Episode 18 – The Legal Aspects of Turkish-Armenian Conflict: Perception vs Adjudication

Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide was adopted by the U.N.General Assembly on 9 December 1948 but entered into force on January 12, 1951 after sufficient number of members states ratified it. They recognized that genocide has inflicted great losses on humanity and agreed on the 19 articles. Articles 1 to 9 are at the heart of the matter where you have the principles, terms, and definitions laid down; and Articles 10-19 are basically house-keeping rules. Articles II, VI, and IX are the most pertinent ones to the Turkish-Armenian conflict. Article II defines genocide as any act committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group. Article VI requires that a competent tribunal shall try genocide cases following due process. Article IX stipulates that the venue shall be the International Court of Justice located in the Hague, the Netherlands. Only acts committed after the convention went into force on January 12, 1951 can be brought before ICJ, as the convention is not retroactive. This is a fundamental principle in international law know as “ Nullum crimen sine lege,” a Latin phrase that means no crime without law. Article II requires the proof of the “intent do destroy.” This was never proven in the Armenian claim of genocide. Just an arbitrary claim was made, based on a racist and dishonest reading of history, and uncritically accepted by those with ethno-religious bias against Muslims in general and Turks in particular. This is nothing less than “extra judicial execution.” Some argue that Istanbul Courts Martial (April 1919-March 1920) proved intent to destroy, but upon even a cursory examination of the few surviving documents, one sees clearly that these were nothing more than crude Kangaroo trials held to settle old scores. Hearsay, forgeries, and even newspaper clippings were admitted to evidence to rapidly convict the defendants. The accused were given no access to lawyers and allowed no cross-examination of the plaintiffs’ alleged evidence or witnesses. The British were so frustrated and embarrassed by the partisanship displayed during the Istanbul Courts Martial, that they sped up their arrests and exile of the Ottoman leaders to the island of Malta, awaiting trials there. After searching the Ottoman, British, French, American, and other archivesfor two years, the crown prosecutors came up empty handed and had to free the captives in 1921. the Malta Tribunals thus proved just the opposite, that there was no intent to destroy Armenians on the part of the Ottoman leaders. There is even a third case that proves that the Ottoman leaders had no intent to destroy Armenians, the Ottoman Courts Martial held between September 1915 and June 1916. This is when 1,673 Ottoman soldiers, officers, and some public servants were tried on charges of abuse of Armenian refugees during the relocations carried out by the Ottoman Government’s Tehcir order May 31, 1915, which is best described as “temporary resettlement” –or TERESET for short. 659 were found guilty, receiving various punishments, and 67 of which were capital punishments. These trials prove that the Ottoman government had no intention to systematically exterminate Armenians as deceitfully claimed. In summary, the Armenians dare not bring a lawsuit against Turkey at ICJ, because if they do, then the Turkish side of the story, ignored, dismissed or censored up to now, will be heard by the entire world, due of the live media coverage, social media frenzy, academic research, TV-programs like these, and more, destroying the Armenian narrative based on “poor, starving, loyal, and innocent Armenians” myth. The Turkish archives refuting genocide claims are very strong, relevant, reliable, and consistent, as the Viennese Armenian Turkish of VAT platform showed in 2005. The existence of a massive body of literature featuring genuine Armenian confessions on war crimes and hate crimes. All that would be burst open for the entire world to see, hear, read and learn. Will the deceptive Armenian lobby finally discover the international law? Will the genocide scholars finally remove the gag order placed on them by the racist Armenian lobby and learn the other side of the story? Will Armenia finally open its archives? These questions and more are explored in this Episode 18.

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