1988 Pogroms in Sumgait Were Genocide, Say Karabakh Legislators

STEPANAKERT (Karabakh Foreign Ministry)–Legislators from all factions represented in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic parliament issued a statement Monday urging the international community to recognize the planned pogroms of Armenia’s in the Azeri city of Sumgait in 1988 as Genocide and punish the perpetrators of these acts. Below is the English translation of the parliamentary announcement: On February 27, 2007, Armenia’s throughout the world will honor the memory of innocent victims of Armenian pogroms in Sumgait. Sumgait symbolizes the repressive policy of the Azeri authorities toward Armenia’s. By condemnation of this policy the Armenian nation declares to the world that it will consistently struggle for restoration of its violated rights. The pogrom, organized and executed in Sumgait on February 27-29 on a high state level, did not receive adequate political evaluation, and its organizers not only escaped punishment, but also their names remain unknown to the world wide community. Meanwhile, Ilyas Ismailov, then -Prosecutor-General of Azerbaijan, admitted that "perpetrators of the pogroms in Sumgait now carry mandates and sit in the Azeri Parliament". The policy of suppression toward the genocide in Sumgait allowed the Soviet Azeri leadership to carry out ethnic cleansing campaigns throughout the republic (November-December 1988 – Khanlar, Kutkashen, Vartashen and Shamhor regions, Mingechaur and other cities; November 1989 Kirovabad; January 1990 – Baku) and in Nagorno Karabakh proper (May 1988 — Shushi; April-June 1991 — operation "Koltso" ("The Ring"), as well as to unleash a full-scale aggression against population of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. Since the very emergence of the Azerbaijan, a policy of ethnic cleansing aimed at formation of a state without Armenia’s has been and remains to be organically included in the toolbox of Azerbaijani politicians. Extensive extermination of monumen’s, which belonged to ancient Christian culture also served to that goal. Meanwhile, we consider it unacceptable to allow Azerbaijani leadership to undertake attempts to put the massacre of peaceful population in Sumgait on the same footing with the events in Azeri-populated village of Khojalu, Askeran region of NKR, which has been turned into a firing point for shelling peaceful population, civilian and humanitarian objects in Stepanakert and surrounding Armenian villages. Moreover, distorting the facts concerning the true causes of the events in Khojalu, which have become a ring of domestic political struggle for power in Azerbaijan, the official Baku is, first of all, misleading its own people and passes over in silence the fact that Karabakh forces opened a humanitarian corridor for unimpeded exit of civilian population from the war zone. Such an attitude towards modern history postpones the perspective of establishing a confidence between the parties as a minimal condition for a dialogue, and hampers the constructive efforts by international mediators for peaceful settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. We urge all the parties, interested in the eradication of all forms of violence, especially towards the peaceful population, as well as in promoting democracy, respect for human rights and the soonest settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, to make an adequate evaluation of the tragic events in Sumgait, which do not have a time limitation due to gravity of the perpetrated crimes, condemning and qualifying them in line with the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Democracy Faction Motherland Faction Armenian Revolutionary Federation–Movement-88

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