YEREVAN –The global forum “Against the crime of Genocide” kicked off in Yerevan on April 22 and will run through April 23, as part of the Armenian genocide centenary commemoration events in the Armenian capital.
“Genocide denial is fraught with inciting a new xenophobic wave and is often accompanied by intolerance and justification of the already committed crimes of genocide,” President Serzh Sarkisian said in a speech at the conference. “In case of strong international pressure, denial acquires a seemingly softer yet equally dangerous nature or is dissolved in history revision campaigns.”
Sarkisian said that a greater international recognition of the 1915 tragedy would not only do justice to the Armenians but also prevent future crimes against humanity. “One of the reasons for the recurrence of the crimes against humanity and genocide has been the international community’s lack of consistency, unity and determination in recognizing and condemning the committed genocides and eliminating the genocidal environment and denialism.”
Also attending and addressing the forum was Thorbjorn Jagland, the secretary general of the Council of Europe. “There is potential in every man, woman and child,” he said in a speech. “A hundred years ago too many Armenians were denied the chance to realize that potential when they were brutally murdered.
“Hundreds of thousands more were condemned to poverty. And this was not just Armenia’s loss, it was the world’s loss … But we can – we must – try to stop it happening again.”
The two-day forum brought together about 600 participants from over 50 countries.
The first session of forum focused on the evolution and further development of the international law instruments to prevent crimes against humanity. The second session focused on responsibility issues and elimination of the genocide consequences, including responsibility, reparations, restoration of rights and guarantees, the current positive experience and unsolved problems.
The second day of the forum meetings will focus on “Parliaments Against Genocide” issues with representatives of Parliament delegations giving speeches.
Prominent experts of international law, famous historians, genocide scholars, including William Shabas, Israel W. Charny, Ragip Zarakolu, Michael Bohlander, Donna-Lee Frieze, Donald Bloxham, Roger W. Smith, Henry Theriault, Patrick Dumberry, Cengiz Aktar, Esther Mujawayo, Yair Auron are participating in the forum.