Tuesday, 1 July 2008

ANCA Weekly Update 24th June 2008

TOP STORY: Sen. Boxer Ensures Senate Panel Has Time to Review U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Nomination

State Department Failed to Provide Written Responses to Senate Inquiries in a Timely Manner

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today secured a one-month delay in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s consideration of the confirmation of U.S. Ambassador to Armenia nominee Marie Yovanovitch in response to the State Department’s delay in providing timely written responses to the eight sets of written questions submitted to her by members of the panel, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

“Senator Boxer not only provided Senators with the opportunity they would otherwise have been denied to meaningfully review the nominee’s responses, but also, very significantly, ensured that all Americans citizens – including Armenian Americans and those who share our commitment to ending the cycle of genocide – have a chance to study her answers and take part in the civic discourse over a diplomatic posting that has been the center of national attention since the Administration’s firing of Ambassador John Evans over his truthful remarks on the Armenian Genocide,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian.

“Throughout this process, we have been deeply gratified by the vigorous oversight exercised by so many Senators over a set of deeply flawed policies toward Armenia and the region, particularly the excellent line of questions posed by Senator Bob Menendez at last week’s Foreign Relations Committee hearing, and the extensive written inquiries that he and his Senate colleagues – panel Chairman Joe Biden, Barbara Boxer, Robert Casey, Norm Coleman, Russ Feingold, John Kerry, and Presidential candidate Barack Obama – have submitted to Ambassador Designate Yovanovitch.”

As of close of business the day before the Committee was set to vote on the nomination, the nominee had yet to respond to all Senate inquiries, with several responses only being provided hours before the scheduled vote. The Senate Committee vote will likely be held following the July 4th Congressional recess. Ambassador Designate Yovanovitch’s currently available responses are posted on the ANCA website. Read Amb. Yovanovitch's responses and more. . .


Key Senate Panel Seeks Greater Accountability for Crimes Against Humanity

WASHINGTON, DC – An overflow crowd was on hand today for an unprecedented U.S. Senate hearing exploring means of ensuring greater accountability for perpetrators of crimes against humanity, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

Chaired by Assistant Majority Leader Richard Durbin (D-IL), who heads the Senate’s Judiciary Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law, the hearing provided legislators an opportunity to hear from experts regarding the crafting of U.S. laws to empower the prosecution of individuals who have committed genocide and other crimes against humanity.

“This subcommittee is focused on legislation, not lamentation,” proclaimed Chairman Durbin at outset of the hearing. In his remarks, he focused on the ongoing genocide in Darfur, making it clear that “part of the solution is to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators of these horrific crimes. Otherwise they will continue to act with impunity.” The Illinois Senator emphasized that U.S. efforts will “ring hollow unless we lead the world in punishing those responsible for the gravest human rights violations.”

A main theme that ran throughout the hearing was the lack of U.S. laws that would allow for the prosecution in the United States of those who have committed mass killings on foreign soil. Several Senators noted how the absence of this legislation undermines the ability of the United States to hold accountable those responsible for the Darfur Genocide and the crimes currently being committed in Chad.

The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) will be offering written testimony to be submitted as part of the permanent record of this hearing. Read more. . .

The above news items are published by the Armenian National Committe of America and reproduced with thanks

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