Khojaly – A Human Tragedy Against Azerbaijan

By    Prof. Dumitru Balan Chairman of Romania – Azerbaijan Friendship Association

Human history has witnessed dreadful crimes against innocent civilians after 1900’s. While massive and deliberate killing of Jews by Nazi German with the aim to exterminate them in World War II and mass murder of civilians of Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica in 1995 which was described as worst crime on European soil since the Second World War has been severely condemned by international community as a genocide, the world has turned blind eye to the carnage of Armenian armed forces in Khojali, the Azerbaijan town which is under occupation of Armenia.
20 year ago in February 26, 1992 the Armenian armed forces with the help of the 366th motorized infantry brigade of the Russian Interior Ministry occupied Khojali. Khojali is a a small town in Nagorno-Karabakh which is under occupation of Armenia with 7 surrounding regions for almost 20 years together. As a result of brutal annihilation of hundreds of innocent inhabitants of the town 613 innocent Azerbaijanis, including 106 women and 83 children were viciously massacred by Armenian forces. 25 children were orphaned and 130 lost one parent. 8 families were totally exterminated while 476 civilians were permanently disabled. 1275 people were taken hostages.
Brutality of this mass killing accompanied by mutilation of bodies put it in one line with the most horrifying tragedies of the XX century. However, despite the fact that human tragedy in Khojali was well documented by international media and by respected international human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch, world decision-makers have fallen short from properly recognizing this horrific crime. Quite the reverse, being misled by wily Armenian diaspora’s deceptive attempts some countries especially in Europe recognize the clashes in Ottoman Turkey as so-called “genocide”, through which politicians and leaders in respective countries seek dividends while deliberately turning blind eye to realities and truth that can be unveiled by historians. Armenians who want to push the so-called “genocide” allegations to political platforms of different countries are yet far from the courage to let the historical truths be discussed. Today, the Armenian state mostly supported by its diaspora cannot camouflage the carnage committed against innocent civilians in Khojali since the chief-perpetrators have constantly, “proudly”, blatantly and publicly confessed their atrocities on different occasions.
The chief-perpetrator of Khojali genocide currently enjoying shelter provided by Armenian government though under search of INTERPOL, Zori Balayan narrates the vandalism of his soldiers in his book “Revival of our Spirit” issued in 1996 page 260-262: “While we entered the house which we seized (in Khojali-ed.), our soldiers have nailed the Turkish (Armenians regard Azerbaijanis and Turkish the same as they originate from common ethnic root – ed.) child on to the window. The soldiers cut off the boobs of the child’s mother and plunged them on his mouth to soothe him a bit. Then he ripped the skin from his head, bosom and stomach. I looked at my watch and after seven minutes the Turkish child fainted and died. My spirit was feeling pride as it revenged 1% of my people. Then Khachatur chopped the corpse into pieces and did the same for another 3 Turkish children. As an Armenian patriot I fulfilled my duty”. While pronouncing the words of Zori Balayan one cannot find an explanation to the question how the spirit can revive itself by turning to beast.
The descriptions of bloody acts of Armenian soldiers do not confine to Zori Balayan’s confessions. The story of Daud Kheyriyan who was also involved in those brutalities is not less modest at all. In his book “For the sake of Cross…” at pages 24, 62 and 63 published by “Ash-Sharg” (East) agency in Beirut he states the followings: “Sometimes we happened to march on dead bodies. In order to cross a swamp near Dashbulag (the name of the occupied territory in Azerbaijan), we have paved a road composed of dead bodies. I refused to march on dead bodies. Then colonel Oganyan ordered me not to scare. It is one of military laws. I have pressed my one foot onto the breast of a wounded girl aged 9 or 10 years and marched… My legs, my photo camera were in blood…”. Then he proceeds that “… the Armenian group “Gaflan” (dealing with burning of dead bodies) have collected 100 dead bodies of Turks (Azerbaijani) and burned them in a place located one kilometer from Khojaly to the West on March 2… I saw girl aged 10 and wounded in hands and in head lying in last truck. Her face was already of a blue color. But she was still alive despite of hunger, coldness and wounds. She had a little breath. I cannot forget her eyes striving with death… Suddenly a soldier called Tigranyan took that body and threwn it on other dead bodies… Then they have burned dead bodies. It seemed to me that someone was crying in fire between dead bodies… After all I could not go further. But I wanted to see Shusha (occupied city of Azerbaijan)… I returned. And they continued their battles for the sake of Cross….”
Reader of the story cannot miss the rationale behind tortures and violence of Armenian soldiers as asserted by Daud Kheyriyan. For centuries all heavenly religions explicitly forbade murdering innocent people. Jesus Christ has preached his followers tolerance and even going far prevented any sort of hostility and revenge mentioning that “…But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. Islam’s preaching does not lag behind at all from what Christianity implies. Murdering an innocent person is taken equivalent to killing all mankind according to Islam.
A British journalist, writer and expert on Caucasus Thomas de Waal in his book “Black Garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan through peace and war” (New York University Press, 2003, pp. 169-172) recalls the confessions of current president of Armenia, Serzh Sargsian about Khojali stating that “Before Khojali, the Azerbaijanis thought that they were joking with us, they thought that the Armenians were people who could not raise their hand against the civilian population. We were able to break that [stereotype].”
Justice must prevail. International community must condemn atrocities against civilian Azerbaijanis as firm and severely as it should. Because the dead cannot cry out for justice; it is a duty of the living to do so for them.

Nine O’clock does not assume its responsibility for the content of this article.


  1. ararat says:

    Professor Dumitru Balan and the truth about the Khojaly tragedy.

    On February 26, the newspaper Nine Oclock has published a paid article under the sign A (advertisement) ,,Khojaly – A Human Tragedy Against Azerbaijan” signed by Prof. Dumitru Balan, Chairman of Romania – Azerbaijan Friendship Association. It is hard to believe, that Prof. Balan, being a professional in the field of history, literature and translation, can sign under propaganda sheets full of naked lies and allegations against Armenian people. Taking into account the professor’s experience in the academic field, one should expect from him an impartial examination of situation and facts all around. Meanwhile, accusing Armenian armed forces for ,,brutal annihilation of hundreds of innocent inhabitants of the Azerbaijani town” during the war in Nagorno-Karabakh, Prof. Balan quotes couple of sources which do not exist, books and pages that never belonged either to the mentioned authors, or to the publishers. In the story about Zori Balayan, introduced in the article as ,,the chief-perpetrator of Khojali genocide”, a man being under search of INTERPOL, having described the vandalism of his soldiers in his book “Revival of our Spirit”- the only true information is the name of the person. In reality, Zori Balayan is an Armenian writer and publicist, who hasn’t written any book called “Revival of our Spirit” and has repeatedly denied the existence of such a book and declaring it an azeri propaganda fabrication. Zori Balayan is also a famous traveler, who navigates for years through oceans and sees on Armenian sailing vessel Killikia, visiting the famous ports of the Europe and Americas. Question-where is INTERPOL? In the next quotation by Prof.Balan, describing somebody called ,,Daud Kheyriyan, involved in those brutalities latter recount in the book For the sake of Cross…” there is no a pearl of truth at all. It’s simply a fake profile, created by Azeri propaganda, somebody from the genre of fiction, which never existed.

    Professor’s unproved stance causes confusion. Either, Professor didn’t understand his mission in the capacity of the Chairman of Romania – Azerbaijan Friendship Association, being used in campaign against other country and nation, signing factless speculations, which inflame hatred and xenophobia, or his academic skills do not satisfy to the norms and criteria of the academic research. One of the arguments that the article is simply a propaganda tools on behalf of the azeri-turkish strategic partnership, is the fact that the ,,author’’ allegedly accusing Armenians in mass killings of Azeris/Turks, surprisingly turns to the denial of the fact of the Armenian Genocide perpetrated by Turks, questioning the first Genocide of the 20th century, which caused the death of 1,5 million Armenians. However, if the professor is driven by scientific objectivity and morality, he should avoid putting side-by-side Khojaly and the Armenian genocide. By the way, this is a ploy of Turks and Azeris, on one hand accusing the Armenians in Karabakh conflict, on the other – denying the reality of the Armenian Genocide.

    Meanwhile, there are hundreds of sources from both side, one could rely on, while examining the case of Khojaly. In fact, in 1992, Azerbaijan blockaded all routes to the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR). Since November 1991, the capital Stepanakert and adjacent Armenian communities had been under daily massive artillery fire. Lala-Shovket Gajiyeva, State Secretary of the Republic of Azerbaijan in an interview to the State Television 24, July 1994, states: “For more than 100 days we were shelling Stepanakert, but the Armenians did not abandon their homes”.

    Khojaly, the location of Nagorno-Karabakh’s sole airport, was one of six positions being used in the months-long offensive on Stepanakert. The only way of saving the inhabitants was to launch a military operation aimed at bringing an end to the siege and heavy artillery fire. The military operation to neutralize artillery positions in Khojaly was taken in keeping with the norms of international humanitarian law. Two months before the military action the Nagorno-Karabakh Defence Army used various channels to publicly announce to Khojaly’s civilian and military leaders the existence of a humanitarian corridor and a procedure for using it. Elman Mamedov, then Khojaly Town Mayor, nowadays member of the Azerbaijani parliament, was one that used this corridor with other inhabitants and succesfully fled to Baku. Days later he would state: “We knew that the corridor was intended for evacuating civilians” . Eynulla Fatullayev, Azeri Journalist confesses: “I have talked with hundreds of refugees who have assured me that the corridor existed and that their survival depended upon it.” On the other hand, the same azeri sources confess that being informed weeks ahead, they had all chances to leave, if not the “shield policy” of their own government,forcing them to stay and “cover” the Azeri soldiers and artillery with their bodies- something that fully contradicts with the international humanitarian law. This “shield policy” was mentioned by many survivors of that tragedy and Azeri politicians. Here are a few of them. Salman Abbasov, Khojaly resident: “A few days before the tragedy took place, the Armenians repeatedly warned by radio that they were going to advance on the town and urged us to leave… Furthermore, when it became possible to evacuate women, children and the elderly, they/Azeris/ dissuaded us from doing so”. Ramiz Fataliev, Chair of the Committee Investigating the Events of Khojaly: “Four days left until the events of Khojaly. On February 22, in the presence of the President, the Prime Minister, the Head of the KGB and others, a National Security Council session took place at which a decision was taken not to evacuate people from Khojaly.”

    For various reasons, some 734 residents of Khojaly did not leave the city. After Khojaly was captured, they were taken by the Armenian side to Stepanakert and on February 28 were unconditionally transferred to the Azeri side. The “Memorial”Human Rights Center Report states:“According to information received from both sides, on 28 March 1992 more than 700 Khojaly residents were handed over to the Azeri side. They had been captured in the town itself and along the road to Aghdam and were mostly women and children.”

    Next day, on February 29, Azerbaijani television broadcasted pictures of the bodies of the dead Khojaly residents 12 kilometres away from Khojaly, in the area near the town of Aghdam a town that was being controlled by Azerbaijani Army Units. Further pictures followed on March 2 — the same bodies, now degraded and disfigured. Ayaz Mutalibov, First President of the Republic of Azerbaijan: once confessed“…the corridor, by which people could escape, had nonetheless been left by the Armenians. So, why did they have to open fire? Especially in the area around Aghdam, where there was sufficient force at that time to get help to the people.”

    The combination of the abovementioned contradictory confessions and events created the real picture of the events around Khojaly. On one hand, some part of the Khojaly residents has successfully used the life-corridor provided by the Armenian side, days after which part of them has been found dead km’s away from their hometown, on the territories still being under control of Azerbaijani forces. On the other hand, part of the inhabitants were kept in Khojaly as a life-shield by Azeri soldiers and were forced to stay and “cover” the laters with their bodies, thus, some of them being killed by bombs and missiles during the counteroffensive attack. By the way, the same was meant by the current president, then-Defence Minister of Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan, in interview back 2000 with British journalist Thomas de Waal, while stating that it is impossibille for the missile to distinguish civilian targets from military, meaning that there could be losses among civilians who were forced to stay and “cover” the Azeri soldiers during the military operation for suppressing the artillery positions in Khojaly.

    Here, as well, Prof.Balan stanch to his tradition of delusion, cuts from the context and introduces one sentence from the interview as a ,,proof’’. By the way, the mentioned source (i.e.Black Garden) is wrong again.

    Azerbaijani authorities who are well aware of what happened in Khojaly in reality, manipulate with this tragedy for deepening the Armenophobia and inflaming hatred among young generation of Azeris, thus through that ,,preparing’’ them to a new war. Moreover, in other countries, Azeris ,,Caviar diplomacy” consistently seeks and finds some intellectuals, journalists, so called presidents of the friendship associations, and etc., and enrolls them in a disgusting xenophobic propaganda.

  2. Avo Monte says:

    Domnule Profesor..nici nu ne puteam astepta la altceva din partea dvs. Propaganda desantata si articol comandat. Sunt convins ca dvs. credeti in ceea ce ati scris asa cum cred eu in buna credinta a lui Ion Iliescu in iunie 1990. Sa fim seriosi. Din articol reiese clar ca va place caviarul, plimbareala pe la Baku si reminiscentele KGB-iste de care nu va puteti dezbara. Nici macar nu va spun sa va fie rusine, caci oricum nu va pasa..Mie cu atat mai putin si chiar va inteleg interesele definitiv trebuie sa va descurcati si dvs. cumva..banii nu au miros..sau la dvs. put a gaze petrol si sange si cadane..Halal sa va fie sangele armenilor !
    Ca o referinta..mai cititi si dvs. niste articole serioase..gen Le Monde !
    PS..Data viitoare incercati sa scrieti si la Romania ma indoiesc ca va vor baga in seama …Sunteti ridicol domnule Balan !

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