The international recognition of the Armenian Genocide requires mutual efforts towards abandoning dogmatic thesis and focusing attention on the reparation issue, a French-Armenian lawyer said today as he addressed an international conference discussing the future of Armenia-Turkey relations.
Admitting that the issue is not among Turkey’s priorities today, Raffi (Philippe) Kalfayan, a legal expert at the Human Rights Research Center, University of Paris 2 Pantheon Assas, noted that a small “cell” in the Turkish society (including mainly lawyers and officials of Armenian descent) nonetheless raise the problem at times to keep it under spotlight.
The expert warned against adopting a united fixed strategy which he said may lead the sides into a deadlock. “That’s the Armenian Genocide recognition strategy, which may imply a political recognition. What we get in return is Turkey’s denial. That’s a serious battle which may take a long time and which leads nowhere but into a deadlock. Anyway, time is really important for the Armenian Cause, especially when it comes to reparation,” he added.
Khalafyan noted that international law has long ruled out the criminal liability element, with none of the perpetrators being alive to be incriminated individually.
“This is why the Armenian Genocide will remain just a historical fact. So the only way is to demand compensation for which the underlying principle should be unlawful actions prescribed by international law – rather than criminal liability,” he added.
The lawyer stressed particularly the importance of demanding civilian compensation (instead of focusing on Turkey’s violations).
He also called for distinguishing between collective and individual compensation, ruling out the possibility of collective demands. “The question is whether the Genocide issue will be actual in that case. Very probably, not. The responsibility issue will be raised in any case and established through a change in official history. It is important, after all, to mutually abandon the dogmatic theses to achieve a global and open cooperation, because Turkey is not the only side required to work towards writing a shared history,” Khalafyan said.