The tragedy of Khojaly highlighted in the heart of Berlin
Press Release: On 24 February 2015, the new independent documentary Endless Corridor was screened at the Potsdamer Platz CinemaxX Berlin. This event, which was organised within the framework of the Justice for Khojaly campaign, commemorated the victims of the Khojaly Massacre, the worst single atrocity of the Armenian–Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, which claimed the lives of 613 civilians in 1992. The death toll included 106 women, 63 children and 70 elderly people. The evening also saw the launch of the book Khojaly Witness of a War Crime: Armenia in the Dock.
Karin Strenz, MP and Chair of the Germany–South Caucasus Parliamentary Friendship Group, welcomed an audience of around 350 politicians, businessmen, VIPs and media representatives. In her welcoming speech, she highlighted the importance of German–Azerbaijani relations.
Tale Heydarov, Chairman and Founder of The European Azerbaijan Society (TEAS) commented: “TEAS is proud to organise this and similar events within the Justice for Khojaly campaign. The goal of this campaign, which has been initiated by Mrs Leyla Aliyeva, Vice-President, Heydar Aliyev Foundation, is to raise international awareness of the massacre. The international Justice for Khojaly campaign was launched on 8 May 2008. Its rapid development indicates broad international support for the restoration of justice in the region. This support has been expressed at events in over 100 countries across Europe, America, Asia, and Africa, and has come from individuals and international organisations as well as from governments. TEAS is organising events within the Justice for Khojaly campaign in London, Paris, Strasbourg, Brussels, Bern, Dublin, Istanbul, Ankara, Rome, Luxembourg, and Vilnius, in addition to Berlin.”
Ian Peart, co-editor of the book entitled Khojaly Witness of a War Crime: Armenia in the Dock said: “This is the first independent publication to be published in English in the West about the Khojaly Massacre. Unique in its presentation of irrefutable facts, the book includes interviews with witnesses of the events in Khojaly, materials published in the international press, the views of foreign researchers, reports from international organisations, and rare pictures taken by international photographers.”
Endless Corridor is a documentary film that follows Lithuanian journalist Richard Lapaitis on a return trip to Azerbaijan, 20 years after he covered the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and Khojaly Massacre as a war correspondent – a story that has haunted him since. He returned with a humane desire to find out how the victims of this atrocity coped with their memories of loved ones being killed before their eyes. Russian journalist Victoria Ivleva also returned to reunite with Mehriban, a mother whose two-day-old baby she had saved in the turmoil. The film tells the stories of ordinary people, whose lives were devastated by the Armenian invasion of their homeland.
TEAS Germany closed the event with the following request: “Tonight’s event is also dedicated to Dilham Asgarov and Shahbaz Guliyev, two Azerbaijani civilians who were captured by the occupying forces in July when tending the graves of their relatives in their historic homeland. In December, an illegal ‘court’ sentenced them to 22 years and life, respectively. I urge all of those present to encourage the German government to place pressure on the Armenian government so they may be set free.”
Despite the passing of four UN Security Council resolutions against the invasion, Armenia continues to occupy Nagorno-Karabakh and the seven surrounding districts to this day. Currently nearly 20 percent of Azerbaijani territory remains occupied, and approximately 875,000 refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) still live in camps across Azerbaijan. The evening was dedicated to the memory of the Khojaly victims and those Azerbaijanis who only have one wish – to return home.