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The two-day international conference entitled “the Armenian Genocide and International Law” organized by Haigazian University and the Armenian National Committee – Middle East concluded its sessions on Friday, September 4, 2009, with full days of enriching discussions and deliberations.
This long planned conference, unfolded on Wednesday, September 2, 2009, with the inaugural speech of the President of the House of Representatives of Cyprus, H.E. Marios Garoyan who stated that his presence as the guest speaker of the conference is driven by his country’s “commitment to international law, peace, security and stability, but also the determination to continue to condemn, on every possible occasion, any infringement of International Law by acts of Genocide.”
During the next two days of the conference, thirteen experts in the field of Genocide and International Law, coming from the USA, Canada, Switzerland, Ireland, Armenia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Lebanon joined the eighty Lebanese local community of political scientists and activists, sociologists, historians, religious leaders, educators, intellectuals, international correspondents, journalists and students, in establishing a solid step in the direction of addressing the consequences of the Armenian Genocide and promoting a fair perspective through international law.
In a profoundly academic atmosphere, the conference covered such topics as genocide denial and recognition issues, Turkish nationalism and the politics of denial, as well as the economic aspect of the genocide and the issues of lands and assets. Within the framework of international law, the conference discussed the general topics of genocide and crime against humanity, retribution, and preservation of the Armenian cultural heritage.
More specifically, Dr. George Charaf from the Lebanese University, lectured on the Problem of Minorities and Majorities, discussing the case of the Ottoman Empire.
Dr. Ugur Ungor, from the University of Sheffield, talked about demographic Engineering in the Ottoman Empire and the Armenian Genocide.
Dr. Mohammad Rifaat, from the University of Alexandria, discussed the Armenian Question according to Arab sources.
Dr. William Schabas from the National University of Ireland, discussed the problems and prospects of the Genocide and International Law, 60 years after the Convention.
Dr. Alfred De Zayas, from the Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations, elaborated on the issues of justice and international law regarding the Armenian Genocide.
Khatchig Mouradian, a PhD candidate in Genocide Studies at Clark University, lectured on the Armenians, Raphael Lemkin and the UN Convention.
Dr. Taner Akcam’s paper on Turkish Nationalism and the Armenian Genocide Issue in Turkey today was read in absentia.
Dr. Ragip Zarakolu, Vice President of Human Rights Association of Turkey, tackled the issue of Genocide Denialism and Law in Turkey.
In the same context, Dr. Seyhan Bayraktar, from the University of Zurich, covered the evolution of the Armenian genocide denial in the Turkish Press.
A PhD. Candidate, at John Hopkins University, Bilgin Ayata talked about the Kurdish – Armenian relations and the Armenian Genocide.
Dr. Roger Smith, a professor Emeritus of government at the College of William and Mary in Virginia, lectured on Professional Ethics and the Denial of the Armenian Genocide.
Dr. Henry Theriault, from the Worcester State College, talked about restorative justice and alleviating the consequences of genocide.
And finally, Dr. Rihard Hovannissian, from the UCLA, covered the issue of universalizing the legacy of the Armenian Genocide.
The discussants and moderators of the sessions, were Dr. Arda Ekmekji, Dr. Naila Kaidbey, Mr. Giro Manoyan, Dr. Rania Masri, Dr. Joseph Bayeh, Dr. Ohannes Geukjian, Mr. Antranig Dakessian, and Dr. Haig Demoyan.
The two-day conference ended with a brainstorming session.
Haigazian University President, Rev. Dr. Paul Haidostian considered that such conferences will always keep the Genocide issue alive, giving an increasingly growing international momentum to it. Moreover, Haidostian said that “the Genocide topic and this conference in particular, will hopefully open the door to further academic studies and research, activating deeper study in the economic, social and legal aspects of inter-state relations.”
Parallel to the conference, public lectures were held during three evenings, on related topics.
It is planned that the conference proceedings will be published in a separate volume.
Armenian National Committee – Middle East
September 8, 2009