On 27th February the Heydar Aliyev Foundation’s Office in the Russian Federation, along with the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Youth Forum held an event at the Baku Cinema and Concert-Hall Complex in Moscow, dedicated to the Seventeenth Anniversary of the Khojaly Tragedy, and the presentation of a new website presenting the “Justice for Khojaly” information campaign. The event began with a minute's silence in memory of the Khojaly victims. A documentary film titled “Khojaly. a Town's Tragedy” - filmed by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation - was then shown.
Mrs Leila Aliyeva opened the event in her capacity as Head of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation’s Office in the Russian Federation and Chief Coordinator on Dialogue and Cooperation of OIC Youth Forum. Mrs Aliyeva said “Seventeen years ago the Khojaly tragedy was perpetrated -many innocent people, including women, children and the elderly were massacred. It was the result of aggressive policy, nationalism and ethnic cleansing pursued by Armenian occupants within Azerbaijan's sovereign territory. War is always terrible, bringing personal disaster and suffering to many thousands of people.. And it was exactly this that happened in the town of Khojaly where Armenian armed forces deliberately killed civilians - women, old people and children, none of whom posed any kind of military threat. The victims were cunningly trapped, and cruelly shot. The only reason for murdering these people was their ethnicity. It was truly an act of genocide Azerbaijani people - a massacre consciously committed against our fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers. It was simultaneously intended to shock and horrify. Yet our history shows clearly that our will was not broken then, nor will it be broken in future. The tragedy of Khojaly is a black page in the history of Azerbaijan, yet it demonstrated the strength and resilience of our nation.”
The Head of Heydar Aliyev Foundation’s Office in Russia emphasised that Azerbaijani people will never condone the occupation of their native lands, and will restore the country`s territorial integrity. “Today we commemorate all those who were killed during the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Daghlig Garabagh, the victims of the Khojaly tragedy. Once again we urge the international community to assign legal and moral judgment on this tragedy. The murder of civilians in the twenty-first century is utterly unacceptable, most especially when motivated by nationalist ends. We intend to demonstrate the truth about this massacre to the world” ,Mrs. Aliyeva said.
In her role as Chief Coordinator of the OIC Youth Forum For Intercultural Dialog, Mrs Aliyeva began the “Justice for Khojaly” campaign last May. “The goal of the campaign is to inform the world community of the true details of this tragedy, and the conflict which precipitated it. Detailed information will be provided here today about the campaign, and the new website“Justice for Khojaly” will be launched. The campaign and website are available in many countries. None of those who died for their native lands will ever be forgotten. Azerbaijan`s territorial integrity will be restored, and justice will triumph.”
Ending her speech, Leila Aliyeva expressed gratitude to participants for sharing the sorrow of the Azeri people.Mrs Aliyeva then invited two witnesses of the tragedy - Zaur Aliyev and Anar Yusubov - to the stage. They were both children when the tragedy occurred. Those who saw the the appalling tragedy with their own eyes shared their memories of the genocide in which civilians of the town of Daghlig Garabagh were killed by Armenians.The witnesses expressed their gratitude to the Azerbaijani leadership, and the Heydar Aliyev Foundation with its Russia Office for efforts towards the restoration of justice, and distributing a true account of the Khojaly genocide to a world public.
General Elshad Isgandarov – the OIC Youth Forum Secretary – assessed the presentation of the “Justice for Khojaly” campaign as a seminal event for Moscow. The General said that the purpose of the campaign – which has already manifested itself in over 20 countries worldwide - is to bring international awareness to the tragic incidents in Khojaly , and to achieve a just and ethical assessment. Mr Isgandarov confirmed that Leila Aliyeva's initiative had the support of all OIC member countries, meeting both their interests and those of Azeri people who had lived at peace with their neigbours for centuries. The General mentioned that the site is also available in Russian, and hoped that Russians would give serious attention to the campaign..
Yuri Pompeyev is a writer - the author of the book “The Blood-Filled Pool of Garabagh” book. It was Pompeyev who first sounded the alarm against the genocide of the Azerbaijanis of Khojaly, noting that the most frequently used word on the topic is “justice’. He said: “It's not easy to seek justice in every tragedy, especially in the kind of large-scale tragedy Azerbaijanis have undergone - but the generation which has grown up in the intervening seventeen years can seek it.. The witnesses to these events demonstrate the strength of the Azeri people.” Mr Pompeyev stressed that for the first time during these seventeen years the patriotic writer Musa Merjanly has published - in ISR-Naslediye magazine - the surnames of thirty-eight suspects believed to have participated directly in the Khojaly genocide on February 25th and 26th, 1992. “My opinion is that restoration of justice would be the most appropriate punishment for those guilty of this massacre” Pompeyev noted.
The website of the “Justice for Khojaly” campaign, and the film “Prayer” were shown. A photo-exhibition about the Khojaly tragedy was displayed in the foyer. Finally books, magazines & literature were distributed to the visitors and participants.
The event closed with the participants signing the campaign’s Declaration.