Azerbaijan commemorates 30 years since Bashlibel massacre

Today, Azerbaijan commemorates the 30th anniversary of a massacre committed by Armenians during the occupation of Kalbajar region's Bashlibel village in 1993.

Following the Armenian occupation of Kalbajar in early April 1993, 73 residents of Bashlibel village, with a population of around 2,000, were unable to leave their homes in time and sought refuge in the mountain caves to protect themselves from the enemy.

They managed to live in hiding for only 18 days. On April 18, Armenians launched an armed attack on the mountains, where they had taken refuge. As a result, 14 residents were taken hostage and 18 were killed. The remaining 30 people continued their siege by changing their shelters to other mountains in the village. After 113 days, on July 17, they left the shelter and managed to escape the siege of the Armenian army through secret mountain roads, moving only at night.

To recap, the U.S. State Department Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor annual report on the global human rights situation in 2021 also cover the details about the Bashlibel tragedy.

After liberating its lands from occupation during the 2020 Patriotic War, Azerbaijan inspected Bashlibel village by a drone. The inspection revealed that all the houses, buildings and infrastructure that existed in the village before the occupation were completely destroyed.

The Prosecutor General's Office investigation evidenced that the Armenian armed forces were particularly cruel to the civilian population in Bashlibel village when they occupied the Kalbajar region with military aggression in early April 1993, as they did in other regions of Azerbaijan.

Under the court decision on corpse exhumation, on April 24, 2021, investigators from the Prosecutor General's Office's Investigation Department conducted an investigation in Bashlibel. As a result, the remains of 12 skeletons were discovered buried at a depth of 50 cm. These remains belong to 12 unarmed Azerbaijanis (a 12-year-old child, a 16-year-old teenager, including six women and six men) who were deliberately killed by the Armenian armed forces on April 18, 1993.

Bashlibel is part of a series of systematic genocide acts that Armenia committed against innocent Azerbaijanis during the first Karabakh war in 1988-1994.

Armenia has violated the provisions of the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (1954) and the Paris Convention on the Illicit Trafficking of Cultural Property (1972) and plundered Azerbaijan’s cultural property in all its former occupied territories.

Many of the Armenia-committed massacres on the formerly occupied territories of Azerbaijan meet entirely the requirements of the Genocide Convention, which was approved by the United Nations General Assembly on December 9, 1948. Therefore, these tragedies must be classified as acts of genocide under international law, and the slaughter perpetrated against the civilian population of Aghdaban should be recognized as a genocide crime by the international community.


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