WASHINGTON—Director of the Armenian Legal Center for Justice and Human Rights, Kate Nahapetian joined panels of genocide scholars to speak on the importance of justice and accountability in the struggle for genocide prevention, reconciliation and lasting peace at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Law School and Georgetown University.
UCLA Law’s Promise Institute for Human Rights and Luskin Center for History and Policy organized the first discussion held on April 11 entitled, “Past and Future of Human Rights: Assessing the State of Genocide Accountability,” while the event hosted at Georgetown University entitled, “Reconciliation after Oppression: The Future of the Armenian Struggle,” was hosted by the Armenian Students Association and the Knights of Vartan on April 17.
While Nahapetian highlighted the struggle to secure justice for the Armenian Genocide, Professor Ben Madley (UCLA), Professor Geoffrey Robinson (UCLA), Professor Irma Alicia Velásquez Nimatuj (Duke University), and Sarah Leah Whitson (Human Rights Watch) discussed genocide accountability efforts by Native Americans, Indonesians, indigenous peoples in Guatemala and Yazidis respectively.
At Georgetown, Professor Gregory Stanton (George Mason University) and Professor Debórah Dwork (Clark University), along with Nahapetian discussed various successful and failed attempts at genocide accountability from the Armenian Genocide, the Holocaust and Rwanda.
During the discussions, Nahapetian emphasized Turkey’s ongoing campaign against Armenians through its blockade of Armenia, its religious persecution of Armenians in Turkey, and its state-sponsored worldwide campaign of genocide denial. Nahapetian noted, “The lack of justice for the Armenian Genocide perpetuates abuses against not only Armenians but other minority communities in Turkey.”
Although the discussions showcased the complexity of reconciliation and accountability for genocide, many speakers noted the vital role justice plays towards forming lasting peace.