Letter to the Editor from Armenian Assembly of America

RE: "The Big Why On the Eve of the 90th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide"

Your March 25th commentary on the above subject constitutes a new low on misrepresentation of the facts and on the position of the Armenian Assembly. Just in case some of your readers missed your irresponsible core charge against our organization–you opined that the Assembly is "helping Turkey deny justice to the Armenian people". How is the Assembly doing this? By urging Members of Congress to invoke a study published by the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) that affirmed the fact of the Armenian Genocide. The ICTJ study declared that "the Events–viewed collectively–can thus be said to include all of the elemen’s of the crime of genocide as defined in the Convention–and legal scholars as well as historians–politicians–journalists and other people would be justified in continuing to so describe them."

As the Assembly has done over the decades of our support for congressional reaffirmation of the truth–our organization references third party judgmen’s on the fact of the Armenian Genocide. In this particular communication to Congress–we relied on four factors: President Reagan’s 1981 Proclamation that affirmed the Armenian Genocide–President Bush’s April 24 statemen’s that employ the textbook definition of genocide without using the word–the statement of 126 Holocaust and Genocide scholars declaring that the Armenian Genocide is an "incontestable fact" and the ICTJ statement quoted above.

Neither the separate nor the combined effect of these citations in the Assembly’s request to Congress to properly characterize this crime against humanity as genocide can be fairly portrayed as "denying justice to the Armenian people". There can be no question that the Assembly will continue to seek official–full and irrevocable U.S. reaffirmation of the Armenian Genocide – and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation knows this as our organizations work side by side on the 90th commemorative planning committees across the United States and as the Assembly works collaboratively with the ANCA on the Armenian-American community’s next effort in support of a congressional resolution.

As to the Asbarez charge that the ICTJ findings "let Turkey completely off the hook for Genocide," the commentary fails to use the following quotation regarding redress that contradicts the charge. According to the ICTJ study–"It does not purport to address the applicability of the Genocide Convention to the Events of–or the rights or responsibilities of concerned individuals or entities under–any other rubric of international law or the laws of any other nation." The Turkish government is not "off the hook" – not for its global denial campaign–not for its intimidation of other governmen’s and its own citizens–not for its recent passage of a law criminalizing public discussion of the Armenian Genocide and certainly not for dealing with the consequences of its inevitable acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide.

Sincerely,

Ross Vartian
Executive Director
Armenian Assembly of America

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