Azerbaijani Ombudsman issues a statement concerning the 31st anniversary of the tragedy of January 20

Azerbaijani Ombudsman issues a statement concerning the 31st anniversary of the tragedy of January 20
  • Clock-gray 15:58
  • calendar-gray 19 January 2021

Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsman) of the Republic of Azerbaijan Sabina Aliyeva has issued a statement concerning the 31st anniversary of the tragedy of January 20, APA reports.

The statement reads: 

"The tragedy of January 20, which was committed 31 years ago as a result of the inhumane and treacherous policy of the USSR leadership against the Azerbaijani people, is engraved in the memory of our people as the night of Black January. It is also a date that demonstrates the struggle, inflexibility and pride of our people, who strive for their freedom and independence.

At that time the people were protesting against the biased policy of the USSR leadership, demanding the investigation of crimes committed against Azerbaijanis in Armenia, also by separatists in Nagorno Karabakh and the punishment of criminals. The massacre of 20 January was committed by the former USSR leadership in order to suppress the people’s fair voice, as well as to prevent the possibility of independence of Azerbaijan. The day before the incident, the energy bloc of the Azerbaijan State Television was exploded as a result of a provocation organized by the USSR Committee of State Security in order to hide information about the planned event from the population and the world community in general.

On the night from 19 to 20 January 1990, the Soviet army were deployed in Baku, Sumgait, and other cities and districts of the country without declaring a state of emergency and fired on civilians with various weapons. Armed forces killed 150 unarmed civilians mercilessly regardless of their nationality, age or sex, including children,women and elderly, 744 peaceful, innocent people were wounded in the capital city of Baku and surrounding areas, the hundreds went missing and 841 persons were unlawfully imprisoned. Even the ambulances and physicians carrying the injured persons were opened fire at, therefore medical staff became martyrs or were injured. After declaration of a state of emergency on January 20, 21 people were killed.

Thus, the international law norms and fundamental human rights were grossly violated, a violent crime against humanity was committed against our multinational people which stood in defense of freedom of the homeland and its own rights.          

On January 21, 1990 a harsh statement related to these bloody events was made by the National leader Heydar Aliyev in the city of Moscow on behalf of the Azerbaijani people and he demanded legal assessment of the massacre committed against our people on January 20 and punishment of the perpetrators. 

We would like to note with regret that, despite the gross violation of international legal instruments, as a result of the terrible act committed against humanity, one of the most horrible crimes of the XX century for its nature and scale, January 20 events have not been made international legal assessment so far, those ordering and perpetrators of the bloodshed have not been punished.

There are quite sufficient grounds that events occurred on the 20th January can be interpreted as a crime against humanity, which is one of the gravest types of international crimes according to the principles of international law, as well as to hold criminally responsible the military personnel who committed these atrocities and perpetrators who ordered this massacre, then USSR administration, in particular.

We strongly believe that the perpetrators of this bloody crime will soon be brought to justice by giving an international legal assessment of the tragedy of January 20, 1990.

We urge international institutions and the international community, as a whole, to give legal assessment to this criminal act that is associated with severe violations of human rights and is a breach of international legal norms."

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