A senior figure of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) has effectively linked a recent U.S. court decision invalidating a law that allowed hairs of Armenian genocide survivors to seek payments on dead relatives’ life insurance policies to what the nationalist party has viewed as Armenian diplomatic failures in the ongoing negotiations with Turkey.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco last week said the California law that allowed heirs of Armenians killed in the Turkish Ottoman Empire nearly a century ago to seek payment on the life insurance policies of dead relatives amounted to “unconstitutional meddling in U.S. foreign policy.”
Dashnaktsutyun’s political affairs director Giro Manoyan implied at a press conference in Yerevan on Thursday that the roadmap to normalizing bilateral relations announced by Armenia and Turkey on the eve of the Armenian genocide commemoration day enabled U.S. President Barack Obama to avoid terming the 1915 massacres of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey a genocide in an annual presidential message to the U.S. Armenian community on April 24, which, in turn, allowed the U.S. judges to interpret that step in reaching their decision.
“This is linked to the Armenian-Turkish negotiations as much as the April 22-23 announcement [of the roadmap] became a pretext for U.S. President Barack Obama to avoid using the G-word,” stated Manoyan. “But for that announcement, Obama would most likely have not avoided the use of the G-word. And had Obama used the word genocide in his April 24 address, the U.S. court would not have passed such a verdict.”
Manoyan said unless changed, the verdict will serve as an instrument in the hands of the Turkish circles to get genocide affirmation laws in other U.S. states invalidated.
“Even on the basis of this verdict it is possible to prohibit the U.S. Congress from adopting any resolution affirming the genocide,” said Manoyan.
The Dashnaktsutyun representative called for legal and political steps to redress the situation, such as appealing the verdict and demanding that this appeal be heard and decided by more than just three judges.
Also, Manoyan called for efforts to prevent the verdict from being used as precedent in considering other lawsuits. He said that addressing the matter at the Constitutional Court as the last resort is “though theoretically possible but practically is almost impossible.”
Manoyan called simultaneous political steps equally important. He said the Armenian National Committee of America had already sent a letter to Barack Obama mentioning that his failure to affirm the genocide has in fact been used as an occasion for a U.S. court “to go beyond its powers and make interpretations” in making the decision, which may “deliver a major blow to the affirmation of the Armenian genocide in America in general.”