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What can be done about historical atrocities? the Armenian case

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The global human rights regime is not equipped to deal with historical atrocities. When engaged politicians want to take matters in their own hands it is clear that this alternative is problematical. In the case of Armenia, the campaign for the recognition of the Armenian massacres in 1915 has addressed the questions involved in a simplistic way, both with respect to juridical points of departure such as definition of the crime and the status of the accused party, and with respect to the assessment of evidence. If proclamations which bear any similarity to juridical assessments are to be made at all the best alternative would be the creation of an international expert body representing both the history and the legal professions. Establishing the guidelines for this body to work, however, seems a daunting task. Can a generally accepted retrospective time limit be established? To what extent should court-like functions be performed for events which, at the time they happened, were not covered by international criminal law?

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2004


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