My name is Vladik Avagyan. Maragha Brigade Commander Assistant/ Would you, please, tell us about what happened in the village of Maragha? Ō tell you in some words what happened in Maragha iat 5:30 am on April 10,1992. On April 10 at 5:30 am heavy cannonade against our village began ...They were firing from different types of shells: the so-called "grad" and armour - tanks... All members of the detachments in trenches took part in the defence of the village, thus fighting until 12am, i.e. for about 6 hours. Then we realized the inequality of the forces: they had aproximetly 20 armours, while we had only one IFV, it was impossible to resist to the enemy with it. We asked for assistance from the centre, which was a little bit late. When our forces came to our help it was too late, because the azeries had already invaded the village. Our forces had to leave as it was impossible to defend the village with 150 men only. But soon the assistance brigades from the centre reorganized their forces and threw back the enemy in about 4-5 hours. I think, that if azeries were to attack by themselves, I meen with their own infantry and armours only, they could not invade the village. All the commanders of the tanks were Russian officers, and the armour shells have undoubtedly been lobbed by them. Thus we saw a Russian officer looking out of the tank: he confused our Armenian guy-: with onions" and shouted in Russian "Rebiata, idite syuda" “Śů, guys, come here!"/ As soon as he realized they were Armeni≠ans /as they immediately opened fire/, he said to Azeries: "Vet armyane, strelyayte!" /Here are the Armenians, fire them/. Therefore, it proves that the IFVs were filled with Russian officers. The armours rolled in, followed by "the onions", and the groups of looters with pick-up trucks. They were mer≠ciless; they were slaughtering everybody on their way - old men, children and women. We all eyewitnessed it. They hacked children into quarters, took them into captivity... I have never seen such atrocities they commit≠ted... Of course, we've heard of things alike from papers and so on. But it was for the first time, that I saw people decapitated and the heads thrown too far from their bodies..., eyes put out, noses, ears cutoff... All of these has taken place before our very eyes. The homes were fully looted; they took whatever they saw. They drove the livestock, including the vikkage farm's 500 cattle. They took all the domestic animals, even rab≠bits. They looted my own property as well. 70 percent of the village homes had been pillaged and burnt. I do not know why, but after all of that we still defend ourselves. There is however nobody here, I think, to de≠fend the village. Crucial measures need to be taken. I don't know who should do it. We need shells, military equipment. I mean we need IFV to defend against IFV and not weapons. If the assistance was to come, we pro≠tect if not the houses, but at least our homeland would stay Armenian. I just ask the Government of Armenia, local Karabakhi authorities and our region's military authorities to treat this matter very seriously. The same situation is quite possible to happen any day now. We must prevent it. It's madnnssableto allow the homeland to be deserted.
Testimonies by informer
Vazgen Baghdassarian (Maragha resident)
"Hacked and disfigured bodies, dozens of innocent victims... they were my relatives, friends and neighbors. They were those with whom I grew up in Maragha. Borik Vardanian... He was in charge of water distribution during irrigation works in Maragha and neighboring Azeri lands. Azeris sawed off his head and took it with them. They wrote the following words on his body: "While distributing water you were striving for justice, and now you got what you deserve".
Borik's mother, 80-year-old Parandzem and his wife Zara were taken hostages. Aliosha Osipian, his wife Raya and mother Ersela were hacked as well Rima Vardanian's family (she and her 26-year-old son Karo) was crually murdered. During several years Nora Stepanian was committed to bed. Azeris broke her head (in fact she was 70-year-old). 52-year-old Shura Babayan was killed and his wife Varja burnt on fire. Their daughter, 25-year-old Laura was killed together with her mother-in-law Lena, whereas her 4 and 6-year-old sons Mher and Gevorg were taken hostages. Gurgen Barseghian was killed in his own house and his wife - in the cellar. Ruben and Amasia Hakobian were also murdered. 66-year-old Izabela Bairamian died under wheels of a tank. Seriozha Badalian was cut into numerous fragments and his wife Assya killed. Edik Badalian and his wife Ofelia were subjected to torture so that later on their daughter could hardly recognize their corpses. Their 28-year-old son Sassun was taken hostage and subsequently killed. Azeris knew Hamo Arakelian very well: in the course of several years he repaired Azeris' agricultural equipment in Mirbashir. However, it did not help: he was decapitated.
Date Translated by Robert Gasparian.
Testimonies by witnesses
Lena Barseghian: "My 70-year-old neighbor Vardanush and I were hiding in the basement. Azeris began shooting on the closed door of the basement. We were wounded and scared. Hence, we started screaming. Azeris intruded into the basement, beated us and took us away from it. Loosing much blood Vardanush fell and lost her consciousness. At that very moment a tank appeared and ran over Ikt, leaving a bloody mess behind it. 1 cannot but shiver on recalling those events. Together with others I was forced to take off my clothes and taken to Mirbashir. There the power was in hands of the deputy chief of militia. He sold us to other Azeris. At first I was taken to Mingechaur, from there to Kirovabad and then Baku. We were treated as if we were things, sold to whoever they wanted. It is hard to tell what we had passed through those days. Owing to my son Valter's efforts (he paid some three million rubles for me) i was released in exchange for an OMON soldier. Zhenja Isahac Gazarian: "Among hostages there were Razmik
Ervand Movsissiiin and his vvifc Svcia Suren Movsissian. Deputy Head of Mirlxislnr's prison treated them as if they were dogs. He did not let them stand up or speak. They were chained up and got no food. Some time later Sveta was killed and her husband, who had completely lost his human dignity by that time, was fed on her flesh. Subsequently he was murdered as well.
Date: Translated by Robert Gasparian
To the UN Human Rights Committee To whom it may concernOn April 10. 1992 the Azeri anny overrun the village of Maragha in Nagorno-Karabakh's Mardakert region.
During the offensive 49 people were taken hostage, while 51 - massacred.
My relatives including:
Father - Hambartsoumian Yasha Avancsovich, 1928
Brother -- Hambartsoumian Karo Yashayevich, 1959
Cousins -- Badalian Sassoun Edicovich, 1964, and Avagian Kamo Aleksandrovtch. 1963 were also taken hostage.
I still know nothing what happened to them. At last there is someone who will tell me about their fate. Every man has the right to existence and self-determination.
Out of 49 people taken hostage 18 were exchanged including 4 children aging 1.5-6.
S I g n a t u r e: Hambartsoumian Vagif Yashayevich
Date: 22/07/96 Translated by Emil Sahakian
On april 10 at 6 am Azeries opened tire at the vil≠lage. By 3 am we saw the villagers of Maragha-one with, a child in. his hands, the other with his belongings, the third one with old mother or father on his shoulders-fleeing. We took our 2-year old daughter on the shoulders and escaped to Levonarkh. They cut the nose and ears of my husband's uncle son-ln law... then took him out from the house and left on the road... They killed my brother óin law, too. The defence forces decided to enter the village to liberate, but they didn't know that Azeries were still there. My brother-in-law warned them: 'These are Azeries, go back, run away!" Our forces retreated to get ready to another defence attack. The Azeries killed, my brother-in- law; they threw him under the tank. We could not even burry him in a coffin, just digged a hole and. laid him there as he was. From. Hasanghaya we made our way to Levon≠arkh, from Levonarkh to Magavouz, then followed Mets Shen, Haterk, Stepanakert Armenia. During that period of time my husband was wounded, and. taken to the hospital where he soon passed away. Our son went back to Maragha with our defence forces. On August 15 he was killed in action defending for the village Mets Shen. T shudder with horror when. I recollect those, terrible days; how we fled... in rows, like in.the movies on.the massacre of 1915Just the very picture of the Genocide: people standing in rows on their own ways to escape death...
We stayed in our village, did not escape, heard of it too late. They took both my wife and my son and killed in the centre of the village at 10 or 11 am. The next morning our forces came to support Maragha, in time, threw out the amies, came to the upper village Hasandagha and asked if there was anybody from Maragha to inform that the latter has been liberated. I came back on feet, it took about 4-5km to Maragha, and saw people of Maragha massacred, and both my son and wife were lying dead. We buried then..,
The Azeries invaded, we could't, when I came back, I saw my dad and mom slaughtered... They killed even a woman: they tied her hands and feet and threw into fire of the neighbour's hedge. They even beheaded our neighbour and cut off his feet..., slaughtered him alive...
We stayed in our village, did not escape, heard of it too late. They took both my wife and my son and killed in the centre of the village at 10 or 11 am. The next morning our forces came to support Maragha, in time, threw out the amies, came to the upper village Hasandagha and asked if there was anybody from Maragha to inform that the latter has been liberated. I came back on feet, it took about 4-5km to Maragha, and saw people of Maragha massacred, and both my son and wife were lying dead. We buried then.., Barseghyan Vladik:The Azeries invaded, we could't, when I came back, I saw my dad and mom slaughtered... They killed even a woman: they tied her hands and feet and threw into fire of the neighbour's hedge. They even beheaded our neighbour and cut off his feet..., slaughtered him alive...
I used to work at the hospital. Due to the shelling, the hospital was moved to the basement. On the 10th at 5.00 a.m. we heard some firing. On the way, just before getting to Maragha, we saw a tank with its gun tube towards the people...Then I saw my daughter standing by the pole (at that time she was a little girl, now she is 23) and I asked her, "Armine, why didn't you leave with grandma?" and she said, "Mom, I wouldn't leave without you."
I took my child's hand and we walked to the neighbour's door, and then I suddenly remembered that my son had been at home with a neighbour. I asked, "Armine, what about Ararat?" She said, "Mom, he's at home, let's go back". We went back to the house, uncle Stepan, a neighbour of ours was also there. I said, "Uncle Stepan, the Azeris entered Maragha, it's over." Uncle Stepan took his coat and went out and while my son was putting his shoes on, the Azeris got to the other neighbour's house. We passed through the houses and ran away. As we were running, I was hit in the back by a shell splinter. When I was hit, I cried out, "Oh, I'm dying, oh, I'm dying." My children were crying and I told them, "Stop crying, √11 be well." We got to the fence, passed through the bars and went out to the road.
Then I said, "Aro, can you pull the splinter out, it hurts me badly." I was bleeding and I had the overall on me, the white overall. He said, "Mom, what shall I do?" I said, "Tear this overall, wrap it and put it on the wound." He did so and we walked on. Then my daughter asked me, "Mom, what about father, what about my brothers?" I told her, "Well, what shall I do? I can't leave you here and go back." We reached the highway, near the village administration building. On our way we met Alik Avagimyan. I said to him, "Alik, my dear, the Azeris entered Maragha, where are you going with your gun on your shoulder? Go back, the Azeris will kill you as well." He said, "No, my mom and my dad stayed at home." He told me this and set off. He walked on and down a few houses the Azeris killed him.
We walked on and on till we got to Hasanghaya. We saw that people abandoned Hasanghaya as well. There was an aged woman, called Parandzem. She used to be a seller in the shop. I said, "Aunt Parandzem, what shall I do with the children?" She said, "Don't be afraid, don't be afraid, don't be afraid!" I said, "Aunt Parandzem, take a knife, if there's anything you kill my children. I don't want the Azeris kill them." She said, "Don't worry, √11 take you out of here this way." When I got to this (building) complex, I saw that it was on fire, it was burning. If we went that way, there would be no way out, what would we do?" I went back and forth till I saw a tank coming from Shahumian. A boy, I don't remember his name, he stopped the tank and gave some bread to my children. They gave a piece of bread to one child and another piece to the other. They gave them some cheese too. We took it and walked on, it was already dark. We walked on to Maghavouz. The head of the Maghavouz community kindly accepted us. He said,
"Don't cry, don't cry, everything will be well." I said, "I left my children there, how can not cry?" At 5.00 a.m. I woke up the children and told them that we were going to Maragha. When we got there, we saw bodies, lying on the road. Blood was flowing down. I walked down to Maragha and saw that the blood was flowing like a river; dead bodies were lying on the ground. Then I saw Alik, I had told him to go back, he was also slaughtered...
I walked on and saw a sheaf of stack near our house and my middle son sitting on it. I cried to him, "Artak!" He told me in reply, "Mom, don't cry, we wrapped dad's body up in a plastic bag, he's at the school building." I asked him, "Where is Armen?" He answered, "Mom, don't say anything to Armen, he's crying."
Our house was completely burned down, nothing was left...
They killed our neighbour and then burned his body. My father-in-law was also killed; they slaughtered him in his house, then took his body out and threw it away. He had been saying, "I won't go anywhere, I won't leave Maragha."
"On April 10 as a result of military actions in Agdara (Martakert region - edit.) four armoured personnel carriers (APC) were hit, twenty Armenians were captured, more than hundred of them were killed" ("War chronicle" Baku, "Azadlyg," April 14, 1992)