Wednesday, April 04, 2007



The Armenian Assembly of America commended Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), along with Senators Tom Coburn (R-OK), Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT) and John Cornyn (R-TX) as legislation, which they introduced, had passed the U.S. Senate last week. The Genocide Accountability Act, S. 888, closes a legal loophole that prevented the U.S. Justice Department from punishing perpetrators of genocide who find safe haven in the United States.

"There is no safe haven for the hundreds of thousands of Sudanese facing genocide in Darfur and yet our country is providing a safe haven for their killers," said Senator Durbin, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law. "The current loophole in our genocide laws has real-life consequences. While genocide rages in Darfur, the United States must commit to holding those guilty of genocide accountable."

"The extraterritorial jurisdiction contained within the Genocide Accountability Act upholds the spirit of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide," said Assembly Board of Trustees Chairman Hirair Hovnanian. "We commend Senators Durbin, Coburn, Leahy and Cornyn for bringing much needed attention to this important human rights issue," Hovnanian added.

The legislation allows foreign nationals, who enter America, to be prosecuted for committing the crime of genocide outside of the United States.

"In America we are blessed with the most effective and just legal system in the world. It is contrary to our system of justice to allow perpetrators of genocide to go free without fear of prosecution," said Senator Coburn, the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law. "Fundamentally, we must decide if genocide is a bad enough crime, no matter where it happens, that it warrants the same treatment as terrorism-related crimes."

This is the first piece of legislation to be produced by the Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law, which has jurisdiction over all human rights laws and policies and follows a hearing held in February entitled "Genocide and the Rule of Law", where the Armenian Assembly submitted testimony. The Genocide Accountability Act has been endorsed by the Save Darfur Coalition, Genocide Intervention Network, American Jewish World Service, Armenian Assembly of America, Armenian National Committee of America, Human Rights First, Human Rights Watch, Alliance for Justice, Refugees International, and ENOUGH.

Note: Above are excerpts from the article. The full article appears here. Clarifications and comments by me are contained in {}. Deletions are marked by [...]. The bold emphasis is mine.



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