead bodies scattered all over the place as we descended the snow-covered mountains of Nagorno Garabagh. It would seem the people were shot at as they were trying to escape. After this incident, the journalists viewed a film shot by an Azeri cameraman. The frames showed dozens of dead bodies scattered all over the mountains we passed through.

The Azerbaijanis claim that at least 1000 people were killed in the mass-scale slaughtering of Azerbaijanis who fled from Khojaly occupied by the Armenians last week. Another 4000 were wounded, froze to death or went missing.

A civilian helicopter was supposed to land on the mountains and pick up dead bodies from the places of massacre. The helicopter only picked up 4 bodies. The film shot by the Azeri cameraman at that very time showed dozens of dead bodies in those places.

As it returned to Agdam, we looked at the bodies picked up by the helicopter. There were two elderly men and a little girl, all covered in blood, with hands and feet frozen.

Washington Post, March 2nd, 1992


Of the 10 000 residents of Khojaly, around a thousand were killed during an assault of Armenian troops on Tuesday. The Azerbaijani TV station showed evacuation of dead bodies from the Khojaly area in lorry trucks.

New York Times, March 3rd, 1992



Agdam, Azerbaijan, March 2nd (Reuters) - Another evidence was obtained today of the genocide committed by the Armenian military against the civilians in the Azerbaijani province of the Armenian majority Nagorno Garabagh.

Azerbaijani journalists and officials who flew on a helicopter to the region brought back the dead bodies of three children. The backs of their heads were completely crushed. They said that the Armenians started shooting at them, thus preventing them from picking up more dead.

People were scalped

Mr. Asad Farajov, assistant to the Azerbaijani governor of Nagorno Garabagh, said: «Women and children were scalped. As we started picking up the corpses they started shooting at us».

Corpses transported by lorry trucks

A Reuters photographer, Frederic Lengan said that he had seen dead Azerbaijanis being piled up in two lorry trucks nearby Agdam: «The first time I counted 35 corpses, and I believe that the second truck took just as many dead bodies. Some were beheaded, most were burned. All of them were men, and some had on military-colored uniforms».

Times, March 3rd, 1992



Anatol LIVEN

There were more than 60 dead bodies scattered all over the Nagorno Garabagh hills, including women and children, which clearly evidences the Armenians' massacre of the Azerbaijani escapees. Hundreds went missing, hills and ravines were full of dead people killed in the massacre committed by the Armenian troops against Azerbaijani refugees last Tuesday.

There were 31 corpses here. At least another 31 corpse were taken to Agdam within 5 days. These numbers do not include the peaceful residents killed by the Armenians as they destroyed the Azerbaijani town of Khojaly on Tuesday. Unfound corpses are not included either.

A survivor of the massacre, Zahid Jabbarov narrates: «200 people were killed where we stayed». Refugees coming from different directions also said that they had been caught up in a hailstorm of gunfire and that many people had been killed all along the way. There were various items, clothes and personal documents scattered all around the corpses. The dead bodies froze in the severe cold, and also people who were hiding in the hills and forests after the massacre died of frostbite, too. They were all poorly dressed, common, regular people.

Of the 31 corpse we saw only 3 had a uniform on, with one being a police officer, and the other two national militia volunteers. The rest were civilians (8 women and 3 children). Two families were killed entirely, with women carrying children on their hands.

Some of them had terrible head wounds: a little girl was so severely deformed that her face was the only part of her body that wasn't mutilated. Survivors said that the Armenians fired ceaselessly as they lay on the ground.

BBC Morning News, 07.37, Tuesday, March 3rd, 1992

A BBC correspondent reported live that he saw more than 100 Azerbaijani men, women, children, even babies killed at a very close range, with head shots.

BBC1 Morning News, 08.12, Tuesday, March 3rd, 1992

A photograph taken at the incident scene evidences collection of numerous dead bodies. A correspondent reports that the cameraman and Western journalists saw over a hundred dead men, women and children slaughtered by the Armenians. They were killed with shots to their heads from under a 1 meter range. The photograph also shows 10 people, mostly women and children, killed with head shots. Azerbaijan claims that the Armenian troops killed more than a thousand civilians.

Washington Times, March 3rd, 1992



Bryan KILLEN, Agdam, Azerbaijan

Dozens of dead bodies are scattered all over the place in Nagorno Garabagh, which is evidence of the most horrifying massacre ever to be committed during the 4 years of fighting over this disputed piece of land.

Azerbaijani officials who recently returned from the region brought back 3 children's corpses, with the backs of their heads completely crushed.

There was another 6 dead bodies at the local mosque, with frost-bitten hands and feet, and faces blackened by frost-bite, too.

A woman, angrily knocking on her dead father's chest, yelled «Telman!» The dead man lay on his back, with his right arm extended into the air, frozen.

People who went on a short helicopter trip to Khojaly, a town that was occupied by the Armenians last week, said that they also had witnessed a similar scene, only much bigger. A Russian journalist said that he counted 30 corpses from a 50 meter altitude.

The Armenians deny mass-murdering Azerbaijanis after Nagorno Garabagh's second-largest Azerbaijani town of Khojaly was occupied by the Armenian military armed to the teeth last Tuesday. Azerbaijan claims 1000 dead.

Mr. Asad Farajov, assistant to Nagorno Garabagh's Azerbaijani governor, said that women and children were scalped alive.

Mr. Farajov said that the helicopter that landed at the spot marked by the International Red Cross Committee, being escorted by MI-24 helicopters, had only enough time to pick up 3 dead children before the Armenian military opened fire. He said that they started shooting at them as soon as they started picking up the dead bodies.

Mr. Farajov said that they only stayed there for 15 minutes. He pointed to the hand-grenade in his coat's pocket and said: «The military helicopters alerted us to the Armenians approaching by firing red flares. We had to move out. I was prepared to blow up myself if they captivated us».

A Reuters photographer, Frederic Lengan said that he had seen dead Azerbaijanis being piled up in two lorry trucks nearby Agdam: «The first time I counted 35 corpses, and I believe that the second truck took just as many dead bodies. Some were beheaded, most were burned. All of them were men, and some had on military-colored uniforms».

The Agdam mosque was full of dead bodies. People screamed insults and profanities at the President of Azerbaijan Ayaz Mutallibov, saying that he simply didn't do enough to protect the Azerbaijani population of Garabagh.

Outside, hundreds of people were offering up Muslim prayers. Some fainted and fell on their killed relatives (who had just been brought over).

A terrifying film that shows dozens of dead bodies scattered over snow-covered hills testifies to the statements of the surviving refugees about the massacre of women and children.

The Azerbaijani TV station showed a lorry truckful of dead bodies coming to the Azerbaijani town of Agdam. Faces of the most of them were slashed, eyes plucked out. A little girl's arms froze mid-air, as if she was begging for help.

A military commander from Agdam, Rashid Mammadov, remembers what the Nazis did during the World War II: «Dead bodies were piled up like a herd of sheep. Even the Nazis didn't do anything like that».

Governor of Garabagh Musa Mammadov rang the Soviet military base in Azerbaijan's second-largest city, Ganja, asking for help: «Please help us transport the corpses and explain to people what actually happened».

The pilot of the helicopter that picked up the cameraman and Western journalists from the region said that he had seen dozens of dead bodies in Khojaly and Asgeran.

New York Times, March 3rd, 1992



Agdam, Azerbaijan, March 2nd (Reuters)

The last of the Soviet troops are leaving Nagorno Garabagh today.

The Itar-Tass News Agency reports that the 366th Motorized Regiment is withdrawing from the area, which, in essence, means that the buffer between the two beligerent ethnic groups, Armenians and Azerbaijanis, will be gone.

Neither party made an attempt to intervene.

Nagorno Garabagh is part of the Republic of Azerbaijan, while Armenians constitute the majority of its population.

Bombing the town

An Azerbaijani news agency, AZERINFORM reported that Nagorno Garabagh's Azerbaijani town of Shusha was hit by a missile strike on Sunday, launched by the Armenians. Several people were wounded during another assault on the village of Venjeli.

The Republic of Armenia denies that their troops slaughtered 1000 people in the Azerbaijani town of Khojaly, and followed that up with a massacre of men, women and children who tried to escape the slaughter through snow-covered mountains.

However, dozens of dead bodies in this area does give Azerbaijan sufficient grounds to claim that this genocide was in fact committed.

Azerbaijani journalists and officials who flew on a helicopter to the region brought back the dead bodies of three children. The backs of their heads were completely crushed. They said that the Armenians started shooting at them, thus preventing them from picking up more dead.

Mr. Asad Farajov, assistant to the Azerbaijani governor of Nagorno Garabagh, said: «Women and children were scalped. As we started picking up the corpses they started shooting at us».

A military commander from Agdam, Rashid Mammadov, remembers what the Nazis did during the World War II: «Dead bodies were piled up like a herd of sheep. Even the Nazis didn't do anything like that».

Two lorry truck were filled up with dead bodies

A Reuters photographer, Frederic Lengan said that he had seen dead Azerbaijanis being piled up in two lorry trucks nearby Agdam: «The first time I counted 35 corpses, and I believe that the second truck took just as many dead bodies. Some were beheaded, most were burned. All of them were men, and some had on military-colored uniforms».

Ethnic violence and economic crisis could lead to the fragmentation of the Commonwealth of Independent States established by 11 former Soviet Union countries. Member states of the Commonwealth could not do anything about the long-lasting ethnic collision and hatred between the Christian Armenians and Muslim Azerbaijanis.

1500-2000 people were killed in the 4 year war over Nagorno Garabagh. The battle that took place last week was especially gruesome.

The 366th regiment located in the town of Stepanakert, the central town of Nagorno Garabagh, was at the forefront of the skirmish, with 3 of its soldiers killed in the battle. President of Armenia Levon Ter-Petrosyan, in his address at the parliament in the nation's capital city, Yerevan criticized the withdrawal of the last of the Commonwealth's troops from the enclave. He claimed that the regiment had not been involved in the warfare, but was only there to stabilize the situation.

Boston Globe, March 3rd, 1992

Paul Quinn-Judge, Baku, Azerbaijan

Yesterday Azerbaijan accused the Armenian military of displacing men, women and children from a Nagorno Garabagh town, and slaughtering them.

Azerbaijani officials claim that 1000 Azerbaijanis were killed in the town of Khojaly, and men, women and children who tried to escape through the snow-covered mountains were slaughtered by the Armenian military.

Armenian officials deny that.

Journalists on site have a hard time trying to identify the exact number of people killed. Only a Reuters photographer said that two lorry trucks were filled up with dead Azerbaijanis. A Russian journalist reports massacres in virtually every single locality of the region.

Reuters reports that Azerbaijani officials and journalists who travelled to the region on a helicopter found 3 dead children with their heads crushed. Armenians opening fire at them kept them from picking up other corpses.

Evidence of numerous murders of peaceful residents of Khojaly during the assault is mounting.

On Sunday, the Azerbaijani TV station showed 10 corpses, including women and children, at the Agdam morgue. An editor at the main TV station of Baku said that 180 dead bodies had been found to the date. A helicopter flying around the area saw multiple corpses. BBC reported that a French photographer counted 31 corpses. He said that these people, including women and children had been killed with head shots at a very close range.

The head of Khojaly's executive power, Elman Mammadov stated at a press-conference held in Baku that 1000 people were killed in the assault, over 200 people went missing, 300 people were captivated, 200 people wounded. Mammadov accused the 366th regiment of leading the charge and opening the way for the Armenian bandits.

Age, Melbourne, March 6th, 1992

Helen WOMAC, Agdam, Azerbaijan, Tuesday

Although the exact number of the victims has not been identified yet, the Armenian troops are presumed to have committed an act of genocide against peaceful Azerbaijani residents in the snow-covered mountains of Nagorno Garabagh.

Refugees from the town of Khojaly, bordering with another Azerbaijani town of the enclave, Agdam, state numerous facts that support the Armenians' assault on their homes on the night of the 25th of February. They say that the Armenians forced them to flee, shooting them in the adjacent forests. Yesterday I saw 75 freshly dug out graves at one of the local cemeteries. A day before that we saw 4 corpses, slashed and pierced in and out, at an Agdam mosque. We also saw women and children with bullet wounds at temporary hospitals stationed in railway cars.

The Azerbaijani town of Khojaly, mostly inhabited by Azerbaijanis, has a population of about 6000 people. The Agdam police chief Rashid Mammadov said that only 500 people made it to Agdam. «So where's the rest?» asks Mr. Mammadov, and goes on to assume that they have probably been captivated or fled. Many are still in the mountains, unreachable, because there are no helicopters. Some have probably frozen to death, at 10 degrees below zero.

When they saw the heavily armed Armenians the Azerbaijanis quickly realized that they stood no chance and ran for the forest. A massacre began a few hours later. Mr. Nasir presumes that his wife and two children have been captivated. Like the other refugees, he also claims that the former Soviet troops helped the Armenians in assaulting Khojaly: «It's not just an opinion of mine, it's what I saw with my own eyes».

New York Times, March 6th, 1992



«As the victims of the genocide committed by the Armenians in Nagorno Garabagh are being buried in the cemetery in the Azerbaijani town of Agdam, their family members and friends cannot hold back their grief»

Chingiz Isgandarov embraced the coffin with his brother's body. A copy of the Koran is placed on the body.

Washington Post, March 6th, 1992



«As the victims of the genocide committed by the Armenians in Nagorno Garabagh are being buried in the Azerbaijani cemetery, their family members and friends cannot hold back their grief. Chingiz Isgandarov embraced his brother's coffin, weeping»

Sunday Times, March 8th, 1992

Thomas Golts was the first one to report the genocide committed by the Armenian soldiers from Agdam.

Khojaly was a bleak Azerbaijani town. The stores are empty, the roads are dirty. No trees or bushes. Yet it was a time when thousands of Azerbaijanis lived happily here. Last week the town was wiped off the face of the earth. As the Agdam morgues are being filled up with corpses, Khojaly and its surroundings are believed to have become the scene of one of the most terrifying massacres to take place since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

I was the last foreigner to travel to Khojaly. It was in January. Mother of four, Zumrud, was on board the helicopter that took us to the town. She said that the people are just sitting there, waiting to die. She and her family members were among the victims of the massacre committed by the Armenians on the 26th of February.

Father of five, the 55 year old Balakishi Sadigov said: «Armenians took over each and every remote village, and the government didn't do anything about it». His wife Dilbar said that they will now either drive us away from here or will kill us. Their three sons and two daughters were killed in the massacre.

«We were very close to the Armenian posts, but we had to pass through there. Bullets were flying everywhere, much like a rain. We were just caught up in a trap». Azerbaijanis were killed off one by one. According to survivors, the Armenians would just shoot at any moving object if they didn't have clear visibility. An Azeri cameraman wept as he filmed a corpse. One of the frames he shot showed a grove where Azerbaijanis hid when escaping the Armenians. Dead bodies formed a pile here. Omar Veysalov, a survivor brought to the Agdam hospital, said: «The Armenians fired non-stop. My wife and daughter were killed right in front of me».

People wandering the hallways of the hospital seek for any piece of information or clues about the whereabouts of their close ones. Some channel their anger at the foreigners. A mother was heard screaming: «Where is my daughter, where's my son? Violated. Killed. Lost»

Monde, Paris, March 14th, 1992

A foreign journalist stationed in Agdam saw scalped women and children among the people killed. Their fingernails were torn out. He wrote that it was not «Azerbaijani propaganda», it was a reality.

Newsweek, March 16th, 1992



Pascal Priva and Steve Le Vin, Moscow

Last week Azerbaijan once again turned into a graveyard: mourning refugees and dozens of corpses formed a temporary mortuary behind a mosque. They were ordinary Azerbaijani men, women and children from Khojaly that was razed to the ground by the Armenians on February 25th and 26th. Most of them were killed at close range as they tried to escape, faces of some were crushed, some were scalped.

Time, March 16th, 1992





Regardless of the disputes and arguments, one thing is clear: two weeks ago the Azerbaijani town of Khojaly was subjected to an act of inhumane cruelty and atrocity. To the date 200 Azerbaijanis have been reported killed, many were desecrated, brought over to the neighbour region from the Armenian-majority Nagorno Garabagh for burial. Azerbaijanis claim that 1324 civilians were killed. There is no information available on most of them - women and children...

Svoboda, June 12th, 1992


A report by the Moscow-based 'Memorial' human rights group, of mass-scale human rights violations during the invasion of Khojaly by Armenian troops on the night of February 25th to February 26th, 1992

The report says about the peaceful population's run from the town: «The refugees got into an ambush set up by the Armenians and were shot at. Some made it to Agdam, while the others, mostly women and children (exact number unknown) got lost in the mountains and froze to death. According to those who made it to Agdam, some were captivated near the villages of Pirjamal and Nakhchivank. According to the already traded Khojaly captives, some of the captives were killed... Approximately 200 corpses were brought to Agdam within 4 days. Doctors from the Agdam railway car hospital said that 4 dead bodies were scalped, one corpse was beheaded. 181 corpse (130 men, 51 women, 13 children) were examined in Agdam, and the examination discovered that 151 persons were died of bullet wounds, 20 people were killed by shrapnel wounds and 10 were killed by blunt force trauma. Documents of all wounded brought from Khojaly to the Agdam railway car-housed hospital indicate that 597 people were wounded or frost-bitten, one person was scalped alive.

Independent, London, June 12th, 1992

Frederic LENGAN, Reuters

Arif Sadigov quietly sat down in the shade in one of the Caspian seaside cafes in Baku, and showed his trousers that were torn by an Armenian bullet exactly 3 months ago, as he fled from Khojaly.

The 51 year old man says: «I'm still wearing these clothes as I have no other clothes to wear. I was wounded 5 times, but I got lucky and I survived».

Mr. Sadigov and his wife had to endure hunger and power shut-down for more than a month.

Mr. Sadigov said: «The bombing started at about 11PM that night. We had never heard anything like that before. There 8 or 9 types of weaponry, artillery, heavy machine guns were used».

Soon the neighbours were all out on the streets. Some hid, others ran for the forest through the snow.

To escape the massacre the town's people had to make it to the Azerbaijani town of Agdam, some 15 miles away. As they made it midway between the two Azerbaijani villages of Nakhchivanik and Sederek at daybreak they thought they could make it to Agdam, too.

Mr. Sadigov said: «Up until then none of my group had been harmed... then a car spotted us on the road and the Armenians opened fire. Of the 80 people in our group only ten people survived. I lost 7 close relatives, including my 67 years old elder brother. I only managed to cover my brother's eyes with his hat, and we never recovered any of those corpses».

Mr. Sadigov said that some of the refugees in the first group got lucky. One of the heroes of the evacuation, Arif Hajiyev, was killed with a bullet to the head as he was replacing the clip in his submachine gun to help a third group to escape. Another hero, the mayor of Khojaly, Elman Mammadov said that he spent the 26th of February with some other people in bushy hills covered with dead bodies.

Mr. Sadigov said: «A day after we reached the town the Armenians launched a massive missile strike. I had to go to the hospital for treatment, I was in a pretty bad shape. They even found a bullet in my shoe».

Massacre victims: An Azeri woman mourns her son killed in the Khojaly massacre of February. Nurses at the railway car-housed hospital use some primitive tools and methods to save a wounded man. In Agdam, people cried upon their relatives' coffins. It is impossible to tell exactly how many people were killed. Because Muslims bury their dead within 24 hours.

Independent, London, June 12th, 1992



Approximately 600 men, women and children were murdered in the February massacre committed in the Azerbaijani town of Khojaly.

State prosecutor Aydin Rasulov leads a 15 men strong investigative unit. This unit is tasked with investigating the events they refer to as the Khojaly Massacre. Mr. Rasulov says that the 600 people are the corpses found during the preliminary search. The mayor of Khojaly Elman Mammadov also stated a similar number. The May issue of the Baku-published «Ordu» (Army) newspaper reported an even bigger number - 479 people were identified, while over 200 people remain unknown. Leyla Yunisova, the press service manager of Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry, stated that 700 people were killed.

Mr. Francois Zen Rufinin, head of the Baku mission of the International Red Cross Committee said that according to what the Muslim Imam of Agdam had told him, 580 corpses were brought from Khojaly to his mosque, most of which were civilians. Mr. Zen Rufinin said that they didn't count the corpses, but the number sounds credible. Because they distributed appliances for ablution of corpses.

The 43 year old lawyer Mr. Rasulov said that it would take several months to come at the final number.

Mr. Rasulov knows what he's talking about. After years of investigation, he stated a precise number of people killed and wounded in the massacre committed by the Soviet troops in Baku in January 1990: 131 people killed and 714 people wounded. A justice department employee, Rafig Yusifov said that the Justice Department of Azerbaijan had examined 184 people to the date, who were registered as deceased. Mr. Yusifov said that this number only relates to a small portion of the people actually killed. We received only the corpses. And we need to consider the chaos at that time, and should also remember that we are Muslims. Per our customs, the dead are abluted and buried within 24 hours.

Professor Yusifov said that of the 184 dead 51 were women, and 13 were children under 14 years of age. Cause of death of 151 people were bullet wounds, COD of 20 people were shrapnel wounds, and COD of another 10 people was blunt force trauma. The last three people were killed in an avalanche. 33 people's ears, noses, breasts, sex organs were cut off, their eyes were plucked out. Mr. Rasulov said that the 184 corpses they examined account only for even less than one third of the total death toll.

A document ascertained by a helicopter pilot stated that as there were too many dead bodies and wounded people on the ground, it was impossible to count them. There were 470-500 of them in Khojaly, 650-700 on the roads, 85-100 near the village of Nakhchivanik.

«People would raise their hands, asking us for help. We saw three dead children and a live two year old. His mother was dead. The child held on to the mother's arm, shaking it, trying to wake her up. We tried to land but the Armenians started bombing, and it made us turn back».

Kommersant, Moscow, February 27th, 2002

On the night of February 25th to 26th, 1992, the Azerbaijani town of Khojaly in Nagorno Garabagh was assaulted by the Armenians. The Russian 366th motorized regiment was involved in the assault. As a result, 613 people were killed, 487 people wounded, 1275 people were captivated, and 150 people went missing. The Khojaly events dramatically changed the character and nature of the conflict.

Human Rights Watch

Helsinki, December 1994



A report issued by the Helsinki office of the Human Rights Watch says: «The ethnic Armenians, with the support of the Russian army's 366th regiment, massacred hundreds of peaceful Azerbaijanis in Khojaly»