GLENDALE—Attorney and renowned human rights advocate Geoffrey Robertson, QC, will pull double-duty later in October, when he will be a featured panelist during the Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region’s Grassroots Road to Reparations panel and will also receive the ANCA-WR Advocates for Justice Award at the organization’s annual Gala Banquet.
The ANCA-WR Grassroots Conference will take place on October 23 and 24 at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel, with the centerpiece Gala Banquet, celebrating the organization’s accomplishments on Sunday, October 25 at the grand ballroom of the same hotel.
Robertson will be joined by international legal expert Karnig Kerkonian, Esq., to discuss the issue of the Armenian Genocide in the international legal arena, as well as explore legal avenues to pursue the Armenian Cause in the post Genocide centennial phase. Kerkonian is a member of the Armenian Bar Association’s Board of Governors and currently serves as co-chair of its Armenian Rights Watch Committee. The panel, which will take place on October 24, will be co-sponsored by the Armenian Bar Association and moderated by ANCA National Board member Steven Dadaian, Esq., who has a long and impactful involvement in the ANCA family. Attorneys who attend the Road to Reparations panel are eligible to receive 1.5 hours of Continuing Legal Education general credit through the Armenian Bar Association.
Robertson is an international jurist, human rights lawyer, and academic. His latest book is An Inconvenient Genocide: Who Now Remembers the Armenians? In recent years, he has been particularly prominent in the defense of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. He also represented author Salman Rushdie, and prosecuted General Augusto Pinochet. In 2008, the United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon appointed him as a “distinguished jurist” member of the UN’s Justice Council, which nominates and supervises UN judges. His memoir, The Justice Game, has sold more than 150,000 copies.
Robertson is a founder and joint head of Doughty Street Chambers, a prestigious law firm in England that has dealt with numerous international legal cases. Among the associates of the law firm is human rights advocate Amal Alamuddin Clooney, who along with Robertson will be recognized as a recipient of the ANCA-WR “Advocates of Justice” Award, with Robertson set to accept the award on her behalf.
In January of this year, Robertson and Clooney represented Armenia at the European Court of Human Rights during an appeals hearing on the court’s ruling in 2013 in favor of a Turkish Armenian Genocide denier, in the case entitled Perinçek v. Switzerland.
The case concerns the criminal conviction of Doğu Perinçek, Chairman of the Turkish Workers’ Party, for publicly challenging in Switzerland the existence of the Armenian Genocide. The government of Switzerland has also joined the appeals process, as have two Turkish human rights organizations that have submitted legal briefs in favor of Armenia.
During the arguments at the ECHR, Robertson presented a compelling case for Armenia by stating that Perincek specifically went to Europe to deny the Genocide, adding that the Turkish politician was an admirer of the Talaat Pasha, whom Robertson called the “Ottoman Empire’s Hitler.”
“It [the statement] was made by a man who only came to Switzerland in order to be convicted. That was his purpose. He went to Germany, France, at the end of the day he tried to go Greece to expostulate but was turned away. He is genocide denier forum shopper. He is an incurable genocide denier, a criminal and a vexatious litigant,” said Robertson.
In her presentation before the ECHR, Amal Clooney accused the court of being “simply wrong,” stating, “It [the court] casts doubt on the reality of Genocide that Armenian people suffered a century ago.”
“Armenia must have its day in court,” she added. “The stakes could not be higher for the Armenian people.”
“Having Geoffrey Robertson as a panelist during this year’s ANCA-WR Grassroots conference is sure to set a higher bar for any future such discussions, since he can present a first-hand account of a current case about the Armenian Genocide that is being heard in an international tribunal,” said ANCA-WR Grassroots committee co-chairman Ayk Dikijian, Esq.
“The issue of reparations for the Armenian Genocide has taken on renewed urgency after the centennial this year, and Robertson’s expertise can shed light and inform that discussion,” added Dikijian.
“One of the turning points of this year—the Armenian Genocide Centennial—was the hearing at the European Court of Human Rights and the adept manner in which the attorneys representing Armenia, Geoffrey Robertson and Amal Clooney, argued the case, bringing international attention to the issue of Genocide denial and justice for this crime against humanity,” said ANCA-WR Chairwoman Nora Hovsepian.
“It is only fitting that as the foremost Armenian-American advocacy group, the ANCA-WR would honor these two legal trailblazers during its annual gala. In addition to her legal expertise and impressive professional resume as a human rights champion, Ms. Clooney brought her notoriety as an international celebrity to the issue of the Armenian Genocide and joined forces with Mr. Robertson as a formidable legal team on behalf of the Armenian Cause, for which we are deeply grateful,” added Hovsepian.
The ANCA-WR Grassroots conference will take place on October 23 and 24 at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel. Admission to the conference is $85 and $50 for students. However, the committee is offering early registration incentives of $55 and FREE admission for students if registration is completed by October 1. Visit www.ANCAWRGrassroots.org to register online or learn about sponsorship and booth display opportunities.
This year’s ANCA-WR Gala Banquet will be one of the largest the organization has hosted. The event, which has become one of the most anticipated events of the calendar year, will be held on Sunday, October 25 at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel. For information about purchasing tickets, corporate and tribute message sponsorship opportunities, please visit www.ANCAWRGala.org or call 818.839.1918.
The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.