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Azerbaijan Seeking Justice For Khojaly Massacre

BAKU, February 27, 2009 (RFE/RL) -- The Azerbaijani government said it is still trying to bring to justice those responsible for the events of the Khojaly massacre, as the 17th anniversary was marked on February 26.

Khojaly is a small Azerbaijani town in which hundreds of people, including many civilians, were killed by ethnic Armenian forces on February 25-26 during the Nagorno-Karabakh War in 1992.

Azerbaijani Deputy Military Prosecutor Ilham Mammadov told RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service that the arrest of Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic last summer "gave hope that the international justice mechanisms could also be used in respect to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict."

He said 268 names have been submitted to Interpol as suspected war criminals for actions during the Karabakh war, including 38 Armenian citizens accused of killings at Khojaly. Mammadov said the list includes several Armenian officials "who enjoy immunity now."

Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian was the head of the "self-defense forces" of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic when the massacre took place.

Armenian officials deny that top-level authorities were involved in the massacre and say Azerbaijani authorities failed to safely evacuate residents from the area during fighting.