Monday, February 06, 2006
Interview with International law expert Dr. Alfred De Zayas
The following is an interview conducted by the Armenian Weekly Online in July 2004 with International law prominent expert Dr. Alfred De Zayas on his legal opinion on the Armenian Genocide vis-à-vis the United Nations Genocide Convention and international law. Dr. De Zayas refers to the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the Turkish courts-martial in 1919 and notes that Turkey must recognize the crime and then give restitution to the descendants of the victims. Beyond that, he thinks it is far more important if the Turkish government were to invite the Armenians to come back to their historical lands for this gesture from the Turkish government, even if the Armenians do not come back, is important—as is the gesture to rebuild the cultural heritage of the Armenians, noting that the whole area is dotted with ruins that can be built. Dr. De Zayas highlights that he can't see a dialogue between Turks and Armenians without an apology and recognition of the crime. He gives the Armenians the legal advice to invoke Article 9 of the Genocide Convention, by going to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and ask for an interpretation of the Convention. Dr. De Zayas thinks that the conclusion of ICJ's judges will not only be that the Geneva Convention applies, but that the events of 1915-1916 constituted a genocide, that there is state responsibility for, that there is state succession, that the current Turkish government is responsible for the genocide carried out by the Ottoman Empire, and that restitution must be effected.