Baku Music Academy (BMA) hosted an event to mark the 28th anniversary of the Khojaly tragedy.

The event was organized by the Academy and the Azerbaijani community of Azerbaijan’s Nagorno Karabakh region.

The academy’s Vice-Rector for International Relations and Educational Work, Professor Yegana Akhundova said that exactly 28 years ago this crime was committed against the Azerbaijani people, and hundreds of unarmed Azerbaijanis were brutally killed on the night of Feb. 25-26, 1992.

Tural Ganjaliyev, chairman of the Azerbaijani community of Azerbaijan’s Nagorno Karabakh region Public Union, said that the Khojaly tragedy is one of the bloodiest crimes against humanity.

“Commemorating the anniversary of the Khojaly tragedy, we once again tell the world community that we haven’t forgotten our past,” Ganjaliyev noted. “The purpose of this massacre committed by the Armenian side was to exterminate the Azerbaijanis, commit an act of genocide against them. Such executioners as Robert Kocharyan, Serzh Sargsyan, who are representatives of the Karabakh regime, repeatedly acknowledged that they committed this crime – one of the bloodiest acts of genocide in the 20th century. We will do everything possible to ensure that those who committed this crime against civilians are duly punished. For this we must use all possible ways. More efforts in bringing Sargsyan and Kocharyan to justice within the international law are needed.”

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Ganjaliyev also said that large-scale work is underway towards recognizing the Khojaly tragedy at the international level as genocide.

“As part of the “Justice for Khojaly!” campaign, raising public awareness is being carried out in many countries,” the chairman added. “Already 10 countries have recognized this tragedy as genocide. We will continue our efforts.”

In turn, Professor of the Baku Music Academy Tarlan Guliyev said that with the support of the 366th former Soviet motorized rifle regiment, the Armenians committed one of the bloodiest crimes in history, adding that 613 residents of Khojaly were brutally killed, 1,275 were taken hostage, and the fate of 68 women remains unknown.

“The Armenians committed unprecedented atrocities in Khojaly,” Guliyev noted. “We mustn’t forget this. The Khojaly tragedy is the blood memory of all Azerbaijanis.”

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The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.

During the Karabakh war, on Feb. 25-26, 1992, the Armenian armed forces, together with the 366th infantry regiment of Soviet troops, stationed in Khankendi, committed an act of genocide against the population of the Azerbaijani town of Khojaly. As many as 613 people, including 63 children, 106 women and 70 old people were killed in the massacre. Eight families were totally exterminated, 130 children lost one parent and 25 children lost both. Some 1,275 innocent residents were taken hostage, while the fate of 150 people still remains unknown.

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The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.