MARAGHA

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PROVISIONAL COMMISSION IS NOT THERE TO DEMAND WAR INDEMNITY

01/03/2006

At the last session of the NKR parliament the lawmakers passed a law on setting up a provisional commission to study the Azerbaijani violence against the Armenians of Nagorno Karabakh in the period of 1988-1992. This decision is dictated by the need to present Azerbaijans illegal acts before the world community, particularly the OSCE Minsk Group and the PACE. The author of this initiative was Vahram Atanesian, head of the Foreign Relations Committee of the parliament. Mr. Atanesian told daily Azg that the commission will work till the end of the year and the materials it will gather during this period will be sent to international structures as well as will be posted on the Internet. Suchlike commission was set up in June 12 1992 too but it did not function because of the war and later because of the sensitiveness of the peace talks. As today the sides discuss humanitarian aspects of the conflict, the parliament sees it rightful to present to the world community the massacre of Maragha in 1992, the take-over of part of Shahumian and Martaker regions and the humanitarian crisis that it incited. The most essential though will be the study of notorious "Koltso" operation on May 15 1991 organized by the State Emergency Committee. Mr. Atanesian reminded that at one point in time Russias Supreme Council also organized hearings on "Koltso" operation. The researches of the provisional commission by no means aim at demanding war indemnity from Azerbaijan, as it is not within the parliaments power. Vahram Atanesian thinks that the government of Nagorno Karabakh has also to put before the world community all facts of violence against the Azeri inhabitants of Karabakh and the fact of considering them "second-rate citizens" of the country. The parliamentarian explained that in exchange for the evacuated Azeri population from Karabakhs Azeri villages, Baku authorities sent special militia units, terrorists and outlaws. He assured that there are materials and videotapes to prove this.

By Kim Gabrielian in Stepanakert
AZG Armenian Daily #037, Karabakh diary

SURVIVORS OF THE MARAGHAR MASSACRE:IT WAS TRULY LIKE A CONTEMPORARY GOLGOTHA MANY TIMES OVER

By Baroness Caroline Cox of Queensbury

The ancient kingdom of Armenia was the first nation to embrace Christianity in AD 301. Modern Armenia, formerly a Soviet republic, declared autonomy in September 1991 and today exists as a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States. There you find many of the oldest churches in the world, and a people who have upheld the faith for nearly 1,700 years, often at great cost.

Nowhere has the cost been greater than in the little piece of ancient Armenia called Nagorno-Karabakh, cruelly cut off from the rest of Armenia by Stalin in 1921, and isolated today as a Christian enclave within Islamic Azerbaijan. Only 100 miles north to south, 50 miles east to west, there are mountains, forests, fertile valleys, and an abundance of ancient churches, monasteries, and beautifully carved stone crosses dating from the fourth century.

This paradise became hell in 1991. Vying with Armenia for control of this enclave, Azerbaijan began a policy of ethnic cleansing of the Armenians of Karabakh, and 150,000 Armenians were forced to fight for the right to live in their historic homeland. It was a war against impossible odds: 7 million-strong Azerbaijan, helped by Turkey and, at one stage, several thousand mujahideen mercenaries.

On April 10, 1992, forces from Azerbaijan attacked the Armenian village of Maraghar in northeastern Karabakh. The villagers awoke at 7 a.m. to the sound of heavy shelling; then tanks rolled in, followed by infantry, followed by civilians with pick-up trucks to take home the pickings of the looting they knew would follow the eviction of the villagers.

Azeri soldiers sawed off the heads of 45 villagers, burnt others, took 100 women and children away as hostages, looted and set fire to all the homes, and left with all the pickings from the looting.

I, along with my team from Christian Solidarity Worldwide, arrived within hours to find homes still smoldering, decapitated corpses, charred human remains, and survivors in shock. This was truly like a contemporary Golgotha many times over.

I visited the nearby hospital and met the chief nurse. Hours before, she had seen her son's head sawn off, and she had lost 14 members of her extended family. I wept with her: there could be no words.

With the fragile cease-fire that began in May 1994, we have been able to visit survivors of the massacre at Maraghar. Unable to return to their village, which is still in Azeri hands, they are building "New Maraghar" in the devastated ruins of another village. Their "homes" are empty shells with no roofs, doors, or windows, but their priority was the building of a memorial to those who died in the massacre.

We were greeted with the traditional Armenian ceremony of gifts of bread and salt. Then a dignified elderly lady made a speech of gracious welcome, with no hint of reference to personal suffering. She seemed so serene that I thought she had been away on that terrible day of the massacre. She replied: "As you have asked, I will tell you that my four sons were killed that morning, trying to defend us but what could they do with hunting rifles against tanks? And then we saw things no human should ever have to see: heads that were too far from their bodies; people hacked into quarters like pigs. I also lost my daughter and her husbandwe only found his bloodstained cap. We still don't know what happened to them. I now bring up their children. But they have forgotten the taste of milk, as the Azeris took all our cows."

How can one respond to such suffering and such dignity? Since the cease-fire, we have undertaken a program to supply cows. On our last visit, we met this grandmother, and, smiling, she said: "Thank you. Our children now know the taste of milk."

Nagorno-Karabakh is a place where we have found miracles of grace. The day of the massacre I asked the chief nurse, whose son had been beheaded, if she would like me to take a message to the rest of the world. She nodded, and I took out my notebook.

With great dignity, she said: "I want to say, 'Thank you.' I am a nurse. I have seen how the medicines you have brought have saved many lives and eased much suffering. I just want to say, 'Thank you,' to all those who have not forgotten us in these dark days."


Baroness Cox of Queensbury is a defender of human rights in the House of Lords, United Kingdom, as well as a prominent educationalist and author. Baroness Cox was created a Life Peer in 1982 and has been Deputy Speaker of the British Parliament's House of Lords since 1985 to the present. She is Chancellor of Bournemouth University and Vice President of the Royal College of Nursing and President of the Institute of Administrative Management. Baroness Cox is heavily involved with international humanitarian and human rights endeavours, serving as non-executive director of the Andrei Sakharov Foundation and as a trustee of MERLIN (Medical Emergency Relief International) and is the President of Christian Solidarity Worldwide (P.O. Box 99, New Malden, Surrey, KT3 3YF, England).

Magazine: Christianity Today, April 1998 Vol. 42, No. 5

Link: www.cilicia.com

Statement by the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic

12 April 1992

On April 10, whilst representatives of the Russian Federation and Islamic Republic of Iran were in Nagorno-Karabakh Republic with the mediation mission, the National Army of Azerbaijan following a sustained rocket and artillery bombardment made a massed attack with the support of armoured forces and occupied a part of the Armenian village, Maraga, in Martakert region. The enemy was repelled from the Maraga and over the NKR border following a counter attack by the NKR Forces of Defense. All inhabitants of the occupied part of the village were brutally killed, and their homes looted and burned. Up to now, 45 corpses, mostly old men and women have been identified. The Azerbaijani leadership, motivated by political ambitions, continues large-scale armed operations against NKR to aid the process of electoral struggle. The peaceful population of Maraga village was barbarically killed, although there had not been any military necessity for such an event. This crime must not remain unpunished, and the leadership of the Republic of Azerbaijan bears full responsibility for the consequences of these actions.

Stepanakert, Link: www.nkr.am

A Soldier of Independence

April 24, 2006

In 1991 the Soviet Army and Azerbaijani military groupings were the masters of the situation in the Shahumyan region. Under these circumstances, Leonid and his comrades managed to carry out the self-defense of Armenian villages.

The Liberation Army stood out compared to other military detachments for its discipline. In the course of four years and dozens of battles, Leonid lost six only soldiers. He trained his soldiers to be ready for every hardship. Smoking and drinking were strictly prohibited. There was no other detachment like this in Karabakh. His boys trained for eight hours a day. He was preparing soldiers for a regular army.

Before combat he would always order, "Don't shoot at unarmed people," and would add, "Don't shoot at fleeing soldiers either. Let them go."

He gave that order the day the military station near the village of Aghdaban was destroyed. That same day the Azerbaijanis came and massacred the peaceful residents of the village of Maragha. Leonid and his unit rushed to Maragha. The enemy suffered heavy losses and retreated, leaving behind the villagers they had killed, dozens of mutilated bodies of children, women, and old people.

Leonid admired the natural beauty of Karabakh and said, "Armenians have no sense of beauty; if they had they wouldn't have given up Karabakh, for that reason alone. Giving something so beautiful away to somebody else is a crime."

Leonid's dream was to create a national army with a powerful Armenian state behind it. But the Army was taking shape slowly at that time. When we last met (it was after the opening of the Lachin corridor) he said, "These victories will come to nothing because there is no regular army behind them."

He could not reconcile himself to the surrender of the Shahumyan region and parts of Martakert after the opening of the Lachin road. The fact that some soldiers left these regions before the residents did filled Leonid with rage. He said that they should be punished. He was planning to liberate Shahumyan with his soldiers.

Leonid's best friend and his favorite soldier was the commander of the Artsakh Front unit of the Liberation Army, Vladimir Balayan.

Leonid considered Vladimir a born military expert. Vladimir Balayan was killed on June 9, 1992 defending the village of Chailu in the Martakert region. That day Leonid's soldiers saw their commander crying like a baby for the first and last time.

"He was killed, he went to the gods because they needed him there. Therefore, we have to defend our country so that he doesn't become a martyr. He is a victim, not a martyr," Leonid told the people who gathered for the funeral.

After Vladimir's funeral, he didn't speak to anybody for two hours; he just stood by himself. Then he waved his hand and said, "I'll go and meet Vladimir there - in heaven."

Twelve days later Leonid Azgaldyan was killed.

On different occasions, Leonid used say, "The nation that loses Karabakh will be completely overthrown."

Edik Baghdasaryan

THE TRAGEDY OF MARAGHA

9 years ago on April 10,1992, a tragedy, which, on different estimations, caused 49-53 victims, took place in the village of Maragha, Martakert region. 50 more people, including 9 children, were taken hostages. The fate of many of them still remains unknown. The Azerbaijani armed units the OMON (militia units on special purpose) detachments, which, supported by twenty tanks, had entered Maragha, committed unprecedented by their cruelty crimes against peaceful villagers. The massacre was resumed on April 22-23, when the survived people of Maragha returned to bury the deceased ones. The facts on the victims of Maragha have been confirmed by different international human rights organizations, in particular, the organization Helsinki Watch. Caroline Cox, Viced-Speaker of the British Parliaments House of Lords, visiting the tragedy place, witnessed how in the fully destroyed village people were burying the remains of the cut up and sawed bodies, as well as burned alive adults and children. Later, Baroness Cox described the atrocities of the Azerbaijanis in the village of Maragha in her book "Ethnic Cleansing Is Going On". The tragedy of Maragha is regarded as one of the most terrible examples of genocide.

Link: www.nkr.am

PROVISIONAL COMMISSION IS NOT THERE TO DEMAND WAR INDEMNITY

01/03/2006

At the last session of the NKR parliament the lawmakers passed a law on setting up a provisional commission to study the Azerbaijani violence against the Armenians of Nagorno Karabakh in the period of 1988-1992. This decision is dictated by the need to present Azerbaijans illegal acts before the world community, particularly the OSCE Minsk Group and the PACE. The author of this initiative was Vahram Atanesian, head of the Foreign Relations Committee of the parliament. Mr. Atanesian told daily Azg that the commission will work till the end of the year and the materials it will gather during this period will be sent to international structures as well as will be posted on the Internet. Suchlike commission was set up in June 12 1992 too but it did not function because of the war and later because of the sensitiveness of the peace talks. As today the sides discuss humanitarian aspects of the conflict, the parliament sees it rightful to present to the world community the massacre of Maragha in 1992, the take-over of part of Shahumian and Martaker regions and the humanitarian crisis that it incited. The most essential though will be the study of notorious "Koltso" operation on May 15 1991 organized by the State Emergency Committee. Mr. Atanesian reminded that at one point in time Russias Supreme Council also organized hearings on "Koltso" operation. The researches of the provisional commission by no means aim at demanding war indemnity from Azerbaijan, as it is not within the parliaments power. Vahram Atanesian thinks that the government of Nagorno Karabakh has also to put before the world community all facts of violence against the Azeri inhabitants of Karabakh and the fact of considering them "second-rate citizens" of the country. The parliamentarian explained that in exchange for the evacuated Azeri population from Karabakhs Azeri villages, Baku authorities sent special militia units, terrorists and outlaws. He assured that there are materials and videotapes to prove this.

By Kim Gabrielian in Stepanakert
AZG Armenian Daily #037, Karabakh diary
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