The Armenian side is obliged to tell at last the truth about Khojaly events
The myth about Khojaly is promoted by Azerbaijan at an unprecedented speed and with an unprecedented intensity. Countless websites, books and photo albums were created and published in Azerbaijan over the past years; accusations of "genocide" allegedly organized by the Armenians against the residents of that village are voiced at the most famous platforms. It is obvious that with such persistence Baku tries to hinder any unbiased view and any attempt to analyze the events that happened in the vicinity of Aghdam in late February of 1992.
The Armenian side is accused of, first, shooting civilians in Khojaly, and second, profaning and jeering at corpses. In this publication, we will address the issue of photo and video shots which are produced to the international community as evidence of Armenian "atrocities," as well as statistics. The Initiative for Prevention of Xenophobia NGO, established in Yerevan last year, analyzed materials of Azerbaijani sources and created a website where the results of that work are presented.
According to Armine Adibekyan, head of the NGO, the fact that civilians died is beyond doubt, but another thing is to reveal the true causes of those events. The Azerbaijani side's mass forgery aims to present the things in a way that allegedly the Armenians not only shot the civilian population of the village, but also profaned and jeered at corpses, raped them, and so on. Meanwhile, detailed and unbiased examination of materials shows that there are absolutely no reasons for such accusations.
"Our work is based on comparative analysis of the Azerbaijani side's main arguments: video shots made by cameraman Cingiz Mustafayev who died under unclarified circumstances. He twice took video of the scene and in his video shots there is striking difference in the condition of corpses on February 28 and March 2," Adibekyan says. "On the whole, the analysis of photo and video materials allows to speak about three main methods of forgery the Azerbaijani side resorts to so as to pass the desirable for reality: production shots, photos that have nothing to do with those events, and lastly, actions that are later attributed to the Armenian side."
Without disclosing all the details of the experts' work, which you can see on the website soon, we will only present some of the results of studies. Photos of corpses allegedly profaned by the Armenians are one of the main "fishes" of Azerbaijani websites.
Meanwhile, those photos are published twice on the Azerbaijani websites, and those taken on February 28 show no signs of profanation. To prove it, we present photos we considered possible to publish. These are two photos of the same man: in one of them, he has hair on his head, while on the other, he is "scalped." There are several photos of this kind. Thus, 7-year-old dead girl appears in three conditions in Azerbaijani sources: dressed and shod, next to other corpses; undressed below the belt, where she is presented as "raped;" and the same corpse is next to the corpse of another child in the morgue and decomposition of the bodies proves that these two children died in different times, with the difference being at least one month. Photos that have nothing to do with the Khojaly events are actively used on the Azerbaijani websites. For instance, refugee children from Khojaly in reality turned out to be Afghan refugees. The example when the photo of the victims of the 1995 events in Srebrenitsa is presented by the Azerbaijanis as one related to Khojaly is widely known.
According to Armine Adibekyan, the analysis of the lists of the dead gave rather interesting results. The main list is authored by
the not unknown Khavva Mammadova, who has written an extensive work titled "Khojaly. Shehids and Shahids. Armenian Terror as a Constituent of International Terrorism." Her list includes 611 names of the dead, presented in alphabetical order. To conceal juggling, the authors resorted to cunning. For instance, the first letter of repeated names is written in one case with the Latin letter and in another case in Cyrillic script. There are about 50 such cases. The list published on the website of the presidential library does not have such kicks, yet 508 names appear on the list. On the website of Azerbaijan's Embassy in China the list of 538 "Khojaly victims" includes absolutely different names which are not mentioned either in Mammadova's list or in the library list.
"Mammadova's list is composed in this way: civilians, children and heroes, i.e. those awarded posthumously. Thus, the same people are in the lists of both civilians and heroes. However, an armed person who himself killed the enemy does not fall under the definition of a civilian who died from the enemy's treachery. We numbered 72 such armed "civilians," Adibekyan says.
The Initiative for Prevention of Xenophobia NGO is going to apply to the NKR government, asking to give access to documents kept in the passport offices of the region. It is especially important as the Azerbaijani side began to juggle the number of victims straight after the tragedy. Back in the spring of 1992, Azerbaijani and Turkish media claimed that there were 6,500 people in Khojaly at that time, while diplomats, from various platforms, at random, "fired" numbers – 4,000 dead and 2,000 hostages. A tale about "1,000 people burnt in a piggery" was invented and spread widely.
In late April of 1993, at the conference of CSCE in Prague, Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry released document №249, titled "List of Azerbaijani-populated and Mixed Villages in the Upper Part of Karabakh Occupied by the Armenian Armed Forces." In the column "population" of Khojaly there was the number 855. In December 1993, the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister announced from the OSCE rostrum that the number of dead was 800. But in the late 90s, Baku's official organ announced an intention to apply to the International Court, and gave other numbers: 600 dead, 500 wounded and 1,275 captives.
However, independent sources and experts reported other numbers. Thus, Russian human rights organization Memorial put the number of dead at 181 in its report and Azerbaijani political scientist Arif Yunusov, in a remarkable article published in Zerkalo newspaper in June 1992, claimed that there were no more than 300 civilians in the village as most people managed to leave the village.
"I would like to call on our opponents: let us put politics aside and try to find out the truth. The Armenian side is very interested in unbiased investigation of those events and we are convinced that the Khojaly tragedy must be cleared from the monstrous pile of falsehood, forgery and juggling. Only then it would be possible to name and punish those guilty, irrespective of their nationality.
On the other hand, this is why so far the Azerbaijani side only threatens to go to the international court – they have nothing to produce in court. They have got entangled in their lies and cannot distinguish falsehood from the truth. And our organization is very interested in the Khojaly events' getting a fair legal and political assessment," Adibekyan says.
Indeed, trumpeting about "justice for Khojaly," neither Turkey nor Azerbaijan hurries to give a legal assessment to those events as "genocide." The Azerbaijani parliament carefully avoids a discussion of that issue and the discussions in the Turkish parliament, announced repeatedly and pompously, ended in nothing. There is no doubt that Azerbaijan will continue avoiding even the slightest attempt of a detailed consideration of the events of February 1992, even in its own country, as the obviously politicized version of Baku can break down at the first approach, even a superficial one.
Facts and evidence, numerous eyewitness testimonies and researchers' arguments, expert analysis of photo and video materials leave no doubt about the absolute groundlessness and defectiveness of the version actively disseminated by Baku. In the present-day totalitarian Azerbaijan, many know the truth about "khojaly," but it is unlikely that someone would dare to say it aloud. Also because of this, the Armenian side is obliged to tell, at last, the truth about the events that happened in the vicinity of Aghdam 18 years ago. The Armenian side must tell, first of all, that civilians were consciously sacrificed for Baku's political intrigues, second, the dead bodies were disfigured and profaned by the Azerbaijani side, which controlled those territories, with the subsequent political aim to accuse the Armenian side of "atrocities" and "genocide" towards the civilians in Khojaly.
Only the proved truth, said loudly, can put an end to the monstrous speculations on the human tragedy and once and for all restore real "justice for Khojaly."