Genocide needs to be determined by a competent international judicial tribunal, Volkan Bozkir, the head of the 75th session of UN General Assembly said on Wednesday.
Bozkir said genocide is a crime specifically defined in the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, in response to a question by Armenia’s permanent representative to the UN regarding claims of genocide surrounding 1915 events.
He stressed that what constitutes genocide and how it is determined are clearly established in the Convention.
“Accordingly, the crime of genocide needs to be determined by a competent judicial body. In other words, in order to describe an incident as genocide, a competent international tribunal must make a decision to that effect,” Bozkir said at a meeting to mark International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace.
US President Joe Biden called the events of 1915 “genocide” on April 24, breaking with a long-held tradition by American presidents of refraining from using the term.
Turkey swiftly rejected the term as null and void.
“The UN’s position on what constitutes genocide is naturally in line with the Convention and has been repeated many times by UN officials in the past and most recently two weeks ago by the spokesperson for the Secretary-General, who reiterated that genocide needs to be determined by an appropriate judicial body, as far as the UN is concerned,” Bozkir added.
Turkish stance on 1915 events
Turkey’s position on the events of 1915 is that the deaths of Armenians in eastern Anatolia took place when some sided with invading Russians and revolted against Ottoman forces. A subsequent relocation of Armenians resulted in numerous casualties.
Turkey objects to the presentation of these incidents as “genocide,” describing them as a tragedy in which both sides suffered casualties.
Ankara has repeatedly proposed the creation of a joint commission of historians from Turkey and Armenia as well as international experts to tackle the issue.
In 2014, Turkey’s then-Prime Minister President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, expressed condolences to the descendants of Armenians who lost their lives in the events of 1915.
*Servet Gunerigok contributed to the story