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The Council of the Bar Association of the Republic of Armenia in view of the U.S. President Barack Obama’s Statement on April 24, 2009 and the forthcoming voting on Armenian Genocide Resolution in the U.S. Congress states as follows:

In the conclusive paragraph of his Statement, right after using the term “Meds Yeghern” for the second time, President Obama clearly stated that there was an attempt to destroy the Armenian people:

“Nothing can bring back those who were lost in the Meds Yeghern. But the contributions that Armenians have made over the last ninety-four years stand as a testament to the talent, dynamism and resilience of the Armenian people, and as the ultimate rebuke to those who tried to destroy them.”

It is necessary to utterly obliterate the international public misconceptions that President Obama has not acknowledged the Armenian Genocide because the term “genocide” was not spelled out. The Bar Association of the Republic of Armenia hereby gives its legal assessment to the Statement of President Obama.

1. The term “genocide” is relatively new. It was coined in 1944 by Raphael Lemkin, a Polish legal scholar of Jewish descent. Prior to that, each people subjected to genocide, had its own way of referring to it. The Jewish people called it “Holocaust,” and we, Armenian, called it “Meds Yeghern.”

2. Article 2 of the United Nations’ Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, which was adopted in 1948 and came into effect in 1951, defines genocide as “… acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group…”

President Obama used the historical Armenian term “Meds Yeghern”, which is synonymous to “genocide”, a more contemporary term. The term “Meds Yeghern” was used by President Obama twice, and was clearly described as an attempt to destroy the Armenian people. It is obvious that “Meds Yeghern” term was referred to by President Obama in exactly the same meaning, as we, Armenians, refer to it. The terms “Meds Yeghern,” “Hayots Tseghaspanutiun,” and “Armenian Genocide” have been always absolutely identical. From the legal point of view President Obama has described a genocide, because an attempt to destroy a people is, by definition, a genocide.

Even though Obama the politician did not use the term “genocide,” Obama the lawyer, the graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School, has already clearly acknowledged the events of the Armenian Genocide. On behalf of the Bar Association of the Republic of Armenia we would like to express our gratitude to President Obama for his historic Statement.

Taking into account the significance of international recognition of genocide for purposes of preventing of the crime of genocide in the future, we believe that it is the time to call things by their proper names and to condemn the Meds Yeghern defining it as genocide in unequivocal terms. In this respect we should greatly appreciate the initiative of the US Congress and call upon it to approve the Resolution.

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