The Truth about Khojalu Events
( Azeri Sources Testify)
An anti-Armenian campaign has been hysterically raging in Azerbaijan throughout the nine years following the Khojalu events the official Baku. The purpose of the campaign is to falsify the facts and bring discredit on Armenia in the eyes of the international community. The Khojalu events when peaceful people died were exclusively the result of the political intrigues and struggle for power in Azerbaijan. The real reasons lying behind these events are more convincingly reflected in the testimonies of the Azeris themselves, both the participants, eyewitnesses of the events and those who knew the ins and outs in Baku.
According to M. Safaroghli, an Azerbaijani journalist, "Khojalu was located in an important strategic position. Losing control over Khojalu would mean a political fiasco for Moutalibov". (Newspaper "Nezavisimaya Gazeta" ("Independent Newspaper", February, 1993).
Along with Shushi and Aghdam, Khojalu was one of the key bases from where Stepanakert, the capital of Nagorno Karabagh was continuously bombed during the winter months.
The population of NKR which was in the danger of the total physical extinction by Azerbaijan could survive only by neutralizing the weapon emplacements of Khojalu and de-blocking the airport. Hundreds of peaceful people were killed in Stepanakert as the result of the daily bombing from the adjacent Khojalu. The military operation of the armed forced of NKR on the neutralization of the weapon emplacements of Khojalu was not a surprise for Azerbaijan. For the first time the Azeri side was notified about the forthcoming attack by TV nearly two months prior to the operation. Arif Yunusov, a well-known champion of human rights in Azerbiajan wrote about that in "Izvestia". The officials in Baku did not try to hide their awareness, including Ayaz Moutalibov, the president of Azerbaijan. He emphasized that "… the offense on Khojalu was not a surprise".("Ogoniok" Magazine, N 14-15, 1992) As the result of these warnings the majority of the peaceful people of Khojalu moved to safe zones.
The detachments of NKR did everything possible in order to exclude the death of the peaceful population of the settlement and left a corridor for the safe evacuation of the peaceful population from the zone of military actions. The Azeri side was timely informed about the opened corridor which allowed to evacuate the people of Khojalu.
Elman Mamedov, the mayor of Khojalu: "We knew that the corridor was left for the exit of the peaceful people" ("Russkaya Misl" 03.03.1992, citation from "Bakinskie Rabochiy" newspaper).
After the operation was over 11 bodies of Azeris were found by the rescue group "Artsakh" in the village and its neighboring areas, naturally, counting out the bodies of the members of the armed formations dressed in uniforms (their number was also small). The insignificant number of the peaceful victims of Khojalu in the view of the intense military actions undertaken for the purpose of holding control over the settlement evidenced that the Armenian side had taken all measures on ensuring the maximal possible security of the people of the village. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that a significant number of the peaceful population of Khojalu became victims of the operation.
How many of the people of Khojalu were killed and where?
The Azeri side is categorically silent about the place of the death of hundreds of residents of the village. The truth is that all of them were coolly assassinated at the distance of 11 km from Khojalu, about 2-3 km far from Aghdam which at that time used to be the regional military base of the Azeri armed forces. This mere fact is enough for casting light on the intricate story about the massive extinction of the residents of Khojalu. It is hard to understand why should the Armenians let the population of Khojalu flee from the besieged village in order to kill them on the approaches of Aghdam putting their lives at risk (at that time Aghdam was under the control of the Azeris).
In his interview to "Nezavisimaya Gazeta" Moutalibov stated that "however, the Armenians had left a corridor for the escape of the people. Why a fire should have opened then? (cf.: "Nezavisimaya Gazeta", April 2, 1992) He linked the fact of the criminal fusillade of the peaceful people with the attempts of the opposition to remove him from power, laying the responsibility for the tragedy entirely on him.
In his interview to "Novoye Vremia" ("New Time") Magazine Moutalibov confirmed his statement which was made nine days before: "It was evident that the some people had organized the shooting for shifting the power in Azerbaijan" (cf.: "Novoye Vremia" , March 6, 2001) .
Similar statements and assessments of the Khojalu events were made by several other Azerbaijani top official and journalists.
R. Gajiyev, member of the Operating Committee of Aghdam Branch of NFA (National Front of Azerbaijan): We could have helped the people of Khojalu because we had the resources and means. However, the authorities of the republic wanted to demonstarte to the people of Azerbaijan that they are not able to do so and ask for the assistance of the CIS Army and with the help of the latter also neutralize the opposition" (Moscow, "Izvestia", April, 1992).
The Azeri journalist Arif Yunosov's view is slightly different from the statements given above. According to Yunusov, "The town itself and its population are willingfully sacrificed for the political purposes, i.e., prevent the National Front of Azerbaijan from coming to power" (cf.: "Zerkalo" ("Mirror") Newspaper, July, 1992.) Again, it follows that the Azeris themselves are the perpetrators of the tragedy.
The Khojalu events are the result of the treachery of the high-level Azeri authorities towards the people of Khojalu whereas the Azeri propaganda blew up the story about the "brutalities of the Armenians", and the dreadful pictures of the site covered with defiled bodies were demonstrated by TV. It was propagated that Khojalu was the retaliation of the Armenians for Sumgayit.
Tamerlan Karayev, the former Chairman of the Supreme Council of Azerbaijan testifies: "The tragedy was perpetrated by the Azeri authorities", in particular, "some of the top officials" (cf.: "Moukhtalifat" Newspaper, April 28, 1992).
Yana Mazalova, a Czech journalist, who, because of the oversight of the Azeris, was included in both of the groups of journalists who visited the place of the events on the first day and several days later, noticed the stunning difference how the bodies looked at the first and second site visits. before and after between the previous and latest outer look of the bodies. When Mazalova visited the site immediately after the events she saw that the bodies did not bear any traces of brutality whereas a couple of days later the bodies "adulterated" by the Armenians and "ready" for the cameras were demonstrated to the journalists.
Who killed the peaceful people of Khojalu and later defiled their bodies, if the tragedy took place not in the village liberated by the Armenians, and not along the direction of the humanitarian corridor, but on the close approaches of Aghdam town, a territory which was entirely under the control of the National Front of Azerbaijan? Chingiz Moustafayev (Fuat-oghli), an independent Azeri TV journalist and cameraman who filmed the aftereffect on February 28 and March 2, 1992, doubted the official version of Azerbaijan and initiated his own investigation. His life was the price for his very first report to the Moscow News Agency "DR-Press" about the possible involvement of the Azeri side in the crime: he was killed not far from Aghdam, and the details of the murder still remain unrevealed. Moustafayev reported about the flight to Khojalu. He noted that he could not film the dead bodies there, because "there was not a single killed person there …". In the course of the first flight the journalists shot only a couple of dozens of bodies of the Azeri soldiers which were found not far from the village of Nakhichevanik. However, most of the bodies were near Aghdam where they were video-filmed on February 29 and later on March 2. These tapes were displayed at the session of Milli Medjlis and, later, numerous TV channels of the world as an evidence of the massive manslaughter of the Azeri population of Khojalu. The first flight of the helicopter with the Azeri journalists on board took place on February 29, 1992. It is noteworthy that the journalists who were informed about the massive offense of the Azeris in Khojalu flew directly to the place of the events. However, they did not find any evidence of the happenings and flew back. During the second flight to the region of the massive slaughter, on March 2, 1992, the journalists noticed that the positions of the dead bodies lying on the ground and the level of the injuries and physical impairment was astonishingly different as compared to the first inspection. Chingiz Moustafayev (Fuat-oghli) informed the Azeri president A. Moutalibov about the changed positions of the bodies and their physical impairment. Undoubtedly, by that time the Azeri president understood the reasons which caused the falsification of the tragedy. Moutalibov gave a really prophetic answer to the journalist, "Chingiz, don't tell anyone that you think something is wrong because they'll kill you". Chingiz Moutafayev was killed in the same field where he had shot the main Azeri "argument".
The present president of Azerbaijan Geydar Aliyev personally admitted that the "former leadership of Azerbaijan was also at fault of the Khojalu events". As early as in April of 1992 the following was articulated by him, "The bloodshed will do good to us. We shouldn't interfere in the course of events" (cf.: Bilik-Duniasi News Agency). It is out of question who gained from the "bloodshed". Megapolis-Express wrote: "It is impossible not to admit that if the National Front of Azerbaijan in fact had defined far-reaching goals, it succeeded in addressing them. Moutalibov is compromised and forced out of his post, the international community is in shock, the Azeris and their brotherly Turks believed in the so-called "genocide of the Azerbaijani people in Khojalu"("Megapolis-Express", N17, 1992).
The Azeri mass media was silent in its comments on the Khojalu events about another tragic detail which was revealed later: 47 Armenians were held hostage in the "peaceful" Khojalu since February 26. After the liberation of Khojalu only 13 of these hostages were found in the settlement (including 6 women and 1 child), the remaining 34 were taken away by the Azeris in the unknown direction. All that is known about these hostages is that at the night of the operation they were driven away from the place of imprisonment, but not from the settlement. There is no information about their further status as hostages. It is obvious that the bodies of the Armenian hostages were tormented beyond the degree when they could be identified. This was done in order to create the illusion that the bodies of the victims "had been defiled" by the Armenians. This is the reason why the bodies of the wretched victims were outraged to the extent that it was impossible to identify the victims.
As a matter of fact, around 700 inhabitants of Khojalu, including Turks - Meskhets who for whatever reasons failed to use the free corridor for retreat were passed to the Azerbaijani side without any conditions. After the thorough investigation the fact of the unconditional return of the residents of Khojalu to Azerbaijan was confirmed in the conclusion of the Human Rights Watch Center "Memorial" (Moscow), as well as in the documentary film of Svetlana Kulchitskaya, a journalist from St. Petersburg.
It follows from the above-described facts that the blame for the death of the peaceful people of Khojalu and those Armenians who had been taken hostage in the village lies on the Azeris. The Azerbaijani side committed a crime against its own people, and the motivation lies in the political intrigues and lust for power.