Azerbaijan names 38 people wanted for Khojaly massacre

Wed 24 February 2010 10:50 GMT | 15:50 Local Time

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Khojaly victims

Azerbaijan has announced the names of 38 people wanted in connection with the 1992 massacre in the village of Khojaly in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Azerbaijan's Military Prosecutor's Office said yesterday that the list of 38 names had been submitted to Interpol's bureau in Baku.

The list includes ethnic Armenians and officers of the former Soviet 366th Motorized Rifle Regiment, which was stationed in Karabakh at the time of the massacre.

Meanwhile, a joint investigative group of Azerbaijan's Ministries of National Security and Internal Affairs and the Republican Prosecutor’s Office has declared 286 people wanted for crimes against humanity in Khojaly, Garadagli, Meshali, Baganis Ayrim and other Azerbaijani villages.

The courts passed decisions in absentia on those individuals and asked Interpol’s bureau in Azerbaijan to declare them internationally wanted, the head of the joint investigative group, Mehman Poladov, told APA yesterday. He said that the commanders of the 366th Motor-Rifle Regiment, stationed in Karabakh at the time, were among those wanted.

“There are both Russians and Armenians among them. The investigative group is now collecting their photos and personal details,” Poladov said.

He said that the crimes of some of the 366th Regiment commanders against Azerbaijanis had been proven. “Necessary measures will be taken against those persons in the near future. We have asked the Russian, Kazakh and Uzbek prosecutor’s offices for the necessary legal assistance.”

Poladov said the Khojaly genocide started with genocide in Garadagli. The investigative group has declared six people suspects in the Garadagli genocide and has submitted the relevant documents to have them put on the international wanted list.

Khojali investigation

On 18 December 2003, the joint investigative group was established by the Prosecutor General’s Office, Interior Ministry and National Security Ministry of the Republic of Azerbaijan to investigate crimes committed during the Karabakh war, discover and bring to justice the perpetrators and raise the issue with international institutions.

The prosecutor general on 5 May 2005 entrusted supervision of the investigation to the Military Prosecutor’s Office. On 30 March 2009, the Military Prosecutor's Office in turn set up a special investigative unit under its department to investigate grave crimes.

On 27 February 1992, a criminal case was launched into the occupation of Khojaly under Article 70 (banditry) and Article 94 clauses 4 and 6 (murder) of the Azerbaijani Criminal Code that was effective until 1 September 2000.

The investigation determined that at approximately 22.00 local time on 26 February 1992, Armenian military units and separatist Armenian armed units of Nagorno-Karabakh with the participation of officers, ensigns and soldiers of the 366th Regiment in Khankendi attacked Khojaly and pursued civilians who were attempting to flee to Agdam, including children, women and the elderly. People were shot, tortured, killed and taken hostage, while public buildings and private houses were set on fire.

The proceedings into the Khojaly criminal case were stopped on 31 March 1994. On 12 July 2005, the Military Prosecutor's Office reopened the proceedings and charges in the case were brought under Articles 103 (genocide), 107 (deportation of the population) and 115.2 (violation of the conventions of war). The investigation has continued since then.

The investigation found that 350 Khojaly residents, including 52 minors, 111 women and 16 people over the age of 60 were killed, 371 were taken hostage, 150 went missing and 421 were injured. Damage worth 144,730,267 manats or $170,270,816 was caused to public and private property.

Of those killed in the tragedy, 192 were residents of Khojaly, 24 were Azerbaijanis deported from Armenia in 1988, 32 were persons displaced from Khankendi, 35 were persons displaced from other villages in Nagorno-Karabakh in 1988-1989 and eight were Meskhetian Turks who had fled Uzbekistan to escape ethnic violence in Fergana.

Armed units pursued 111 people, who had managed to escape Khojaly. They tortured and killed 16 of them in Katik forest, 130 in Nakhchivanik, 23 in Garagay, 23 near Dahraz village, eight in Shelli, six in Asgaran and 18 of those who were taken hostage were tortured and killed in the Asgaran Internal Affairs Department.

It was determined, based on the examination of the bodies, forensic opinion and the testimonies of Khojaly residents who escaped the attack that Armenians and servicemen of the 366th Regiment had tortured the Azerbaijanis, scalped some, cut off noses, ears and genitals, gouged out eyes and beheaded some on the graves of Armenians.

The investigation also found that the action committed by Armenian armed forces and separatist armed forces of Nagorno-Karabakh together with the servicemen of the 366th Regiment in Khankendi contained elements of the crime of genocide as envisaged in the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 9 December 1948 and Article 103 of the Azerbaijani Criminal Code.

The investigation determined that Armenian military forces, separatist armed units in Nagorno-Karabakh and the 366th Motorized Rifle Regiment deployed in Khankendi in committing the Khojaly genocide failed to observe the norms of international law and violated the Geneva Conventions on the protection of wounded soldiers during war, prisoners of war and the protection of civilians, including in occupied territory.

The courts have approved a list of 38 people – servicemen of the 366th Motor-Rifle Regiment and others – wanted for their role in the Khojaly genocide. Azerbaijan has declared them internationally wanted and submitted the relevant documents to the Interpol bureau in Azerbaijan.

The investigation has questioned 2,213 witnesses and carried out 800 forensic examinations. Information was sought from the Russian, Uzbek and Kazakh prosecutor's offices in drawing up lists of dead and wounded servicemen from the 366th Motor-Rifle Regiment and in determining whether the regiment's weaponry was seized by Armenian forces or given to them.

Investigation continues into the role in the Khojaly massacre and other crimes of the commander of the 366th Regiment's 2nd Battalion, Maj Seyran Ohanyan, the current defence minister of Armenia, and the commander of the 3rd Battalion, Yevgeny Aleksandrovich Nabokikh. 

APA

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