The Events of 1915

Legal Dimension

Genocide denotes a clearly defined crime in international law. It is clearly described in the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide. Events that took place before the implementation date of the said Convention do not fall within its jurisdiction.

The Court considers that ... the Convention is not retroactive. The Court thus concludes that the substantive provisions of the Convention do not impose upon a State obligations in relation to acts said to have occurred before that State became bound by the Convention.

International Court of Justice, Case Concerning Application of the Convention on the Prevention of the Crime of Genocide, Croatia v. Serbia, 3.2.2015, para.99-100.

Furthermore, for any case to qualify as genocide, the existence of specific conditions stipulated in the 1948 Genocide Convention should be proved unequivocally with direct evidence. Defining the events of 1915 on the basis of preconceptions and opinions is simply disregarding the law. This is neither understandable nor acceptable.

for the crime of genocide to be made out, it is not sufficient for the members of a particular group to be targeted because they belong to that group, but the acts in question must at the same time be perpetrated with intent to destroy the group as such in whole or in part (dolus specialis). Genocide is therefore a very narrow legal concept which, moreover, is difficult to prove. The Court is not satisfied that the “general consensus” to which the Swiss courts referred as a basis for the applicant’s conviction can be relied on in relation to these very specific points of law.

European Court of Human Rights, Case of Perinçek vs. Switzerland Second Section Judgment, 17.12.2013, para.116

There is no judgment of a competent court making an assessment of genocide with regard to the events of 1915.

Only a competent international court could make an assessment of genocide. As genocide is a serious claim, the owner of such a claim should prove its existence with concrete evidence specifically regarding the presence of an intent. As in the case of the Holocaust and the genocides in Rwanda and Srebrenica, only an international court with expertise could assess the existence of this crime. In this regard, defining the events of 1915 as genocide is against the law.

The events of 1915 can in no way be compared to the Holocaust. Holocaust is a distinct case both legally and historically.

In this connection, a clear distinction can be made between the present case and cases concerning denial of crimes relating to the Holocaust ( ...)their denial concerned crimes perpetrated by the Nazi regime (....) had resulted in convictions with a clear legal basis(...) the historical facts challenged by the applicants in those cases had been found by an international court to be clearly established.(...) The Court shares the opinion of the Turkish government, according to which the denial of the Holocaust is today the main driving force of anti-Semitism. In fact, it judges that this is still a current phenomenon, and against which the international community must be firm and vigilant. One cannot affirm that the dismissal of the description of “genocide” for the tragic events that occurred in 1915 and the following years might have the same repercussions.

European Court of Human Rights, Case of Perinçek vs. Switzerland Second Section Judgment, 17.12.2013, para.117 and para.119