Expert Affirms Full Application of 1948 UN Convention to Armenian Genocide

BRUSSELS–In a recent report–international law expert and former United Nations official Dr. Alfred De Zayas–concludes that the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide applies retroactively to the Armenian Genocide–and that the Turkish state remains fully responsible for reparations.

De Zayas (JD–Harvard University and Ph.D. University of Gttingen) teaches International Law at several European and American universities and recently retired from the United Nations where he was Secretary of the Commission on Human Rights.

Issued in response to an inquiry by the European Armenian Federation for Justice & Democracy–the De Zayas report reaffirms that the Armenian Genocide is not subject to a statute of limitations and neither is the obligation to punish the perpetrators–nor the obligation of the Turkish state to make reparations. The Armenian Genocide–as a crime of erga omnes,** becomes a key obligation of the international community as a whole.

Dr. De Zayas’s study demonstrates that the Convention of 1948 fully applies to the Armenian Genocide because it is based on pre-existing international law. "There are precedents for the retroactive nature of treaties–as in the case of the London Accord of August 8–1945 (the Charter of Nuremberg Tribunal)–as well as the case of the 1968 Convention on the Non-applicability of the Statutes of Limitation of War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity–and of the 1969 Vienna Convention on Treaty Rights," affirms Dr. De Zayas.

"Regardless of the Convention–the civil and penal responsibilities of Turkey regarding the Genocide still prevail," concludes the international law expert.

Hailing the international expert’s study–the Chairperson of the European Armenian Federation Hilda Tchoboian–contrasted it to the recent report on the same topic developed by the New York-based "International Center for Transitional Justice" (ICTJ)–at the request of the so-called "Turkish-Armenian Reconciliation Committee" (TARC). This center had concluded that–although they do not fulfill all the criteria of the definition of genocide–the events of 1915 can be called genocide–but that the classification does not give rise to legal–territorial and compensation claims.

"This in-depth and highly credible study by Dr. De Zayas definitively refutes the ICTJ’s conclusions. It is evident that the center’s unacceptable assertions were dictated by TARC expressly to manipulate international law for the benefit of a shameful agenda," declared Tchoboian.

The reports by UN Human Rights Commissioner Ben Whittaker in 1985–and by the ‘Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal–developed by international experts in 1984–had already established the significance of the Armenian Genocide in light of international law. The De Zayas report–which emphasizes the notion of dual responsibility of the international community as well as of the Turkish state–reaffirms the importance of our efforts to incorporate Turkey’s recognition of the Genocide within the framework of its application for membership to Europe," concluded Tchoboian.

For information–the De Zayas report is available on the following link http://www16.brinkster.com/eafjd/en/bulletins/dezayas_report.pdf

** Concept that international obligations are owed to the international community as a whole and are binding irrespective of consent; it is an increasingly important concept in contemporary international law.

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