April 10 marks the 26th anniversary Maragha massacre, of one of the most gruesome pogroms committed by the Azerbaijani military against Armenians during the Artsakh Liberation War. On this occasion Artsakh’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement to commemorate the victims and to draw attention to ongoing Azerbaijani aggression.
Below is the statement:
“The massacre of the inhabitants of the village of Maragha of the Artsakh Republic’s Martakert region, committed by the Azerbaijani army on April 10, 1992, is one of the most tragic episodes of Azerbaijan’s military aggression against Artsakh.
After intensive artillery shelling, the Azerbaijani troops invaded the village of Maragha, where 118 people remained, mostly the elderly, disabled, women, and children. As a result of the war crime committed with unprecedented cruelty by the Azerbaijani armed forces, over 50 people were killed and the rest, including 9 children and 29 women, were taken hostage. Some of them were later returned, but the fate of 19 hostages remains unknown to this day.
The village was liberated by the armed forces of Artsakh, however two weeks later, it was again attacked, and those who had returned to bury their relatives became victims of the new atrocities of the Azerbaijani army.
The attack on the village was not conditioned by a military necessity, but was was primarily aimed at exterminating its peaceful civilian population. The crime in Maragha became the continuation of the series of pogroms and deportations of Armenians in Sumgait, Baku, Kirovabad and other settlements of Azerbaijan, as well as in the villages of Northern Artsakh in 1988-1991․ These were intended to strangle at its birth the national-liberation struggle of the Armenians of Artsakh and deprive them of the homeland through ethnic cleansing and terror against Artsakh and the Armenian population of Azerbaijan.
The impunity of the organizers and perpetrators of these crimes created a fertile ground in Azerbaijan for enrooting the cult of hatred towards Armenians as a state policy and unbridled a propaganda of xenophobia, intolerance, and militarism. Azerbaijan’s aggression against Artsakh in April 2016, which was accompanied by war crimes against civilians and soldiers of the Artsakh Defense Army, demonstrated that the methods and approaches of the Azerbaijani side remained unchanged.”
Caroline Cox, a Vice-Speaker of the British House of Lords, who has been actively advocating for the rights of the people of Artsakh since the beginning of the liberation movement was one of the first eyewitnesses of the gruesome massacres, who visited the village hours after the events.
“It was like Golgotha…” Baroness Cox said after witnessing the atrocities committed by the Azeri armed forces.
“They are not of the human race,” said the Baroness about the Azerbaijani servicemen who had carried out the slaughter. Baroness Cox took pictures and videotaped the atrocities committed by the Azerbaijanis in the village of Maragha and also described them in her book “Ethnic Cleansing in Progress,” as well as in her numerous interviews.
“It is impossible to describe what we saw there. The village was completely destroyed. The people were burying the dead, rather to say anything that was possible to bury, charred human remains, tortured, cut or sawed parts of bodies. We saw the bloody swords by which they had done all these brutalities. After killing the villagers the Azeris robbed and burnt the village. By the way, they told us that the servicemen were followed by the civilians with trunks who were going to finish the robbery, – and we saw some of those trunks scattered all over the land, which the looters did not manage to take away with them,” Baroness Cox said in describing the atrocities.
In 2012, Baroness Cox told Panorama.am about what she witnessed when she visited Maragha hours after the massacre and the brutality she witnessed against the Armenian population there.
“We were in Stepanakert [then], and we heard there was an attack on the village, called Maragha. We immediately went out there on the day itself. Homes were still burning, still smoldering. We saw the evidence of the atrocities which had been carried out. I saw human bodies, beheaded. We had to do very unhappy thing of asking the local villagers if they would mind us to take photographic evidence of the bodies that they started to bury… I have one in front of me at the moment… And I also have a photograph in front of me of a villager holding an ear of his Armenian friend, which had been cut off by Azeris. So the horror was there. We also met some women, who survived, with photographs of their loved ones taken from their smoldering homes in order to have memories of their families who perished,” Baroness Cox told Panorama in 2012.
Watch videos of the afternath of the Maragha Massacres. WARNING: The videos contain scenes of grapghic nature, which may not be suitable for all viewers.