The Convention On The Prevention And Punishment Of Genocide Must Be Invoked
U.S. Cannot Keep Overlooking Turkey and Azerbaijan’s Actions to Finance the Spread of Terrorism
Washington, D.C. – Today, the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly) urged decisive U.S. leadership to stop the bloodshed and bring an end to the war launched against the Armenian people by Azerbaijan with the direct support of Turkey and the importation of jihadists.
“Azerbaijan has spent billions trying to whitewash its abysmal human rights record. Now, in the most blatant attempt since Operation Ring in 1991, when it ethnically cleansed nearly half of Nagorno-Karabakh of its Armenian population, and with the explicit support of Turkey and the importation of jihadist mercenaries, Azerbaijan along with Turkey are engaged in an attempted genocide of Armenian Christians – again,” stated Assembly Co-Chairs Anthony Barsamian and Van Krikorian. “This is a fundamental question of genocide prevention and the Genocide Convention must be invoked.”
Article I of the Genocide Convention obligates parties to prevent Genocide. Article III forbids even attempts at Genocide, and Article VII makes clear that Genocide is not a “political crime.” Most genocides take place during war conditions. Hence, this does not excuse the Aliyev and Erdogan regimes, especially since they violated the humanitarian cease-fire and admitted to seeking a military solution by removing all the Armenians.
“Yesterday, Secretary of State Pompeo remarked that the United States is ‘hopeful that the Armenians will be able to defend against what the Azerbaijanis are doing,’” stated Barsamian and Van Krikorian. “If that is indeed what the United States is hoping for, then it is incumbent on the U.S. government to do something about it. The Administration needs to act now to save lives. This starts with fully enforcing Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act and sanctioning Turkey,” the Co-Chairs continued.
Without firm economic and diplomatic pressure, Turkey will not pull back. There can no longer be any doubt about Azerbaijan and Turkey’s true intentions: to write another chapter in the expulsion and deportation of the Armenian people from another portion of its historic homeland where they formed the first Christian nation on earth.
As reported in today’s article in The National Interest by David Phillips, “according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, at least 1,600 mercenaries have been deployed from Syria and Libya to Nagorno-Karabakh. They are affiliated with ISIS, Al-Nusra, Ahrar al-Sham, and factions of the Syrian National Army – Sultan Murad, Suleyman Shah, and Hamza factions, which are notorious for committing atrocities and crimes against humanity including sexual violence.”
The Armenian Assembly also condemns the Azerbaijani execution of Armenian POWs, a heinous war crime. A gruesome viral video captured the moment when Azerbaijani troops taunt and open fire on two Armenian POWs. The cruel and inhumane act is a flagrant violation of international law. Nor is this the first such case of war crimes. Just last week, Armenian churches and heritage sites were targets of Azerbaijani shelling.
The conflict occurring today is the product of Turkish President Erdogan’s ambitions for regional dominance. His neo-Ottoman policies have revived the methods of the murderous Young Turks of 1915. Populations across the entire region are paying the price of his untrammeled expansionism. Azerbaijani military forces, officered by Turkish army command, are targeting Armenian civilians in Nagorno-Karabakh by shelling villages, churches and other non-military sites with ballistic missiles and internationally banned cluster munitions. Turkey has brought jihadists from Syria and Libya to join the fight. They have deliberately injected these militant Islamists and terrorists into the Caucasus region. Both Turkey and Azerbaijan have turned away from global calls for peace and are censoring media from reporting the full truth at the front lines.
Erdogan’s grandiose vision of reestablishing a Turkish-led Islamic empire, like the Ottomans of a century ago, cannot be tolerated. Armenians know the true meaning of jihad. They survived its atrocities in the genocide of 1915 at the cost of 1.5 million lives. A similar humanitarian crisis is unfolding today, and the execution of Armenian POWs has brought the threat of another Armenian genocide that much closer. The Azerbaijanis and Turks deliberately planned this attack while America is distracted with the November 3rd presidential election and the world is responding to the global pandemic. This should be a concern to Christians everywhere.
The Armenian Assembly of America calls on all good people in the United States and around the world to act immediately to save lives.
Established in 1972, the Armenian Assembly of America is the largest Washington-based nationwide organization promoting public understanding and awareness of Armenian issues. The Assembly is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt membership organization.