Today, Armenia’s Human Right Defender Arman Tatoyan took to Facebook to thanked two prominent U.S. based Armenian attorneys Garo Ghazarian and Karnig Kerkonian who have been with us “from the very start of this war. Every day since September 27, 2020” for collaborating and playing an unparalleled role in protecting human rights in Artsakh and Armenia.
Mr. Ghazarian is based in Los Angeles and Mr. Kerkonian, in Chicago are the Co-Chairs of the Armenian Rights Watch Committee (ARWC)
The full post of the Human Right Defender runs as follows,
“Their support over the years is a genuine example of what cooperation between Armenia and Artsakh and the Diaspora should be like,” said Tatoyan.
“Throughout the war, they played an unparalleled role in protecting human rights in Artsakh and Armenia, by assisting the Human Rights Defenders in Armenia and Artsakh in compiling, monitoring, reporting, documenting and analyzing war crimes by Azerbaijan, and by cultivating strong ties with international human rights organizations in the United States and other countries. Thanks to their efforts, cooperation was fostered with other Armenian organizations in the Diaspora too, they being the bridge between the Armenian Diaspora, on the one hand, and Armenia and Artsakh, on the other.
Mr. Ghazarian and Mr. Kerkonian, through their dedicated efforts and true professionalism, have raised and continue to raise public awareness through the Armenian Bar Association of the United States about the hostilities, the true objectives of the Azerbaijani authorities, including Azerbaijani war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Artsakh and Armenia.
During this time, they also led a series of widely-broadcast public discussions not only on legal matters related to the war, but also on its geopolitical and historical implications. Thanks to their devoted public activities and engagements, not only the Armenian Diaspora, but also the international community, was accurately informed about the war. Their efforts and contributions have been simply invaluable.
Me and Mr. Artak Beglaryan, the Human Rights Defenders of both Armenia and Artsakh have never been made to feel by Garo Ghazarian and Karnig Kerkonian, that the amount of support we need from them is enormous, whether we are calling upon them for complex professional analysis of human rights and humanitarian law or for the translation of our reports and statements into English. Despite their own professional workloads, their complex law practices and work, and the huge time difference in their core working hours in the United States, their response time to our requests was not so much as delayed by a few minutes, and more often then not they responded within seconds.
To this day, Garo Ghazarian and Karnig Kerkonian continue to support us by providing their assistance around the clock in all human rights matters and issues (i.e. official letters to international bodies, follow-up work on the return of prisoners of war, recording of Azerbaijani war crimes, and a host of other issues).
It is especially important that they, as long-time practicing lawyers in the United States, utilize their practical knowledge and experience to support us.
They are our partners, and as partners, they also did absolutely the same selfless service during our crisis in April of 2016, during July of 2020, and indeed during all other periods of hostilities and crisis in years past.
The role of these Co-Chairs of the Armenian Rights Watch Committee is also invaluable in improving the human rights system in Armenia.
In particular, every public gathering, rally or protest, every police action or use of force, children and women’s rights, the rights of servicemen, or any other human rights issue, has always been subject to their immediate focus.
Each time, through public feedback and professional analysis, they have immensely helped the Human Rights Defender of Armenia to find the right solutions to those problems and to settle those solutions in accordance with international best practices. In their customary and frequent visits to Armenia and Artsakh, they have devoted their time to the discussions of important human rights issues with an aim to identify and seek solutions.
Moreover, Mr. Garo Ghazarian and Mr. Karnig Kerkonian continue to undertake all these measures to protect the rights of Armenians in other countries of the world as well, from the Middle East to Europe, from South America to the United States of America and other countries.
Our Armenian-American partners also provide active teaching and training in the United States, Armenia and Artsakh. For example, Garo Ghazarian has been the Dean and a law professor at a School of Law in California for 22 years, and has in the past also lectured on criminal procedure and investigation for the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Karnig Kerkonian has taught international law at Artsakh State University and, during this war, filed a lawsuit on behalf of Artsakh and Artsakh civilians in the US Federal District Court in Washington DC.
Importantly, Mr. Ghazarian and Mr. Kerkonian also have conducted a legal course for the staff of the Human Rights Defender of Armenia, especially in connection with practical issues of human rights protection during the investigation of criminal cases as well as regarding legal writing to international institutions, commensurate with their vast litigation backgrounds and their international experience.
They have played a significant role in the 2017 establishment of a law clinic at Artsakh State University and with the training of legal specialists in that clinic with advanced law practice standards.
I express my sincere gratitude to our esteemed colleagues who continue to spare no effort and energy, especially during this difficult post-war period, in matters pertaining to the protection of the rights of our compatriots.”
The Human Rights Defender of Armenia