Azerbaijani FM’s letter on Bashlibel massacre to Sec-Gen Guterres circulated as UN document
A letter sent by Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres regarding the initial results of the ongoing investigation conducted by the General Prosecutor’s Office of Azerbaijan in connection with the intentional killing of Azerbaijani civilians by the armed forces of Armenia in the village of Bashlibel of Azerbaijan’s Kalbajar district in April 1993 has been circulated as a document of the UN General Assembly and the Security Council, the Foreign Ministry told News.Az.
In his letter, Minister Bayramov noted that having regained access to the territories of Azerbaijan following their liberation after an almost 30-year-long military occupation of Armenia, the relevant authorities of Azerbaijan are now able to collect additional material evidence with regard to numerous heinous crimes, including crimes against humanity and war crimes committed by the armed forces of Azerbaijan.
“As the result of these efforts, new details became unearthed regarding the mass killings of Azerbaijani civilians in the Bashlibel village of the Kalbajar district in April 1993. Thus, it was established that in the course of an attack by the armed forces of Armenia on the village on 3 April 1993, 62 civilian residents had to flee from the invading Armenian forces and took refuge in caves located 3 km away from the village. On 18 April 1993, the armed forces of Armenia found the civilians hiding in the caves and subjected them to intensive fire from machine guns and other types of weapons. As a result, 12 civilians, including 1 child and 1 teenager, were killed on the spot inside the caves. The graves of those 12 civilians have been identified on the basis of the testimonies by the eyewitnesses who had been able to escape from the caves and managed to return later on to the area on 12 May 1993, secretly, to bury their fellow villager,” the letter read.
The minister stressed that the Bashlibel massacre is by no means an isolated case, but adds to numerous previously identified war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Armenia in the course of its armed aggression against Azerbaijan.
“Comprehensive investigation to all those crimes is of critical importance for justice and post-conflict reconciliation. In order for the peace to be sustained, justice must be served to all those who have fallen victim to past wrongdoings. This is of the utmost necessity for not allowing the same horrific events to be repeated in the future,” he added.
The minister further said that Armenia’s continued refusal to cooperate on the issue of establishing the whereabouts of close to 4,000 Azerbaijanis who went missing in the period of the military hostilities in 1991–1994 must be expeditiously addressed.
“I appeal to you once again with the request to extend your contribution to the establishment of the truth over numerous war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated against Azerbaijan and Azerbaijanis. I also call upon you to render assistance in bringing clarity to the fates of thousands of persons missing due to the conflict, as well as addressing the imminent threat posed by landmines and other explosive remnants of war. These are all of crucial importance in order to translate into reality the vision of peace, security and cooperation of the mentioned trilateral statements to the benefit of the peoples of both Armenia and Azerbaijan, as well as broader regional peace and stability,” Minister Bayramov added.