YEREVAN (Yerkir)–Levon Mkrtchian–who heads the Armenian Revolutionary Federation’s (ARF) faction in parliament–told a news briefing on Friday that the faction will propose legislation declaring the Sumgait massacres a day commemorating the forced deportation of Armenia’s from Azerbaijan.
Mkrtchian stressed the necessity of such legislation to counter Azeri attempts of pressuring the international community to recognize the Khojalu events as genocide.
The pogroms of Sumgait Armenia’s in February 1988 were the first instance of ethnic cleansing in what was still Soviet territory. The assault on Armenia’s living in Sumgait (a city located a half an hour drive away from the Azeri capital–Baku) took place in broad daylight–witnessed by numerous casual observers and passers by. The peak of the atrocities committed by the Azeris took place February 27 to 29–in 1988. The events were preceded by a wave of anti-Armenian statemen’s and rallies that swept over Azerbaijan in February 1988.
Documents corroborating the Sumgait massacres are currently in the hands of authorities throughout 12 former republics of the Soviet Union–where legal proceedings were launched.