The Armenian Genocide and Legal Paths to Resolution

The Armenian Genocide and Legal Paths to Resolution

A book by Rodney Dakessian

Over a century has passed since the Armenian Genocide, yet its repercussions continue to be felt. The author of this book has tackled the formidable task of contributing something novel to the extensive literature on the “Armenian cause”. His book is not merely another recount of historical events; rather, it serves as an exploration of potential legal solutions grounded in international law that are both objective and impartial, akin to discovering a new remedy for a chronic illness.

The book delves into the potential legal ramifications of the Armenian Genocide under international law, especially pertinent since the genocide predates the 1948 Genocide Convention. It explores whether there remain viable legal avenues to address the “Armenian question” or if it has merely become a historical issue with only political solutions left available.

Utilizing principles of natural law, customary international law, the principles of humanity, and the law of nations, including the Martens Clause, the author examines the elements defining the crime of genocide and presents evidence showing these elements were present during the 1915 massacres.

It is crucial to clarify that the crime was committed by the Ottoman Empire, not the modern state of Turkey, which is considered its successor. This distinction necessitates a study of state succession and international responsibility.

The book also covers Armenia’s legal standing to sue under the erga omnes principle, the application of treaties like the 1968 Vienna Convention, and the 1948 Genocide Convention, considering the principle of non-retroactivity of treaties.

Furthermore, it addresses broader geopolitical issues, such as Turkey’s potential EU accession, which may hinge on recognizing the genocide, and the interlinked Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, which affects the Turkish-Armenian relationship.

Ultimately, the book aims to honor the memory of the Armenian Genocide victims and proposes tangible solutions and reparations for the “Armenian cause”, striving for a respectful acknowledgment and rectification of historical injustices.

Published in August 2023

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Rodney Dakessian is a Judge. PhD in Law from the University of Lyon, France.