March 12, 2004 - 22:03 AMT
International Group on Genocide Recognition and Prevention called UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Jack Straw to reconsider the advisability of Thorda Abbot-Watt at the post of the UK Ambassador in Armenia. As reported by Assembly of the Armenians of Europe, in the letter sent to the UK MFA chairperson of the Group Tessa Hofmann draw attention to the fact that Mrs. Thorda Abbott-Watt has repeatedly denied the genocide of 1.5 million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire during the years 1915/16. Mentioning of "mass killings" and "brutality" but ignored that half of the victims died during death marches or exile in desert areas from starvation, exhaustion and epidemics, the letter says. The letter does note that Mrs Abbott-Watt is wrong in publicly doubting that the case of the Armenian Genocide did not correspond with the definition and categories of the UN Genocide Convention. She may not know that the author of this convention, Mr Raphael Lemkin, drafted it on the empirical base of both the Armenian and the Jewish Genocide as case studies during WW1 and WW2. Mrs Abbott-Watt may also be ignorant of the joint statement of May 27, 1915, in with the governments of Britain, France and Russia warned the Ottoman government to held its members personally responsible for the crimes committed on the Armenian citizens of the Ottoman Empire. In this statement the killings of the Armenian population were categorised, under the terms of contemporary law, as a crime against humanity. Mrs Abbott-Watt is obviously not qualified as a scholar of genocide research. Otherwise she would know that the denial of genocide is considered as an integral part of the crime and its final stage. Sadly, Mrs Abbott-Watt herself contributes to the crime of denial, thus keeping painfully alive the trauma of the Armenian nation and upsetting all others, who are aware of the consequences of genocide denial. As an international NGO, which is focusing on the recognition of denied genocide crimes, we urge you to re-consider whether it is advisable that Mrs Abbott-Watt, who is ignorant of basic facts of legal history and international relations and who makes repeated incompetent and offensive statements, may continue her diplomatic career in a country, where half of the population descends from survivors of genocide, the message resumes.