WASHINGTON — On Monday, March 19, Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) officially introduced a new Armenian Genocide Resolution (S.Res. 399) in the United States Senate, reported the Armenian Assembly of America.
Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Dianne Feinstein (D- CA), Carl Levin (D-MI), Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), Jack Reed (D-RI) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) joined as original cosponsors. In addition, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), chair of the Democratic Policy Committee, has also agreed to cosponsor the bill.
“It is time for the United States to join the 19 nations including Belgium, Canada, France, Italy and the European Union that have formally recognized the actions carried out by the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923 as genocide,” Menendez said. “The Armenian Genocide is a historical fact and was one of the incidents upon which the Genocide Convention was predicated. Only by accurately acknowledging the crimes of the past can we ever hope to move forward in a legitimate manner and prevent such human rights crimes from happening in the future.”
“The Armenian Genocide is well-documented and formally recognized by 11 NATO allies and the European Union. This resolution accurately characterizes the events of 1915-1923 as a genocide, honors the memory of the victims and strengthens America’s moral leadership on human rights and the prevention of mass atrocities around the world,” said a spokesman for Kirk. As reported last week, the new Senate resolution is similar to the House version, and adds a key finding from the 1951 US filing before the International Court of Justice concerning the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Specifically, the document highlighted the fact that “the Roman persecution of the Christians, the Turkish massacre of Armenians, the extermination of millions of Jews and Poles by the Nazis are outstanding examples of the crime of genocide.”
“We commend Senator Menendez and Senator Kirk for introducing this important human rights legislation,” stated the Assembly’s Executive Director Bryan Ardouny. “We also recognize and appreciate the support of those Senators who joined as original cosponsors. We will continue our advocacy efforts to ensure additional cosponsors, and urge its timely adoption.”
The first step for the bill is the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where Menendez serves as a subcommittee chairman. The committee is chaired by Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), who has a long record in support of US affirmation of the Armenian Genocide.