2019, France immortalizes the memory of the Armenian genocide

2019, France immortalizes the memory of the Armenian genocide and declares to the world the end of the era of memory loss and denial.

France has decided to make the 24th of April 2019 an important date for the human and international society, and to announce officially to the free and believer world that what happened this same day of 1915 is a real genocide according to the United Nations Convention of December 9th 1948. France wanted to sanction this genocide and prevent its reproduction in our actuel world. This lugubrious day in the history of the Armenians and the whole humanity, massacres were launched when the cruel Ottoman leader published his disastrous edit stipulating the eradication by surprise of the Armenians, to torture them et force them to leave their homeland. The Ottoman chief had methodically prepared his plan of the Armenian genocide. In fact, he had followed Armenian intellectuals, thinkers, artists to make them disappear in preparation of his infamous project of this terrible day of April 25th, 1915.

Although these killings, according to the above mentionned convention, are a type of genocide, this particular massacre perpetrated by the Turks, gave the signal of the century of the genocides. The Ottomans made sure to prevent future generations to recognise these massacres and to pressure them to deny them by all means. And the killings went on, massacres in the line of article 2 of the UN Convention. The famous jurist R. Lemkin refers to the Armenian bloodshed in his book which paved the way to the production of this convention. This bloody episode of the killing of more than one million and a half of Armenians, men, women, children, elderly people, perpetrated by the Ottoman sultans will never be forgotten, nor can it have a prescriptive date. Armenians were killed, thrown in Syria deserts in scorching heat and freezing winters. Armenian blood left traces in Turkish history itself. Because the law of the jungle cannot last eternally, nor the human conscience be continually anaesthetized.

The Armenian people is firmly decided to awake the conscience of the civilized world to the Turkish tentative to minimise these acts or simply deny what happened to the Armenians. Which made governments and parliaments of number of states, as well as civil society organisations, to recognize Turkish acts in 1915 and the following years, according to the international law, as a genocide. How can Turkey deny it after Austria and Germany, its allies, officially recognised it as such in May 2016 ?

One of the fundamental principle of international law is the right of the victims and their families  to know the truth about the human rights vilolations. So are the states moraly obliged to investigate, in order to know and publish this truth. This is exactly what Turkey did in 1919, when the government created a military tribunal in Istanbul to judge the Turkish leaders who were responsible of these crimes. But Ordogan government washes his hands of these hateful acts. And the international community turning a deaf ear, descendants of these criminals could eventually reproduce, one day or the other, these same crimes.

France historical and humane position underlines the fact that the truth must be unveiled, to respect the victims and the international community at large. Such a decision is a safety valve to prevent such massacres in the future. To deny a crime is to allow its recurrence. If the Turkish government recognizes this genocide, it could allow the Armenian victims to repose in peace, and certainly appease the families of those who survived this massacre.

To recognize one’s faults is a way to instaure justice and not a settling of scores. Not to speak of the serenity it would provide as well as human solidarity. Gone will be the principle of impunity, and the shame ot the successive Turkish governments.

By recognizing the Armenian genocide, France not only backs an intenational law, but states facts, since it was one of the big states engaged in the first world war and had ambassadors and consuls who were witnesses of these crimes and transmitted proofs to their government about them.

Dr. Ayman Salama

Professor of international law.


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