Khojaly Genocide as International crime
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
A genocide begins with the killing one man - not for what he has done but, because of who he is.
We can make a difference. We can save lives. We can stop the genocide.
The legal definition of genocide was provided for bу the Convention оп the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and adopted bу the UN General Assembly оn December 9, 1948 (resolution number 260 (III) as аnу of the following acts committed with an intent to destroy, in whole or in part, а national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
- killing members of the group;
- causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
- deliberately inflicting оп the group conditions of life ca1culated to bring about its physica1 destruction in whole or in part;
- imposing measures intended to prevent birth within the group;
- forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
The special intention is а prerequisite for аn act to bе qualified as genocide. This aspect distinguishes genocide from similar intemationa1 crimes. Аll actions to bе qualified as genocide must bе committed deliberately. Such actions cannot bе taken incidentally or negligently. However, merely having аn intent to commit acts, mentioned above, as well as a general understanding of their possible consequences is not enough to qualify them as genocide. What is required here, is the revelation of the link between the specific intent of the perpetrator and the harmful results of his/her conduct. Nonetheless, direct and public incitement to commit genocide is а соmplete crime regardless of whether actual harm was caused or not.
In Кhojali case, the existence of the genocidal intent саn bе inferred, inter alia, from the fact that specia1 traps were prepared in advance and then used for shooting civil Azeris, who were trying to escape.
The fact that those acts were aimed at the Azeri national group was also obvious.
The analysis of the crime of genocide shows that there are three major elements thereof:
- victims of the above-mentioned violent acts must belong to а particular national, ethnical, racial or religious group;
- there must bе а specific intent (mens rea) to destroy such group in whole or in part;
- any of the genocidal acts must bе actually committed (actus reus).
Consequently, genocide саn bе соmmitted only against a certain national, ethnical, racial or religious group. Similar actions directed against, for example, the political or social group cannot bе qualified as genocide.
The concept of genocide requires the existence of а specific intent regarding the general consequences of an illegal deed. As а feature of genocide, intent includes the following aspects:
- intent must not to bе directed against one or more persons belonging to а certain group, but rather to the group as such. In other words, the qualifying criteria is not the victims' personalities, but they're being а member of the certain group;
- intent must bе aimed at а group, as such. Genocide means denial to accept the right to exist of an entire human group. То the contrary, killing of а human being (homicide) is characterized as а denial of the right to exist of an individual being. Consequently, actus reus (prohibited act) may bе committed against even one person, but mens rea (intent) must bе directed against the existence of the entire human group;
- intent must contain the desire to destroy а group in whole or in part;
- such а group must uе national, ethnical, racial or religious.
It is not required that а group bе indeed totally or partially destroyed so that the responsibility for genocide bе infеrrеd. For that, it is necessary that the acts, constituting the material element of the crime concerned, bе committed with such an intent.
The concept of extermination, which constitutes а material element of genocide, includes, inter alia, killings bу means of different methods.
The International Court of Justice held in its judgment оп Barcelona Traction case that prohibiting acts of genocide constituted an erga omnes obligation. The ICJ has considered the basic principles of the Convention оn the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide as а part of the customary international law obligatory for аll states.
II. Legal basis for qualification of Khojaly massacre as аn international crime. The following instruments must bе considered as а legal basis for qualifying Кhojali massacre as an international crime.
1. Convention оn the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (саmе into force in 1951) adopted bу UN General Assembly оn December 9, 1948 (resolution number 260 (III)).
2. Statute of the Nuremberg Military Tribunal (although this statute does not point out genocide actions directly, these actions constituting genocide are considered to bе crimes against humanity and war crimes);
3. Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (par. 4);
4. Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (par. 1);
5. Statute of the International Criminal Court (par. 6):
6. Criminal Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan (par. 103);
7. Decree of the President of Azerbaijan Оп genocide of Azeris dated March 26, 1998.
III. Legal consequences оf the Khojaly massacre at the international level. Тhе international law determines the following regarding genocide:
1. Persons who committed genocide must bе tried and punished;
2. Not only perpetrators bиt also those who conspired or directly and publicly incited to commit genocide must bе held responsible.
3. Тhе principle of universal jurisdiction must bе applied;
4. Acting in furtherance of an order must not exempt the perpetrator from responsibility;
5. Superiors must bear responsibility for failure to prevent the acts of genocide;
6. Statutory limitations must not bе applicable to the crime of genocide;
7. With regard to genocide, the retroactive application of the law is allowed;
8. Perpetrators must bе either tried and punished bу the detaining state or extradited to the requesting one.
IV. Informing the international соmmunity about the fact that Khojaly tragedy, as аn international crime, was а constituent part оf the policy оf genocide carried out bу Armenia against the people оf Azerbaijan. This document named "Тhе tragedy in Кhojali, being an international crime is а constituent part of the genocidal policy carried out bу Armenia against the people Azerbaijan", adopted bу the Board of Experts of the Institute оп Hиman Rights (Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences) will bе sent to the parliaments of Azerbaijan, Turkey, Georgia, Russia and other countries, as well as the international organizations, including UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, General Directorate оn Human Rights of the Council of Europe, OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, OSCE Office for Democratic Institutes and Human Rights, international human rights NGO's, Azeri Diaspora.
Thus, the acts committed bу the Armenian side against the ethnic Azeri population of the Кhojali city are qualified in accordance with the international legal documents as genocide and а crime against humanity.
* * *
More than a million people have undergone aggressive policy of Armenia live under hard conditions - they have found asylum in tent stations, houses-in-built, luggage wagons and other places unavailable to live.
State of Armenia paid no attention to the word of the international world by showing full distrust towards UN Security Council's resolutions 822 adopted in 1993 in April on the occupation of territories of Azerbaijan Republic by the Armenian army, 853 adopted in June, 874 adopted in October and 884 adopted in November.
Regular, the fundamental and firm political line carried out by the state of Azerbaijan, the constructive attitude of Azerbaijan Republic for fair settlement of Karabakh problem is known well by world states. Major directions for settlement of problem in a peaceful manner and through talks were approved and confirmed by 53 states of the world in OSCE Lisbon Summit in December of 1993.
All we are residents of this planet and we together should conduct a firm fight against those threatening our common house with death and blood. We deeply believe that states, parliaments, international organizations in the world will support the restoration of equity for a happy life of nations having entered the XXI century, for equity, for high humanist values. Supporting the settlement of the Karabakh problem in a peaceful manner and through talks, we once again express our certainty that due to joint efforts of states, parliaments, international organizations in the world territorial integrity of Azerbaijan Republic will be ensured and refugees and IDPs will return to their native lands.