Special tribunal for Nagorno-Karabakh needed
Yesterday, in the framework of the international Justice for Khojaly campaign, the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow hosted an event to commemorate memory of Khojaly tragedy victims organized by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, the Azerbaijani Embassy in Russia and the Azerbaijan Youth Association of Russia (AMOR).
Speaking at the event, head of the administrative and military legislation department of the Milli Majlis (the Azerbaijani Parliament), international law expert Nizami Safarov said that 27 years ago the civilians who had not participated in hostilities — the elderly, women, children — have been systematically exterminated in the city of Khojaly just for being Azerbaijani natives.
"This act of genocide is nothing but a continuation of the policy of genocide and ethnic cleansing, which was constantly carried out against the Azerbaijani population. On December 22, 1941, former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, shocked by the atrocities of the nazi troops advancing to the east, said in a speech broadcast: "We are in the presence of a crime without a name." This name appeared in 1948, when the UN adopted the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. The purpose of the Convention was to prevent genocide and punish the perpetrators. Unfortunately, it was not enough to prevent the mass killing of Azerbaijanis," Nizami Safarov said.
He noted that the perpetrators of the massacre are still not punished: "The international community responded eagerly to the events in Yugoslavia by establishing an international tribunal; to events in Rwanda, on which a special tribunal was also set up; the tribunals for Sierra Leone, for Lebanon were established later. In 2005, a special tribunal for Lebanon was established, the jurisdiction of which was limited to one crime of terrorism related to the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri. Azerbaijan as a state that suffered from international terrorism, condemns any such act. But look - a special tribunal is established to investigate the killing of one person, but no action has been taken to punish those responsible for the genocide, those responsible for the massacre!"
According to Nizami Safarov, there are quite a few cases in law enforcement agencies of the Azerbaijan Republic related to the Khojaly genocide: "But unfortunately, we have witnessed double standards here when criminals are not extradited to Azerbaijan to bring them to a fair trial. The establishment of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court in 1998 with jurisdiction over genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity hardly helps in this matter as well. The problem is that the court’s jurisdiction applies only to those acts that took place after July 1, 2002. In order to bring the perpetrators to justice, Azerbaijan needs broad international cooperation. In this case, the establishment of a special tribunal for Nagorno-Karabakh consisting of Azerbaijani and international judges, or the establishment of special chambers with international jurisdiction, as it was done in the courts of Cambodia 25 years after the Cambodian genocide, could be a significant help.
Nizami Safarov expressed confidence that those guilty of committing the Khojaly massacre will be put on trial, because the oblivion law does not apply to such crimes: "The international law has a number of legal instruments - the UN Convention on the non-applicability of statutory limitations to war crimes and crimes against humanity. Sooner or later, murderers should be punished. [One of the main organizers of the Holocaust, head of the department responsible for Jewish affairs] Adolf Eichmann, guilty of the design and implementation of Final Solution of the Jewish Question, could not even imagine that the State of Israel, which did not exist during the hostilities, would achieve that, in accordance with the verdict of the Jerusalem District Court, he would be found guilty, hanged and his ashes scattered in the Mediterranean Sea outside Israeli territorial waters. I am sure that justice will prevail."