While we are studying world history, we observe human beings undergoing a civilizational process from ancient times until now, and human life and the value attached to human life develops in a progressive trend.
That is to say we know there were legal systems in the past that vouch for practices that cannot be tolerated today, including slavery. When compared with today, certain laws and inhumane situations were generally accepted and deemed normal by the legal systems of those times. However, the fact that human beings attained a certain level of civilization as a result of developmental processes they underwent in intelligence, philosophy and science and that such a level of civilization requires several things of the modern individual constitute the cornerstone of the stability of the international world order.
One of the gains that human beings attained and can be seen as a token of civilization is, without a doubt, international law. There lies at the heart of law, and particularly of international law, the principle of “serving the individual” and this principle exists for the individual and such individual’s satisfaction. That’s why we need to respect, abide by and uphold international law. When we read about barbarian raids in history books, we cannot help but remember protective legal norms and that’s how we appreciate the value of the modern gains of our era.
International law recommends amicable relations between states and bans hostile activities, bringing into effect sanctions in the absence of these. That is to say an international legal entity that has violated international legal norm(s) must be recognized to have done so and become an outcast in the international community.
On Feb. 26, 1992, on the verge of the 21st century, a massacre that must be categorized as a crime against humanity in terms of international law was staged by Armenians against Azerbaijan. And it was staged before the very eyes of the entire world, with the personal attendance of several top-level executives of the current Armenia within the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) (then the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe [CSCE]) region. As a result of the carnage staged by armed Armenian bands on unarmed people, 613 people were murdered in cold blood, of which 63 were children, 106 were women and 70 were senior citizens. Twenty-five kids lost both parents and 130 children lost one of their parents. Again as a result of the said brutal military operation, 487 persons were wounded, of which 76 were children. A total of 1,275 persons were taken as prisoners.
It was known by everybody who regularly reads daily papers that the president of Armenia, Serzh Sarksyan, who personally participated in the Khojaly Massacre, told British investigative journalist Thomas de Waal during an interview that “before [the] Khojaly Massacre, Azerbaijanis were thinking we were joking. They were so sure that we will certainly not resort to violence towards civilians. Thanks to successful operations we staged, we managed to erase this thought of theirs.” Unfortunately, up until now no adequate opposition has been made and no penal sanctions applied to Armenia on the grounds of these inhumane activities. Nevertheless, Armenia, which is guilty in the eyes of international law, should have been punished long ago for the barbaric violations it committed. That’s because everything is crystal clear. It’s crystal clear who the offender is and who the offended are and both of them must be treated differently. That’s because the same treatment for the country who staged a massacre and the one who was its victim, results in the encouragement of the offending country.
No deep search of archives is needed to see and understand the brutal massacre staged by Armenian armed bands and soldiers in Khojaly. That’s because eyewitnesses and newspapers tell us everything. Each step taken to share these truths with the world must be counted as an important service rendered to all of humanity.
Since 1994, government of the Republic of Azerbaijan and people of Azerbaijan have struggled for the recognition and condemnation by the entire global community of the inhumane activities committed by Armenia against Azerbaijan throughout history with chauvinistic, extremist ideological motives. Haydar Aliyev, the national leader of the Azerbaijani people, has signed many governmental decrees to this end. The Khojaly Massacre is one of the inhumane actions committed against Azerbaijanis in this modern age (in 1992). We, and all our friends, should continue walking on this path without yielding, as one of the most important principles of our lives.
What we sincerely wish for is the Khojaly Massacre and in general the illegal activities which the Republic of Azerbaijan was subjected to not to be viewed based on political grounds, but evaluated by international public opinion in a fair manner.Elsever Salmanov
spokesman of the Embassy of the Republic of
Azerbaijan in Ankara