Amal Clooney comments on ECHR judgment in Armenian Genocide denial case – Video

Geoffrey Robertson QC and Amal Clooney of Doughty Street Chambers represented the Republic of Armenia intervening as a third party in the case Perincek v Switzerland before the European Court of Human Rights. In an interview with the Public TV of Armenia, Amal Clooney comments on the importance and scope of the Grand Chamber’s ruling in that case and explains why this constitutes a victory for Armenia.

“We are very happy for the judgment. This is a victory for Armenia. Armenia was neither a plaintiff, nor a defendant in this case. Armenia was  a third party that intervened in the case and did so for one reason – because the low court judgment had in three paragraphs cast doubt on the reality of the Armenian Genocide. It cast doubt on whether the massacres of 1915 constituted genocide, and used language insulting the Armenian community,” Amal Clooney said, adding that they went to the court to ensure that that Grand Chamber not repeat it.

“Those were the arguments and we won. The Court said that the findings of the lower court were inappropriate. Ten of the judges said they should never have discussed the point at all, as it was out of the Court’s jurisdiction. Another seven judges said that the ‘Armenian Genocide is a clearly established historical fact.’ That’s why the judgment is a victory for Armenia,” she added.

“What the European Court actually decided is that “Perincek’s speeches should not be criminalized, because they didn’t rise to the level of speech, inciting racial hatred and violence in the county they were made, which is Switzerland. This is an encouraging decision from the perspective of the freedom of expression, because the court should be concerned with any country’s laws that make speech a crime. It’s understandable that the Court wants to be very careful about ensuring that states only criminalize a speech in the most extreme circumstances. This is not a finding Armenia needs to be concerned with. People who talks about the Armenian Genocide are not being prosecuted in the courts of Yerevan. They are, however, being prosecuted by courts in Turkey. And it is interesting that in the aftermath of the judgment Turkey’s former Foreign Minister said to Al Jazeera that “Oh, Turkey celebrates the judgment, because it respects freedom of expression.” The reality is that in all the cases that have come before the European Court up to 2014 there have been 591 findings of violation of expression and almost half of them are violations by Turkey.  What we hope for is that Turkey is paying close attention to the judgment. We hope Turkey embraces this high standard for freedom of expression that has been set so that journalists like Hrant Dink are no longer prosecuted by the Turkish court for insulting Turkishness or insulting the Turkish state,” the lawyer said.

In conclusion, Amal Clooney said it was a true honor to represent Armenia in this case. “Looking back I’m sure Armenians don’t really care much about what Perincek has to say. If we look at the issue as a whole, we can say that Armenians care about what the Pope will say, and we know that the Pope has come out to say this was genocide. We know that President Obama, before he became President, said it was genocide. So, you may have Turkey continue to deny that reality, but they can no longer after today’s judgment point to the decision of the European Court of Human Rights to support that view,” Mrs. Clooney concluded.

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Armenian group brings ‘Edith Piaf-Marcel’ play to Instanbul on her 100th birthday

On her 100th birthday, legendary French singer Edith Piaf will be on an Istanbul stage with the play ‘Edith Piaf-Marcel,’ performed by the Yerevan State Youth Theater, as the first Armenian play to be staged in Turkey, the Hurrieyet Daily News reports.

The Yerevan State Youth Theater, invited by the Theater Boyalı Kuş (Painted Bird), will be performing in Istanbul for its first time in a play that focuses on Edith Piaf’s love and longing for Marcel Cerdan on Oct. 15 and 16 at the Şişli Municipality City Cultural Center.

Feminist theater company Boyalı Kuş celebrates its 15th birthday in 2015 with “Edith Piaf-Marcel” on Piaf’s 100th birthday. The play is directed by Hagob Ghazanchyan, while acclaimed, young actress Mariam Ghazanchyan plays the role of legendary French singer Edith Piaf.  

The diva of France, Piaf, also known as the Little Sparrow, was born in 1915. She started singing on the streets of Paris when she was a child. After Louis-Leplée, who ran a nightclub on the Champs-Elysées, discovered her talent, Piaf started her music career in Paris circles. She then became the most loved and sought after singer in Paris, in Europe, in the U.S. and the entire world. She was famous for her husky, mournful voice and her songs of loneliness and despair. She breathed life to more than a hundred songs from 1933 until her death in 1963. Her song “La Vie en Rose” is one of her best known songs.

The musical “Edith Piaf-Marcel” is based on Piaf’s great love for world boxing champion Marcel Cerdan and what she went through after Cerdan’s death. In the play, Piaf creates a spiritual and imaginary world in order to communicate with Cerdan after his death in a plane crash in 1949. She reaches him in this spiritual and imaginary world through her songs, each of which turns into a prayer. Ghazanchyan utters solely one word throughout the entire length of the play: M-A-R-C-E-L!

“Edith Piaf-Marcel” will celebrate both the 100th birthday of legendary singer and the first play originating from Armenia to be staged in Turkey. The solo musical performance of Mariam Ghazanchyan will tell the story of Piaf’s love and longing through songs in French.

Azerbaijan uses Turkey-made rocket launchers as it violates the ceasefire overnight

The Azerbaijani side continued the intensive shelling in the direction of the Armenian forces last night.

The rival violated the ceasefire 260, firing more than 4,000 shots from artillery weapons of different caliber, as well as 60 and 82mm mortars, RPG-7, HAN-17 and SPG-9 grenades.

The adversary also used Turkey-made TR-107 reactive rocket launchers.

The activeness of the Azerbaijani side was pressured as a result of retaliatory measures taken by the front troops of the NKR Defense Army.

The Defense Army keeps control of the situation all along the line of contact, the NKR Defense Ministry said in a statement.

Armenia attends World Routes 2015 forum

An Armenian delegation led by Deputy Minister of Economy Sergey Avetisyan and Executive Director of the Armenian Development Agency Arman Khachatryan attended the 21st World Routes 2015 forum held in Durban, South Africa September 19-22.

The World Route Development Forum is the largest global annual event of its kind. The largest and most prestigious event in the Routes portfolio, the event attracts the most senior representatives from airlines, airports and tourism authorities, who wish to meet, plan and discuss new and existing global air services.

This year the event brought together representatives of about 250 airlines, 650 airports, 2,500 specialists of the sphere and 170 tourism authorities from more than 100 countries of the world.

The Armenian delegation presented the “Open sky” policy of the government and the steps targeted at promoting tourism in the country. Reference was made to the process and perspectives of Armenia’s integration with the global tourism market.

On the sidelines of the forum the Armenian side held negotiations with about twenty airlines to discuss the perspectives and formats of their entry into Armenian market.

The US recognizes the role of the population of Nagorno-Karabakh in deciding their future

The US recognizes the role of the population in Nagorno-Karabakh in deciding their future, Spokesman for the Department of State John Kirby told a daily briefing.

“In the context of a comprehensive settlement on the conflict, we recognize the role of the population in Nagorno-Karabakh in deciding their future. However, the United States does not recognize Nagorno-Karabakh as an independent sovereign state, and we will not accept the results of the elections on the 13th of September as affecting the legal status of the region,” the Spokesman said.

He also stressed that “the elections in no way prejudge the final status of Nagorno-Karabakh or the outcome of the ongoing negotiations to bring a lasting and peaceful settlement to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.”

To get rid of ISIS, Turks must first get rid of Erdogan

By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier

Turkey has not only refused to join its NATO allies in fighting against ISIS, but has trained, armed and facilitated the infiltration of thousands of terrorists into Syria and Iraq.

The British Guardian reported that, in May when U.S. Special Forces raided the compound of ISIS leader Abu Sayyaf in Eastern Syria and killed him, documents seized during the raid revealed Ankara’s close collaboration with ISIS. Hundreds of articles have been published around the world describing various aspects of Turkish assistance to ISIS. Daniel Pipes in his Washington Times article, “Turkish Support for ISIS,” reported that “Turks offered far more than an easy border crossing: they provided the bulk of ISIS’ funds, logistics, training, and arms.” Pipes also revealed that wounded ISIS fighters are treated in Turkish hospitals, and Turkey has paid $800 million to ISIS for illicit oil shipments.

Vice President Joe Biden confirmed Turkey’s sinister role in helping Islamist terrorists at a Harvard University speech last October: Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the Emirates “poured hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad — except that the people who were being supplied were all Nusra and al-Qaeda and the extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world.” The Vice President also revealed that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had told him privately: “You were right. We let too many people through.” Biden later apologized for his public remarks to soothe Erdogan’s wrath.

In an astounding revelation, Mitchell Prothero of reported on August 24 that Turkish intelligence had alerted Islamist terrorists that a group of U.S.-trained fighters was about to cross from Turkey into Syria. Upon arrival, many of the 54 graduates of the $500 million U.S. training program were promptly intercepted and kidnapped by al-Qaida’s Nusra Front!

Last month, when Turkey finally agreed to join the war against terror and ‘allowed’ the United States to launch airstrikes on ISIS targets from Incirlik Air Base, U.S. officials’ initial delight turned into dismay when they realized that the Turkish military’s priority was attacking the Kurds in Iraq and Syria, not ISIS. By going after Kurdish militants, Turkey was in fact helping ISIS because the Kurds were the only reliable U.S. military partners on the ground.

Beyond wishing to undermine long-held Kurdish aspirations for an independent Kurdistan, by unleashing large scale bloody attacks against Kurds in Iraq, Syria, and Turkey, Erdogan is hoping that on November 1 Turkish voters would help his party regain the parliamentary majority it lost in the June elections. Unfortunately for Erdogan, the attacks on Kurds have created a widespread backlash among many Turkish citizens who lost their loved ones serving in the military, simply to boost the President’s political rating!

In desperation, Erdogan may well resort to one more trick in the coming weeks. Seeing that bombing Kurds is not generating the expected public support in the upcoming elections, he could order massive attacks on Kurds throughout Eastern Turkey. He would then use the excuse of an all-out civil war to declare a state of emergency, suspend Parliament, and rule with the iron fist of a theocratic Ottoman Sultan!

The United States and its NATO allies have an obligation to do everything possible to stop the monster they have created before he destroys everything on his path. Erdogan is a serious menace to his own citizens — Turks, Kurds, and others — as well as a destabilizing force to the entire region! The vicious attacks on the Kurdish population in Eastern Turkey makes the best case why Kurds deserve independent statehood and can no longer tolerate the brutal Turkish regime!

The Obama administration should follow the wise counsel of Eric S. Edelman, former U.S. ambassador to Turkey and under secretary of defense from 2005 to 2009. In a commentary published in The New York Times on August 27, Edelman suggests that the United States “restrict Turkey’s access to senior-level meetings; reduce intelligence cooperation; and withhold American support for Turkey in international financial institutions.” These steps and many others must be taken in the next few weeks before November’s parliamentary elections.

In an August 31 editorial, The New York Times Editorial Board described Erdogan’s political shenanigans as an attempt to “salvage his ambitions for continued authoritarian rule and greatly expanded powers.”

To bring the problem of terrorism in Syria and Iraq under control, restore stability in these countries, and stop the escalating bloodshed inside Turkey, the Turkish people must ensure that Erdogan’s party does not regain its lost parliamentary majority!

Pope Francis urges Catholics in Europe to house refugees

Pope Francis has called on European parishes and religious communities to offer shelter to a migrant family, the Vatican Radio reports.

The Pope’s appeal came during the Sunday Angelus.

“May Every parish, every religious community, every monastery, every sanctuary of Europe, take in one family” Pope Francis appealed.

To the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope said the faithful are called to offer a concrete gesture of hope as indicated in the Gospel.

“Before the tragedy of tens of thousands of refugees fleeing death in conflict and hunger and are on a journey of hope, the Gospel – he said – calls us to be close to the smallest and to those who have been abandoned.”

Reminding the faithful of the upcoming Jubilee Year of Mercy, the Pope said that offering shelter to the needy is a “concrete act of preparation” for the Holy Year.

And turning specifically to his European brother bishops, the Pope asked them to support his appeal and said that in the coming days two Vatican parishes will each be taking in a family of refugees.


130 cases of ceasefire violation by Azerbaijan reported

The Azerbaijani side violated the ceasefire regime at the Line of Contact between Karabakh-Azerbaijani forces for about 130 times on July 22 and over the night.

More than 1500 shots were fired in the direction of the Armenian defense guards from weapons of different caliber including mortars and grenade launchers.

The Defense Army frontline units keep the operational situation under control and take appropriate actions, if necessary.

Prince William starts new job as air ambulance pilot

Prince William clocked in for his first shift as an air ambulance pilot on Monday, nervous but excited about his new job, the Associated Press reports.

The second-in-line to Britain’s throne will face emergencies ranging from traffic accidents to heart attacks in his role working for East Anglian Air Ambulance in eastern England.

William will juggle his royal duties with nine-and-a-half hour shifts in the first few months — including night shifts — as part of a rotation where he will work four days and then have four days off. He’ll work less in the future to accommodate royal tasks.

The prince, who will donate his salary to charity, has previously been a Royal Air Force search-and-rescue pilot based on an island off Wales.

Syriac Patriarch thanks Pope for “courageously” speaking of the Armenian Genocide

Pope Francis and the patriarch of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch expressed their desire to work toward full communion of the two churches, according to the

The Pope met with Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II at the Vatican Friday. This was Aphrem’s first official visit with Francis. The two church leaders spoke privately, after which each gave a public discourse.

“We express our desire and readiness to look for new ways that will bring our churches even closer to each other, paving the way for Antioch and Rome, the only two apostolic sees where St. Peter preached, to establish full communion,” Aphrem said.

The patriarch also expressed his church’s readiness to come to an agreement to celebrate Easter on a common date. He said the Holy Synod of Antioch, motivated by the Second Vatican Council, adopted a resolution in 1981, expressing “the eagerness of our church” to celebrate Easter “on a fixed Sunday in April” in common with other Christian churches.

The celebration of Easter “on two different dates is a source of great discomfort and weakens the common witness of the church in the world,” he said, thanking Francis for recently “considering to take the initiative to lead the efforts on this matter.”

The patriarch also thanked Francis for “courageously” speaking of the Armenian genocide and “opening the way for others to do the same.” The patriarch said about 500,000 Syriac Orthodox died in the 1915 genocide, for which the community continues to seek healing and reconciliation.

In addition, he noted the loss of life of Christians and others in the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, as well as the high number of refugees and the destruction of numerous religious buildings and monuments. He thanked Francis for his prayers for the suffering Christians but urged the Vatican to engage in more diplomatic activity toward peace in the region.