New York, NY — At a brown bag lunch on March 29 at New York University’s School for Global Studies, David Phillips discussed what he saw as the results of the Turkish Armenian Reconciliation Commission, which he moderated and wrote about in his book, Unsilencing the Past. TARC generated world-wide Armenian opposition in both the Diaspora and the Republic of Armenia for its role in interfering with international efforts to gain recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
During his talk, Phillips highlighted a report, which the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) commissioned an anonymous author to write. The report alleged that the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide could not be retroactively applied to the Armenian Genocide. The author of this report has remained unknown. When Phillips was asked who wrote the report, he answered, “That will not be disclosed,” and would not explain the reasons for keeping the author’s name a secret.
Phillips was joined by International Center for Transitional Justice Legal Expert Paul van Zyl, who asked Phillips whether denying the applicability of the Armenian Genocide to the UN Convention on Genocide was not the same as denying the applicability of the Holocaust to it, as both genocides occurred before the Convention was adopted by the United Nations. Phillips insisted that it was not the same thing, referring to documents Bernard Lewis had shown him in an attempt to shed doubt on whether the Armenian Genocide occurred. On June 21, 1995, a French court condemned Lewis for his statements denying the Armenian Genocide in the French press.