Azerbaijan should issue international arrest warrants against Armenian War criminals of ‘Khojaly Massacre’

Dr Shahid Qureshi, British writer and political analyst based in London, United Kingdom.

(Eurasia Diary, Azerbaijan, Baku): –

Azerbaijan is going to remember the 28th anniversary of Khojaly Genocide in late February. Khojaly tragedy is one of most horrific crimes against humanity in the history of universe.

The town of Khojaly is part of Garabagh region of Azerbaijan and it has been internationally recognised as territory of Azerbaijan. Upper Garabakh and seven surrounding regions have been kept under the occupation by Armenia for more than twenty years. All international community condemn Armenian aggression.

Although the UN Security Council and the General Assembly have adopted four resolutions, and decisions made by other international organizations to demand Armenia to withdraw from occupied territories as well as to recognise the territorial integrity of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Armenian authorities continue to ignore the warning of the international community and disrespect international law.

On the 26th February 1992, Armenian Army Units at night attacked in Khojaly district massacred innocent population of the town. During that night more than 613 ethnic Azerbaijani Turks, including men, women, children, babies and elderly people were brutally killed, and more than 100 were injured, and more than 1215 were taken hostages. Armenian terrorists flamed and devastated town, villages and hamlets in Khojaly, which has led to the annihilation of cultural and religious entities that belonged to Muslims.

People were forced to leave their homes and took shelter in the forest. Innocent people were brutally killed, tortured and some were torched alive.

On the occasion of the 28th anniversary of Khojaly Genocide, human rights activist Dr Shahid Qureshi, senior analyst with BBC and chief editor of The London Post, shared his views with Eurasia Diary.

At the beginning of his interview, Dr Shahid Qureshi shared his views about Khojaly Massacre. He regrets that people who lived together with ethnic Azerbaijani, Turks for decades committed such inhuman crimes against its neighbour.

“I think it was a great tragedy of the century and more sadly committed by the people who lived together for decades in the Soviet Union. It shows one thing which is being weak and vulnerable is not an option to survive,” said Dr Qureshi.

Dr Shahid Qureshi believes that: ‘Khojaly Massacre should be recognized as genocide by the international community. He noted that initially the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), and Arab League have the responsibility to bring this issue to the attention of the world.

“OIC and Arab League must recognize this as genocide and demand culprits brought to justice of this war crime against unarmed innocent civilians,” he stressed.

While asking question about obstacles created by Armenian Lobby in the recognition of Khojaly Genocide in the West, and also what Azerbaijan should do for reaching out its tragedies to the international attention.

Dr Qureshi emphasized that: ‘Muslim world could listen to the sorrows of Muslim country, but historically, West never been interested in terrorism and state terrorism inflicted on Muslims.

“As I mentioned before OIC and Arab League must recognize this as ‘genocide’. Former colonial powers in the West will never support Azerbaijan as it does not fit in their agenda,” Dr Qureshi said.

Dr Qureshi stated that: ‘Azerbaijan has to stand up on its feet with robust foreign policy, effective media policy and this media campaign about Khojaly tragedy should not become an annual event’.

During interview Shahid Qureshi touched on the punishment of Khojaly criminals by the international court, which is still most significant issue in our agenda.

Dr Qureshi noted that: ‘Azerbaijan as state should initiate the process criminal prosecution of Armenian war criminals in local courts as crimes were committed on its soil and legal jurisdiction according to international law’.

I have told parliamentarians of Azerbaijan and media that: “Azerbaijan police should issue international arrest warrants against those who ordered and carried out genocide against unarmed civilian men, women and children,”.

According to his opinions, Azerbaijan should have a criminal trial in an Azeri Court against leaders who ordered the genocide, and court martial in an Azerbaijani military court against the Armenian Military and security officers and soldiers who were involved in these crimes against humanity and civilians.

Dr Qureshi was of the view that: “Azerbaijani Courts have jurisdiction, and Chief Justice of Supreme Court should take a Suo Motto notice against the war criminals. Azerbaijan state laws should apply to all of them as crimes were committed on Azeri soil.”

The Attorney General of Azerbaijan should issue arrest warrants of all those involved and write to ICC and Interpol for their arrests. The legal precedent of General Pinochet case can be applied here when a Spanish court issued an arrest against him and it was automatically activated when General Pinochet stepped on British soil in the 1990s.

He wrote an article on this matter:

PM Narendra Modi & Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat are War Criminals in Indian Occupied Kashmir: ‘Pinochet Case’ takes precedent

Dr Qureshi was of the view that, “war is always an option for Azerbaijan to liberate its territories under Armenian occupation but for that, national and international opinion should be on your side.

The International community should differentiate between a victim Azerbaijan and perpetrator Armenia,” he added.

Finally, Dr Qureshi said: All you need a is a will for justice and rest will follow.

Disclaimer: Views expressed are not of SRG

(Dr Shahid Qureshi is senior analyst with BBC and chief editor of The London Post. He writes on security, terrorism and foreign policy. He also appears as analyst on Al-Jazeera, Press TV, MBC, Kazak TV (Kazakhstan), LBC Radio London. He was also international Presidential election observer for Azerbaijan 2020 and 2018, Kazakhstan, 2019, 2016 and 2015 and Pakistan 2002. He has written a famous book “War on Terror and Siege of Pakistan” published in 2009. He wrote his MA thesis on ‘Political Thought of Imam Khomeini’ and visited Tehran University. He is PhD in ‘Political Psychology’ also studied Law at a British University. He also speaks at Cambridge University and visiting professor in Hebe University in China)