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East West Street

Updated: Apr 16, 2021

Fascinating, but important issues related to the Armenian Genocide and the fight against the root causes of human rights violations.

Alexis Krikorian


A new word, which was used at the Nuremberg Trial. (...). The act of genocide targets an ethnic group as a whole, and its actions target individuals not as such but as members of that group. The action takes place in two stages, destroying elements of the possessing ruling class, then replacing them with the ruling class of the oppressor (...). We read these lines, we follow the Nuremberg Trial - and our thoughts go to a distant world where, in the same way, thirty years ago, "war crimes" occurred. According to a plan conceived and premeditated in order to annihilate an abandoned and defenseless people during the Great War.

At that time, too, the same methods planned in advance - decimating leaders (rulers), disintegrating any organization, destroying, draining at the root any political life, any form of social, cultural and economic organization. Then massacre in groups, en masse, exterminate. On the spot, on the deportation routes or in the deserts. Exterminate using the sword, the dagger, the gun, the cannon, the axe, stones, the adze, the mace or the club. By gallows and fire. Sentenced to starvation or to be thrown into rivers or the sea. Even to the point of inoculating microbes. Nail in boxes newborn babies still at the breast ... In a word: Genocide!

At that time, where were the lawyers and judges of today? Had they not discovered the word, or was the bloodthirsty monster so powerful and out of reach that they could not apprehend it? Our revolt is tenfold, all the more so because, even then, the victors were already there, at the scene of the crime. They stayed there for four whole years and reigned supreme, as they do today in Germany. At that time too, hundreds of arrests were made and seventy of these monsters were transferred to Malta to be tried and to serve the sentence they deserved.

And since then? Has the world improved, from Istanbul, Malta and all the way to Nuremberg, Berlin or Auschwitz? If only it were so! Let these hyenas of genocide be judged, punished without mercy! But where was the first "exemplary" lesson of the genocide of the new age inaugurated?"

Editorial "Genocide" by Chavarche Missakian, in Haratch No. 208, 9 December 1945[1].

Knowing my interest in the question of genocide, a very close friend of mine lent me a few months ago "Retour à Lemberg[1]" by Philippe Sands, saying "you'll see, it's a page-turner, it's really good". The period of confinement finally gave me the opportunity to "get on with it". And I confirm: it is a captivating book. It gives food for thought and, at the same time, raises a number of fundamental questions about the Armenian Genocide and the role of NGOs to combat the root causes of human rights violations in particular in Turkey. It also gives me the opportunity to share some family memories on Armenian Genocide Memorial Day.

A fascinating book in many ways

Let's start at the beginning. The book is a fascinating one that represents an unprecedented amount of research, as one can well imagine. You learn a great deal from it. Written in the style of a historical adventure novel, coupled with a family memoir, the breathless rhythm keeps us on edge. Like when Lemkin flees the Nazi advance into invaded Poland, for example. His crossing of the USSR and Imperial Japan to reach a university in North Carolina at the beginning of the Second World War is a crazy journey: a direction (from west to east) that one would not have imagined!

The author had to conduct a meticulous investigation to find Miss Tilney, the brave British woman who saved his mother, or the man in a bow tie, Emil Lindenfeld, putting together, each time, a complex puzzle. This in-depth investigation, which marvelously mixes the family story with world history, gives back to the different protagonists all their humanity, whether famous or not. Starting from a photo, or inadvertently from a conversation, Philippe Sands follows the thread and discovers incredible things, thanks also to the help of investigators in Central and Eastern Europe. He doesn't hesitate to go to the most intimate level, for example, when he wonders about the sexuality of his beloved grandfather, Leon Buchholz. Or when he wonders about the reality of the relationship, in Vienna, between his grandmother Rita and Emil Lindenfeld. The book is thus punctuated with small nuggets, such as the letter from Doctor Steiner to Leon, which confirms the marital problems of Leon and Rita on the eve of World War II, and which could explain why Leon had left alone for Paris at that time.

The chapter on Miss Tilney is perhaps the most moving. The author was a thousand times right to pay tribute to this heroine who saved his mother's life, Rita. The humility of this woman - the fact that she told no one that she saved Rita and another young man later in occupied France - is perhaps the most touching.

Since, by comparison, the Armenian Genocide is older than the key moments of the book, we don't have many documents or photographs to "investigate". My paternal grandfather Krikor (1907-1985) was born in the village of Morenig (now Çatalçeşme) in the Harput Plain. The little boy on the right in the photo above is my grandfather Krikor. On the left is his paternal uncle, Constantine Krikorian. Krikor was born in 1907. Given his appearance, it may be estimated that Krikor was 2-3 years old, and thus this picture is probably from 1910. At that time, Krikor's father, my great-grandfather Ghazar, had already left his hometown of Morenig and immigrated to Belfort, France. Constantine was most likely killed in 1915. My paternal grandmother Satenig was born in Shabin Karahisar (Şebinkarahisar) in or around 1910. Her father, my great-grandfather Levon, ran a café on the church square of Shabin and the family lived above it. Unlike Satenig, Krikor never talked about what happened in 1915, a bit like Leon, the author's grandfather. Orphans of the Armenian Genocide (with my grandfather having lost his mother in 1915), they married and had three children: my father Lazare (named after his grandfather), my uncle Marc and my dear aunt Vartanouche. Throughout her life, Satenig confided her sorrow and pain to Vartanouche: the long weeks spent in the fortress of the town, the massacre of the men, the long march towards death, babies drowned in rivers by despairing mothers, individuals placed in coffins with their heads sticking out so that they could be beheaded by men riding horses, etc.

The little boy on the left (wearing a hat) is again my grandfather Krikor. The identity of the others is unknown; they are most likely other family members. The postcard is addressed to Krikor and is written by his father Ghazar. He writes the following:

"My son Krikor, I miss you terribly… Here is a photo of yourself from when you were very young. I send you this photo so you believe that your father still wishes to hold you. However, my darling, I cannot make my wish come true with only a piece of paper. You have one more photo like this with your uncle Constantine, that photo my dear, I shall keep with me". The photo that Ghazar mentions is in fact the first photo with Krikor and his uncle Constantine. Krikor, a survivor, after passing through Greece, only arrived in France in 1926; it was there that he reunited with his father Ghazar, whom he hadn't seen for at least 16 years--and whom he probably didn't even know--which must have been overwhelming.

Street of Morenig - Çatalçeşme (2004)

Fortress of Shabin Karahisar (2004)
Inside of the Fortess where Satenig spent long weeks before being deported (2004)
New York Times, 18 August 1915

The distance, the loss of documents, and the destruction of archives also make it difficult for descendants of Armenian Genocide survivors to follow the thread. But I felt it was important to bear witness to the history of my grandparents on this day of remembrance. The little I had in my possession can be found on the Houshamadyan website[2], a wonderful project that aims to reconstruct Ottoman Armenian town and village life.

Now, back to the book. The author does justice to Lemkin and Lauterpacht, two founders of modern international law[3], whose private lives were generally unknown (in contrast to a writer like Stefan Zweig, for example, whose life we know everything about, from his birth in the posh districts of Vienna to his self-inflicted death in 1942 near Rio de Janeiro). I love Zweig, who was able to capture the crazy dance of human feelings so well. When I had a chance I even visited his last home in Petropolis. Yet, what was his actual contribution to a fairer world, trying at last to respect human rights and to banish genocide, especially in view of the contribution of figures such as Lauterpacht or Lemkin? In my humble opinion, we must pay tribute to Philippe Sands for this important realization.

In addition to Raphael Lemkin, Hersch Lauterpacht and Leon Buchholz, Hans Frank, a Nazi dignitary, lawyer--like the author--, and Head of the General Government in occupied Poland from 1939 to 1945, is one of the main characters in the book. He helped prepare the Nuremberg Laws, which deprived Jews of their rights as citizens and prohibited sexual relations outside marriage between Jews and Germans. He is described as a staunch supporter of the national community, which he placed above individuals and groups. The parallel with the ideology that has ruled Turkey uninterrupted since World War I is striking here.

Finally, the city of Lemberg, which was in turn Austrian, Polish (Lvov), and then Ukrainian (Lviv), also plays a central role in the book, as the site of the worst atrocities ever committed on European soil and as the matrix of post-World War II international law as a vehicle for a fairer world. The main characters, Lemkin, Lauterpacht, Leon and Frank, have in common that they spent part of their lives in Lviv/Lemberg, from a few days to several years. Lauterpacht and Leon were born there. Lauterpacht and Lemkin studied law there. Frank gave several speeches there in August 1942, as Lemberg and Galicia had been incorporated into occupied Poland after Operation Barbarossa. The large roundup in Lemberg sent 50,000 Jews to the Belzec extermination camp. The final solution, decided at Wannsee, began on Frank's administered territory. The families of Lemkin, Lauterpacht and Leon Buchholz were decimated there.

In a speech, Frank thanked Hitler for "giving" him Galicia, the "original source" of the Jewish world, adding that "the control of Lemberg makes it possible to tackle the heart of the Jewish problem". Frank's diary is quite damning in that regard. Under his authority in occupied Poland, the number of Jews fell from 3.5 million to 100,000, the author reminds us.

The author met two sons of Nazi leaders, Niklas, son of Frank, and Horst, son of Otto von Wächter, governor of Galicia who worked under Frank's orders. While Niklas firmly rejected the memory of his father (in 1987 he wrote Der Vater: Eine Abrechnung[4] in which he questions his father's remorse before his death), Horst is more in a form of understanding, even rehabilitation, of his father. In the Armenian case, there is undeniably a kinship between Niklas and Hasan Cemal, grandson of Cemal Pasha, a member of the Triumvirate guilty of the Armenian Genocide. Both are journalists. Both of them have acknowledged their parents' crimes. Hasan Cemal had indeed the courage to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide. He went to meet the Armenian communities scattered around the world as a result of the genocide on many occasions. He wrote the book 1915 the Armenian Genocide (Publisher: Gomidas Inst). He is a righteous man, among many other Turkish righteous people such as Ragip Zarakolu, Taner Akçam, Eren Keskin, Fethiye Cetin, Murat Belge, Pinar Selek, Halil Berktay, and dozens of others.

As the author points out, it was for the first time in Nuremberg that leaders of a State were being tried for crimes against humanity and genocide by an international tribunal[5]. Amongst the accused were: Hans Frank, Herman Göring, Joachim Ribbentrop, Rudolf Hess, Ernst Kaltenbrunner and Alfred Rosenberg, one of the theorists of Nazism.

The charges were as follows:

- Conspiracy to commit international crimes;

- Crimes against peace;

- Crimes against humanity;

- War crimes, including genocide.

For those who say that the Armenian Genocide was not a genocide, that it was war, that there was a lot of violence, etc., this should at least offer an interesting perspective.

All of the accused pleaded “not guilty”.

The author tells us about the great opening speech of Jackson, the American prosecutor, to whom Lauterpacht was close. In this speech, he said, among other things, that "the real plaintiff is not the Allies, but civilization". He mentioned "crimes against humanity", but not "genocide". Lauterpacht was also close to the British delegation. At his request, he improved the speech of the British prosecutor, Shawcross. He took the opportunity to put forward his ideas on the protection of individuals and crimes against humanity. He appeared as one of the precursors of the right to interfere (i.e., nations can intervene to protect "human rights"). Shawcross also did not mention the term "genocide", only French and Soviet prosecutors did. The author also underlines that the American reluctance at Nuremberg may have been explained by the fear in southern political circles of the repercussions on "Blacks" and "American Indians". 74 years later, when the American Congress - as a whole - finally recognized the Armenian Genocide, Turkey did not hesitate to recall the extermination of the Amerindians: the difference being that President Barack Obama had meanwhile promulgated the law on the apology to the Amerindians in December 2009[6]. This American history can nevertheless shed light on the historical reluctance of the American executive branch to “call a spade a spade” in the Armenian case[7].

The author describes the actual lobbying of the various delegations by Lemkin and Lauterpacht to put forward their ideas and ensure that they prevailed in Nuremberg. He sums up the debate very interestingly as follows: “How can international law prevent mass murder?". "By protecting the individual”, says Lauterpacht. “By protecting the group,” says Lemkin. It was a very theoretical debate that did not interest everyone, starting with the British judge Geoffrey Lawrence, who had been appointed to preside over the trial[8].

In the account of the trial (in particular Rajzman's terrifying testimony about the gas chambers), Philippe Sands mixes Lauterpacht's and Lemkin's private life and their doubts about the fate, which would prove fatal, of their family. It seems to me that, in doing so, the author shows that law is not only cold organic matter, but that it is also influenced by human beings and their tragic fate. Lauterpacht contributed greatly to Shawcross's conclusive legal arguments. At that moment he finally learnt of the tragic fate of his family. His entire family was decimated. Only his niece Inka survived. She then came to live with Lauterpacht and his wife in England. At the same time, Lemkin's lobbying paid off: the term "genocide", which had disappeared, was reintroduced into the proceedings.

After the defendants' lawyers, it was the turn of the prosecutors to speak for the last time. Jackson spoke about the conspiracy, the final solution, but not about genocide. Shawcross devoted himself to the facts. The part written by Lauterpacht was partly rewritten. Shawcross added the term "genocide" many times. However he kept most of Lauterpacht's ideas. In particular, the fact that those who help the State to commit a crime against humanity cannot enjoy immunity. France, for its part, sought a conviction for genocide.

In the final statements, Frank definitively reversed his admission of responsibility, while at the beginning of the trial he had been the only defendant to express a sense of guilt for himself and for Germany, "disgraced for a 1000 years".

At the end of the proceedings, Lemkin finally learnt of the death of his parents, Bella and Josef. His brother Elias survived miraculously because he had taken his family on holiday to the USSR in June 1941, just before the Germans invaded Galicia.

At the time of the verdict, which took two days, Lauterpacht was in Nuremberg, and Lemkin in Paris for the peace conference. Leon was also in Paris. On the first day, crimes against humanity became part of international law for the first time. On the second day, of the 21 accused, 3 were acquitted, 18 were found guilty, some of them of crimes against humanity, such as Frank who was sentenced to death by hanging. None were found guilty of genocide. In total 12 were sentenced to death.

Lauterpacht was relieved: the individual will from now on be protected and individual criminal responsibility for the worst crimes was now possible. State sovereignty was no longer a refuge. Lemkin, for his part, spoke of the "Nuremberg nightmare". But the United Nations Assembly soon adopted a resolution on genocide that led to the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

About the importance of the Tripartite Declaration of 24 May 1915, the 1920 Treaty of Sèvres and the Turkish Courts-Martial of 1919-1920 on the Road to Nuremberg

First time the term "crimes against humanity" is used and that the the responsibility of those who help the State commit them is mentioned in an interstate declaration .
Tripartite Declaration of 24 May 1915

While it is true that "crimes against humanity" were first prosecuted at the International Military Tribunal (IMT) in Nuremberg (and also in Tokyo), it is also true that the term "crimes against humanity" was first used in an inter-state declaration on 24 May 1915 by the Allied governments of France, Great Britain and Russia, and not Great Britain and the United States as the book somewhat erroneously states[9]. In this declaration, the warning to the Young-Turk government is in the following terms:

"For about a month the Kurd and Turkish populations of Armenia has been massacring Armenians with the connivance and often assistance of Ottoman authorities. Such massacres took place in middle April (new style) at Erzerum, Dertchun, Eguine, Akn, Bitlis, Mush, Sassun, Zeitun, and throughout Cilicia. Inhabitants of about one hundred villages near Van were all murdered. In that city the Armenian quarter is besieged by Kurds. At the same time in Constantinople Ottoman Government ill-treats inoffensive Armenian population. In view of those new crimes of Turkey against humanity and civilization, the Allied governments announce publicly to the Sublime-Porte that they will hold personally responsible [for] these crimes all members of the Ottoman government and those of their agents who are implicated in such massacres".

Thus, it appears that this declaration, made at the heart of the Armenian Genocide, was an important milestone that led to Nuremberg in at least two ways:

1. The first mention of the term "crimes against humanity" in an inter-state declaration, and,

2. The declared intention to try the members of the Ottoman Turkish government responsible for "crimes against humanity".

What does that tell us? That the tripartite declaration of 24 May 1915 should therefore be included in the permanent exhibition of the Memorium Nuremberg Trials, which is not the case today, in order to help the public understand the relevant activities in terms of defining "crimes against humanity" and the responsibility of those who help the State commit them at international level between 1907[10] and the Second World War.

Similarly, it is regrettable that there is no mention in the book of the Treaty of Sèvres, nor really of the Treaty of Versailles. Although it was not ratified (it was replaced by the Treaty of Lausanne of 1923, which buried all the provisions of Sèvres vis-à-vis Turkey), the Treaty of Sèvres has a number of articles, which were milestones, as was the tripartite declaration of 1915, on the road to Nuremberg. In Article 230[11], the Treaty of Sèvres provides for the extradition by the Ottoman Empire of war criminals for trial by an international tribunal - the tribunal referred to by Chavarche Missakian in his 9 December 1945 editorial in Haratch. Sadly, the American delegation to the Commission on the Responsibility of the Authors of the War and on Enforcement of Penalties opposed this[12].

All in all, it can be said that the precise idea of an international criminal court to try the representatives of the Turkish and German States dates back to the First World War[13] and derives from the treaties which put an end to it, even though the provisions in question were never put into practice, hampered by the sovereignty of Germany and Turkey.

With the consent of the Allies, however, national prosecutions took place in national courts in Germany and Turkey. The judges were nationals only. They were therefore, we are often told, only symbolic trials.

The Turkish courts-martial of 1919-1920 tried leaders of the Committee of Union and Progress, as well as a number of officials, on various charges, including the "massacre and destruction of Armenians[14]". The Ottoman leaders were accused of having put in place a vast plan directed to this end[15]. The court issued its verdict on 5 July 1919. The accused were found guilty of orchestrating Turkey's entry into World War I and of having committed massacres against the Armenians. Talat Pasha was sentenced to death in absentia along with Enver and Cemal, the other members of the Triumvirate. While on the run, Talat Pasha was assassinated in Berlin by Soghomon Tehlirian, one of the operatives of Operation Nemesis, in 1921[16].

All in all, beyond Sèvres, it seems to me that it would have been useful for the book to cite the Turkish courts-martial. This would have put into perspective the escape of Talat Pasha and other orchestrators of the Armenian Genocide, as well as Operation Nemesis[17], which replaced the vacuum of international justice[18] despite the promises (and more) that had been made - to the Armenians and humanity.

"Crimes against humanity vs. genocide" or "crimes against humanity + genocide"?

Where the book is really thought-provoking for anyone working in the field of human rights is that it recounts the interesting and yet head-on opposition, the author tells us, between the rights of individuals, supported by Lauterpacht, and the rights of groups, supported by Lemkin. Thanks to the former, the "crimes against humanity" found their place in the Nuremberg Charter, and thus in modern international law, while the inclusion of the term "genocide[19]" in the list of crimes liable to prosecution at Nuremberg is due to the latter, his book, Axis Rule in Occupied Europe, having played a decisive role.

The author once said in The Guardian: "I want to be treated as Philippe Sands individual, not Philippe Sands Brit, Londoner or Jew[20]". Yet, we are both individuals and individuals with their own identity circles. I am both Alexis Krikorian, the individual with his innumerable qualities and rare flaws (or the opposite!), and Alexis Krikorian, the individual of Armenian (and French) descent, gay, born in one country, living in another. This mosaic of identities is a given with which we have to come to terms. To be Armenian or of Armenian descent is both a richness and a curse if one judges by the tragic history of the Armenian people. At Hrant Dink's public funeral on 23rd January 2007, I remember the huge crowd was not chanting "We are all Hrant Dink, we are all Hrant Dink", but "We are all Hrant Dink, we are all Armenians".

The classic opposition between group rights (or national rights) and human rights is very real in many countries. It seems to me, however, that it does not necessarily have to be so contradictory and that there is some merit in trying to articulate them. Full respect for the rights of individuals is a necessary precondition for their development and that of the group as a whole. I wrote in a previous article that you can both be gay and Armenian at the same time[21], for example, because of that articulation. So it seems to me that individual rights and group rights can be complementary.

Between Lauterpacht and Lemkin, the author has clearly chosen his side: he prefers Lauterpacht, on the level of ideas and on a personal level. His objections to genocide include the following: it would favour the "them" against the "us" and proof of genocide is difficult to provide for. Specifically, it is difficult to provide evidence of the intentional destruction of the group. In the Armenian case, the evidence has long been provided for, and although I swore myself not to "play" the evidence game any more, I will nevertheless do so, limiting myself to the following points[22]:

- I recommend the reading of Taner Akçam's Killing Orders: Talat Pasha’s Telegrams and the Armenian Genocide (Palgrave Macillan, 2018); The book represents an earthquake in genocide studies. The denialist school had long argued that the killing orders signed by Ottoman Interior Minister Talat Pasha and the memoirs of the Ottoman bureaucrat Naim Efendi were forgeries, "produced by Armenians". Taner Akçam provides the evidence to refute the basis of these claims and demonstrates clearly why the documents can be trusted as authentic, revealing - again - the genocidal intent of the Ottoman-Turkish government towards its Armenian population. As such, this work removes a cornerstone from the denialist edifice[23].

- On 13 June 1997, the International Association of Genocide Scholars unanimously adopted a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide[24];

- The book mentions the role of the press in raising awareness of the reality of the extermination of the Jews. It should be noted that the Western press, in Switzerland[25], the United States and elsewhere, did the same with regards to the Armenian Genocide.

New York Times, 15 December 1915

New York Times, 10 October 1915

A second objection from Sands is the "them" versus the "us". In the epilogue[26], the author quotes a sentence from an article, which he says he agrees with, saying of "genocide" that "it stirs up national outrage (in Turkey) rather than the sort of ruthless examination of the record the country needs". This article in the Financial Times of 24 April 2015 is entitled: Turks and Armenians in Shadow of Genocide[27]. It calls on Turkey to recognize the Armenian Genocide, including in the sentence partly quoted by the author where the term "genocide" is described as "justified" in the case of Armenians.

I take exception to the "them" versus the "us" that the term genocide would promote. Who exactly are we talking about? Every year, the Istanbul Human Rights Association courageously calls on the Turkish government to recognize the Armenian Genocide[28]. The first publishers in Turkey to ever publish a book on the Armenian Genocide, Ragip and Ayşe Nur Zarakolu (Belge publishing house[29]), had their publishing house fire-bombed the following year (in 1993 and 1994, respectively). In 2008, the signatories of a petition of intellectuals asking for forgiveness to the Armenians were threatened and prosecuted[30]. Examples could be provided in abundance. Those who acknowledge the genocide often do so at the risk of their lives. In any case, they are faced with a repressive legislative arsenal that defends, among other things, "Turkishness". They therefore need all our support.

In my experience, I can say that there is real brotherhood between Turkish and Armenian human rights defenders and intellectuals and that many of them agree on the following essential point: the need for a more democratic Turkey that respects human rights, one of the essential preconditions of which is recognition of the Armenian Genocide. Without such recognition, the violence and massive human rights violations, which are on a different level from genocide (the human rights movement must not be afraid of either the truth or the hierarchy of horror), will continue their mad race in Turkey. Turkey will continue to be the country with the most cases at the European Court of Human Rights[31]. Or the country with the most journalists in prison[32]. Or the country with the most cases of "terrorism[33]", the country having the broadest and vaguest definition of "terrorism" there is. Schoolbooks will continue to be denialist in nature[34]. There will be more Hrant Dinks or Sevag Balikçis, the Armenian-born soldier murdered on 24 April 2011[35].

Regional security is also at stake. This infernal cycle of violence and violations will not end or slow down significantly as long as this recognition does not take place, regardless of which party is in power (AKP or CHP). This is a problem not of the government, but of the Turkish State. Many of us are painfully aware that denying genocide is the tenth and final stage of genocide[36].

To use the author's formula, the "them" against the "us" does not represent the "Armenians" against the "Turks" (to believe this would be a profound error), but "the Turkish State" (which spends millions every year to deny the reality of the Armenian Genocide as part of a State policy of denial[37]) against the "Turkish and Armenian human rights defenders, intellectuals, publishers (...)", or even "civilization" or "humanity" to use Jackson's words. At the level of our NGO, Hyestart, I can assure you of the fraternity between Turks and Armenians. Our honorary committee includes Turks and Armenians who work hand in hand (Serge Avédikian, Ragip Zarakolu, Pinar Selek).

On the position of the United Kingdom and the role of NGOs to combat the root causes of human rights violations in Turkey

Of the major European State actors of World War I and today, the United Kingdom is the only one that has not recognized the Armenian Genocide. Of the three signatories of the declaration of 24 May 1915, it is indeed the only one. Russia has done so, France has done so. Even Germany, whose complicity in the genocide of 1915 is no longer in doubt[38], has done so. Isn't it time for the United Kingdom[39] to finally acknowledge this genocide?

Generally speaking, the British ecosystem seems to be far behind on the issue of recognition, from the BBC, which, unlike a respected media outlet like the New York Times, does not automatically talk about the Armenian Genocide (without brackets), to human rights NGOs, which often make the greatest efforts to avoid using the term "genocide".

Human rights NGOs should, as this blog has already pointed out[40], include the recognition of the Armenian Genocide - and other mass crimes committed in Turkey such as the Dersim massacres in 1937-38 - in their advocacy portfolio on Turkey (nationally and internationally with the United Nations, etc.), as well as the right to the Truth on the part of their State about what happened in 1915-23, 1937-38 (...) for the Armenian, Greek, Assyrian-Chaldean, Alevi and Kurdish minorities. The aim is to address the root causes of human rights violations in Turkey and thus to respond to them sustainably and not in ad hoc case by case fashion. Beyond the emblematic Turkish case, many other countries could be concerned by this type of approach.

A friend of mine, then head of a British-based NGO that is close to the author's heart and to my heart as well, told me that after the assassination of Hrant Dink, she was going to talk about the "Armenian Genocide" from now on, abandoning the periphrases that she had been using until then. I do not know whether she kept her word, but one thing is certain, as the book rightly points out: the - dreadful - fate of an individual can and must change the world or the way we see it.

Old woman carrying the portrait of Hrant Dink at the

Armenian Genocide Memorial, Yerevan


[1] French version of East West Street (2016) [2]See: [3] Henri Donnedieu de Vabres and others played a pioneering role as well. [4] Translated into English as In the Shadow of the Reich (1991). [5] After World War II, the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg was set up under the agreement signed in London on 8 August 1945 by the provisional government of the French Republic, the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom and the USSR to try the leaders of Nazi Germany for their actions. The tribunal was composed of eight judges, two from each Allied force, and four prosecutors, one from each Ally. [6] [7] [8] Page 350 of the book (French edition, Retour à Lemberg). Testimony of his daughter. [9] Page 154 (French edition Retour à Lemberg). [10] The Hague Convention, mentioned at Nuremberg, helped codify war crimes. [11] "The Turkish Government undertakes to hand over to the Allied Powers the persons whose surrender may be required by the latter as being responsible for the massacres committed during the continuance of the state of war on territory which formed part of the Turkish Empire on August 1, 1914. The Allied Powers reserve the right to designate the tribunal, which shall try the persons, so accused, and the Turkish Government undertakes to recognize such tribunal. In the event of the League of Nations having created in sufficient time a tribunal competent to deal with the said massacres, the Allied Powers reserve to themselves the right to bring the accused persons mentioned above before such tribunal, and the Turkish Government undertakes equally to recognize such tribunal".

[12] - The American delegation argued that there should not be a permanent international tribunal for war crimes [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] A secret Armenian-led operation in which Turkish political and military figures who fled prosecution were murdered for their role in the Armenian genocide. [18] The genocide of Armenians committed by the Ottoman Empire was therefore without legal consequences, as was the genocide of the Herero 11 years earlier. The prosecution of crimes against humanity, including crimes against Armenians, was clearly not a major objective of the Allies. [19] The origin of the word genocide is simply fascinating. If Lemkin had opted for the word "met-enocide", for example, a term he had thought about, one wonders whether human rights defenders would be fighting today for the recognition of the Armenian "metenocide"? Would the Turkish state spend millions of dollars every year to deny the Armenian "metenocide" in a frantic manner? One might think so... [20] [21] [22] Visiting a site such as these can also be useful:,, [23] [24] ; The Permanent Peoples' Tribunal has also recognized the Armenian genocide in 1984. See [25] [26] Page 445 of the French Edition (Retour à Lemberg) [27] [28] [29] [30] [31] [32] [33] See - "One third of world convictions for terrorism have taken place in Turkey, more even than in China, in the last ten years (approximately 12,000 convictions out of 35,000). On average, this means 3 convictions a day, every day, for 10 years. At the same rate, the US would have had around 50,000 convictions for terrorism in the last ten years. At the same rate, Norway, a country with a population of 4 million, would have convicted 700 times for terrorism in the last ten years". [34] [35] [36] As the president of Genocide Watch, Dr. Stanton, tells us. See [37] [38] See for instance: [39] - interestingly, the great grandfather of the current PM was murdered by Turkish nationalists when he wanted to acknowledge the genocide [40]

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