‘Armenia and Armenians in International Treaties’
Armenian Review, v. 52, no. 1-2 (spring-summer 2010)
Watertown, Mass.: Armenian Review, Inc., 2010: 234 pp.
The latest issue of the Armenian Review, titled “Armenia and Armenians in International Treaties,” is a compilation of nine articles that, as suggested by the title, deals with Armenian diplomacy, and specifically treaties, from the 4th century CE to the present day. These articles are some of the papers presented at a conference held at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in March 2009. The volume also includes three book reviews.
In his article titled “Cilician Armenia and its Fifteen Peace Treaties (1185-1337),” Claude Mutafian focuses on the treaties signed between Cilician princes and their neighbors from the 10th-12th centuries. Mutafian, who has specialized in the Medieval period and the Cilician Kingdom of Armenia, writes about the “extraordinarily efficient diplomacy” through which Armenians “managed to keep a State for nearly three centuries.” He divides this into four historical periods and provides an overview of the de jure treaties between the Armenians and their neighbors, the Seljuk Turks, the Mongols, the Mamelukes, and Cyprus.
Keith David Watenpaugh, in “The Origins of Armenian Genocide Denial and League of Nations’ Humanitarianism 1920-1922,” examines the early days of Turkey’s denial of the Armenian Genocide, beginning with its confrontation with the League of Nations. “…The events of the Armenian Genocide if acknowledged at all are situated in a broader structure of measures taken to defend the Turkish nation and the proto-Turkish state against external threats or internal enemies,” writes Watenpaugh.
Lusine Taslakyan discusses the various international environmental agreements signed by Armenia, 18 of which are conventions. In 1993, Armenia ratified the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD); the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1992; the Kyoto Protocol in 2002; the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in 1994; the Ramsar Convention in 1993; and the Aarhus Convention in 2001.
Taslakyan notes “[t]he uniqueness and originality of the nature of Armenia” with its “[m]ore than 120 endemics—plants specific only to Armenia.” She also discusses the environmental challenges facing today’s Armenia, such as forecasts that predict “[s]ignificant and consistent increase in temperatures” and in desertification, as well as obstacles to the public’s participation in decision-making. “Access to justice is…realized only formally, as far as in principle it is possible to file a lawsuit to protect citizens’ rights and in practice it is impossible to win the case,” writes Taslakyan.
In “Erdumn, Uxt, Carayut’iwn: Armenian Aristocrats as Diplomatic Partners of Eastern Roman Emperors, 387-884/885 AD,” Johannes Preiser-Kapeller writes about an era when in the absence of a monarchy, Armenian noblemen acted in place of a king.
The other articles appearing in this volume are Dr. R. Ali Kavani’s “The Treaty of 1639 and Its Fifteen Peace Treaties (1185-1337)”; Aram Yengoyan’s “‘No War—No Peace’: The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk”; Vladimir Vardanyan’s “The Issues of Legal Validity of Peace Treaties in Armenia and Relating to Armenia: An International Legal Analysis”; Sevane Garibian’s “From the 1915 Allied Joint Declaration to the 1920 Treaty of Sevres: Back to an International Criminal Law in Progress”; Rouben Shougarian’s “Yielding More to Gain the Essential: The Factor of Timing in the Context of the Russian-Armenian Treaty of 1997”; as well as Avedis Hadjian’s review of Antonia Mahari’s My Odyssey, Vartan Matiossian’s review of Onnik Xnkikyan’s Syunik During the Bronze and Iron Ages, and Alyson Wharton’s review of Magdi Guirguis’ An Armenian Artist in Ottoman Egypt: Yuhanna al-Armani and His Coptic Icons.