In order to save Artsakh, we must protect international law without restriction

  • by Western Armenia, July 29, 2023 in Official

On the eve of the Centenary of the Treaty of Lausanne, the anniversary of a legally null and void statutory rendering, the situation in Asia Minor and the Middle East is on the brink of upheaval.

It's true that on Internet sites, historical study platforms, in the opinion of historians themselves, and even in large-scale propaganda, the Treaty of Lausanne is said to have replaced the Treaty of Sèvres.

This question is not just a historical or propaganda issue; it is also a legal one.

Can the Treaty of Lausanne legally replace the Treaty of Sèvres?

The government of Western Armenia began its formation on January 11, 1918 (December 29, 1917), and in parallel with the liberation of Cilicia, when Vahan Avanesov, Prosh Proshian, and Vahan Terian, after meeting Lenin once again, called Stepan Shahumian to form the first government of the so-called Turkish Western Armenia.

From the Yerznka Armistice (December 18, 1917) and the Moudros Armistice (October 30, 1918) to the Arbitration Award of the 28th President of the United States, Woodrow Wilson (November 22, 1920), the question of Armenian independence became a matter of international law.

After Boghos Nubar Pasha presented a Memorandum to the Versailles Peace Conference on February 26, 1919, and formed a government on the Versailles Peace Conference, he obtained de facto official recognition on January 19, 1920, by the Supreme Council of the Allies. Recognition was also obtained through Boghos Nubar Pasha's efforts following the formation of the Government of Integral Armenia on May 15, 1919.

The government of Western Armenia today is a continuation of the State of Armenia recognized in 1920, which gained independence from Russia on January 11, 1918 (December 29, 1917).

Armenia, on the territory of Western Armenia, was then de facto internationally recognized on January 19, 1920, in the following terms:

On the basis of this governmental formation, on January 27, 1920, the General Secretariat of the Peace Conference notified the Chairman of the Armenian National Delegation that, in its meeting of January 19, 1920, the Supreme Council had taken the following two decisions:

"1° That the government of the Armenian State shall be recognized as a de facto government;

"2° That this recognition does not prejudge the question of the possible borders of this State."

Artsakh, Nakhijevan, Djavakhk, the present-day Armenian Republic of the Caucasus, Cilicia, and, of course, Western Armenia were all part of the State of Armenia.

After Armenia was recognized de facto on January 19, 1920, Armenia (from Western Armenia) was recognized de jure on May 11, 1920, including by the United States.

It was decided that the capital of the Armenian state would be (Karin).

The Supreme Council transmits the Treaty of Sèvres for signature to Turkey, which has one month to submit its counter-proposals.

After Damad Férid Pacha, Vizier of the Ottoman Empire, presented a Memorandum to the Supreme Council of the Allies, Turkey recognized only the Armenian territory corresponding to the Treaty of Batoum (11,000 km2). Faced with a further refusal from the Supreme Council of the Allies, Turkey recognized the new Armenian state from Cilicia to Artsakh on June 25, 1920.

On July 22, 1920, under the presidency of Sultan Vahidettin (Mehmed VI), the Treaty was adopted by the Sovereignty Council, which considered "that it would rather have a weak existence than a heavy loss." This adoption materialized in a single, final act under the aegis of the Sultan, the signing of the Treaty of Sèvres.

On August 4, 1920, the Armenians of Cilicia declared their independence.

On August 10, 1920, the Allied and Associated Powers and Turkey signed the International Peace Treaty at Sèvres. Delayed four times due to the Italo-Greek conflict, the signing of the Turkish treaty took place on August 10 at 4 pm in the Salon d'Honneur of the Sèvres factory. (Treaty of Sèvres 433 articles + additional treaties).

On August 10, 1920, Turkey and the states of Great Britain, France, Italy, Japan, Belgium, Greece, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Czechoslovakia and Armenia signed the Treaty of Sevres.

Armenia signed the Treaty of Sèvres.

The International Treaty has also been ratified by Turkey, insofar as the Sultan's signing decree is an imperial order. (In accordance with the Constitution of the Ottoman Empire). Since then, the Sèvres Treaty had not been ratified by Armenia.

An additional treaty was also signed on behalf of Armenia with the Allied States on the rights of national minorities, diplomatic and commercial relations on the basis of Article 93 of the Treaty of Sevres.

In terms of international law, the Republic of Armenia, originating from the territory of Western Armenia and being a de jure party to the Treaty of Sèvres, is recognized by all other signatory states.

According to the fundamental rule of public international law, when a collective treaty is abrogated and replaced by another, the latter will not be enforceable against the signatory State of the first treaty that has not been a party to the second. Therefore, for that State, the first treaty continues to have effect.

As Armenia was a signatory to the Treaty of Sèvres but not to the Treaty of Lausanne, it can legitimately request the application of the provisions of the Treaty of Sèvres.

Without delving into the details of the treaty, we note that the section on Armenia includes articles 88 to 93. Turkey recognized Armenia as a sovereign, free, and independent state. Turkish Armenia, which is now the Republic of Armenia, agreed to let the United States demarcate the border between the two countries. The Republic of Armenia's borders with Georgia and Azerbaijan were to be determined through direct negotiations with these countries based on Article 92 of the Treaty of Sèvres.

In April 1920, the Supreme Council of the Allied Powers, representing Great Britain, France, Italy, and Japan, made two requests to the 28th President of the United States, Woodrow Wilson:

To accept the protectorate mandate over Armenia,

To determine the border between Armenia and Turkey through arbitration.

The first request was rejected by a vote of the US Senate. However, the second request was officially confirmed in a letter dated April 27, 1920, from the President of the Supreme Council of the Allies, the French Prime Minister, and Foreign Minister Millerand. This request, in the form of Article 89, was included in the Treaty of Sèvres - already on behalf of Armenia, Turkey, and nearly twenty other signatory countries - addressed to the President of the United States, who made the arbitration award. The award is final and must be enforced. It has no time limit, and its status is not affected by the fate of the verdict.

Even though the Treaty of Sèvres has not been ratified by all parties, such as France, it has been applied by some of these non-ratifying parties. For example, France dealt with the question of Mandates for the protection of civilian populations in Cilicia, Great Britain, and Italy, which were not respected.

To better understand the ratification system of the signatory parties to the Treaty of Sèvres, it is important to study the national constitutions of each of the signatory states, including the Ottoman Empire (Turkey). For example, following the Sovereign Council of Sultan Mehmed VI on July 22, 1920, the Sultan ordered the signing of the Treaty of Sèvres, which, according to the Ottoman Constitution, is equivalent to ratification.

The figures on reparations given in this study do not take into account the entire genocidal period, nor the characteristics presented at the Peace Conference by Boghos Nubar in Paris in February 1919.

Armenians must demand, among other things, that the signatory states ratify the Treaty of Sèvres.

To claim that the Treaty of Sèvres is not in force, or that it should be replaced, is part of a negationist policy linked to the genocide of the Armenian people (two million victims), to the illegal territorial occupation of the State of Western Armenia, to the destruction of its multi-millenary heritage, to the illegal exploitation of its genetic resources and to the destruction of its natural environment, with serious anti-Armenian and, of course, anti-Western Armenian consequences.

Never before has a peace treaty, commonly known as the Treaty of Sèvres, been the subject of such an aggressive policy to try to replace it, in the face of the populations concerned.

In an attempt to replace the Treaty of Sèvres without being able to revise it, certain states and political forces organized the Treaty of Alexandropol (December 2, 1920), the Treaty of Moscow (March 16, 1921), the Treaty of Kars (October 20, 1921), the Treaty or Agreement of Angora (October 20, 1921), the Treaty of Lausanne (July 24, 1923), the agreement with the Kurdish organization Hoyboun (1927), the European Parliament's Political Resolution on the Armenian Question (June 18, 1987), the situation in Soviet Armenia (1988/1989), the first war in Artsakh, the destruction of the Jugha cemetery (December 14, 2005) in Nakhichevan, the second war in Artsakh, leading to the next (future) agreements between Azerbaijan, Turkey and the Republic of (Eastern) Armenia.

The second war in Artsakh which began on September 27, 2020, with the unhidden aim of ethnic cleansing of the Armenian population of Artsakh by Azerbaijan and the signing of the November 9, 2020 agreement, has only one aim, to bypass the Treaty of Sèvres once again, with the aim of signing a new Peace Treaty with the authorities in Yerevan who reject any official involvement in the conflict between the Armenians of Artsakh and Azerbaijan.

The very de facto existence of a new Armenia (Yerevan) from Soviet Armenia (1921) following the dismantling of the recognized Armenian state of 1920, on the basis of the Alma-Ata agreement (1991) allegedly currently defended by France, has no legal basis.

All this was not enough (these agreements are not legally legitimate), and will not be enough to replace the Treaty of Sèvres and to curb the claims of Western Armenia and the exequatur of President Woodrow Wilson's Arbitral Award.


Article 16. - Turkey declares that it renounces all rights and titles, of any nature whatsoever, over or concerning the territories situated beyond the frontiers provided for in the present Treaty and over the islands other than those over which sovereignty is recognized by the said Treaty, the fate of these territories and islands being settled or to be settled by the parties concerned. The provisions of the present Article are without prejudice to special stipulations made or to be made between Turkey and neighboring countries by reason of their proximity.

Article 25. - Turkey undertakes to recognize the full value of the Peace Treaties and additional Conventions concluded by the other Contracting Powers with the Powers which fought on Turkey's side, to agree to the provisions which have been or will be made concerning the territories of the former German Empire, Austria, Hungary and Bulgaria, and to recognize the new States within the frontiers thus fixed.

Article 434. - Germany undertakes to recognize the full value of the peace treaties and additional conventions which will be concluded by the allied and associated powers, with the powers which fought alongside Germany, to agree to the provisions which will be made concerning the territories of the former monarchy of Austria-Hungary, of the kingdom of Bulgaria and of the Ottoman Empire, and to recognize the new States within the borders which will thus be fixed for them. Signed on June 28, 1919, the Treaty of Versailles was ratified by France

France on January 10, 1920, nine days before the de facto recognition of the Armenian government.

Consequently, the Treaty of Sèvres was ratified by Western Armenia on June 24, 2016.

In respect of the victims of the genocide perpetrated against the Armenian nation,

In respect for all the commitments made to the Armenian nation for the application of justice to repair the crimes suffered,

By respecting human rights, the fundamental basis for building a Humanity based on its strongest values,

To save Artsakh, we must defend international law without restrictions.

July 17, 2023


President of the National Council of Western Armenia

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