The results of the massacre were difficult to show; an unheard-of punitive crime was perpetrated against civilians. According to the medical examination, tens of the victims of the massacre, including women, children, and old people were killed with unusual brutality. The pieces of evidence broadcasted by international media indicate some dead bodies exhibit victims had been scalped alive; parts of bodies, such as, heads, legs, and ears had been mutilated; some had been burned alive. In this regard, most of the international newspapers and foreign witnesses share the bloodiness of the Khojaly massacre. It should be mention that Khojaly was a completely civilian settlement without serious military equipment and fortifications. The assault with heavy weapons no way be militarily justified because it provided no military advantage. Therefore, the act clearly constituted an unnecessary and excessive use of force. That is why it is clear that there were several intended reasons that why Armenia deliberately prepared a special plan for the ethnic cleansing of civilians in Khojaly.
In the first instance, it needs to be highlighted that when the attack broke out it was just the beginning of the interstate phase of the military hostilities; so undoubtedly, Armenia intended to intimidate Azerbaijani civilians to gain the psychological advantage for pursuing its subsequent acts of aggression and crush resistance to the occupation. The unprecedented degree of brutality, including killing at the point-black range and with special cruelty and subsequent desecration of corpses by Armenian invaders, can lead only to this conclusion.
In addition, as a town in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan with a total area of 0,94 sq, Khojaly lies in a strategic location in Nagorno-Karabakh on the main road from Shusha and Khankendi to Aghdam. It is situated 10 kilometers to the northeast of Khankendi, on the crossroads of the Aghdam-Shusha and Askeran-Khankendi main roads. Therefore, Armenian forces saw Khojaly as both a key strategic target to attack other cities and districts of Azerbaijan in the region. Possessing the only civil airport in the area also made Khojaly an important strategic centre of communications. Since the only airport in the region was located there, occupation of the city was crucial for the Armenians, because it would link Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia from the air.
Besides the strategic location of the Khojaly in Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenian intention to gain a psychological advantage during the war, the following statements by Armenian officials and various international authors of Khojaly tragedy show that without any question there was an intended plan behind the attack and most of the Armenians took it as “revenge” against civilians of Khojaly.
In this regard, Armenian author Markar Melkonian in his book My Brother’s Road: An American’s Fateful Journey to Armenia that he dedicated his brother Monte Melkonian, the well-known international terrorist and war criminal, mentioned that the town [Khojaly] “had been a strategic goal, but it had also been an act of revenge”. The author particularly mentions the role of the fighters of the two Armenian military detachments “Arabo” and “Aramo” and describes in detail how they butchered the peaceful inhabitants of Khojaly. Thus, as he puts it, some inhabitants of the town had almost made it to safety, after fleeing for nearly six miles, when “[Armenian] soldiers had chased them down”. The soldiers, in his words, “unsheathed the knives they had carried on their hips for so long, and began stabbing”.
Investigation of the interviews of Armenian officials also reveals the fact that Armenians intended the Khojaly massacre beforehand. As British journalist Thomas De Waal aptly writes: Yet Armenians now do admit that many Azerbaijani civilians were killed as they fled Khojaly. Some blame irregular Armenian fighters, acting on their behalf. An Armenian police officer, Major Valery Babayan, suggested revenge as a motive. He told the American reporter Paul Quinn-Judge that many of the fighters who had taken part in the Khojaly attack “originally came from Sumgait and places like that”.
De Waal also writes that during an interview with Serzh Sarkisian, the former Armenian president, who had been the head of the illegal separatist regime’s “Self-Defence Forces Committee” of Nagorno-Karabakh during the Khojaly tragedy, he said that; “We don’t speak loudly about these things”. “A lot was exaggerated” in the casualties, and the fleeing Azerbaijanis had put up armed resistance”. De Waal narrates that Sarkisian’s summation of what had happened, however, was more honest and more brutal: “Before Khojaly, the Azerbaijanis thought that they were joking with us, they thought that the Armenians were people who could not raise their hand against the civilian population. We were able to break that [stereotype]. And that’s what happened. And we should also take into account that amongst those boys were people who had fled from Baku and Sumgait”.
In answer to the journalist’s question as to whether he had any regrets about the deaths of thousands of people, Serzh Sargsyan answered also quite unabashedly: “I have absolutely no regrets”, since “such upheavals are necessary, even if thousands have to die”. These words, from a man holding the highest political and military post in Armenia, speak for themselves and disprove any attempt to deny Armenia’s responsibility for the crimes committed against Azerbaijani civilians during the conflict.
This statement of the former president of the Armenian Republic proves the fact that without any question Armenia deliberately planned the attack and most of the Armenians took it as “revenge” against the civil population of Khojaly. As Cornell puts it, “the attack was timed, in all likelihood not coincidentally, to occur on the anniversary of the Sumgait killings of Armenians four years earlier”.