A. Hovsepyan: Treaty of Sevres Was Not Ratified But Was Not Denounced



A. Hovsepyan: Treaty of Sevres Was Not Ratified But Was Not Denounced –

Armenian specialists of international law have studied international agreements and drawn interesting conclusions, stated Prosecutor General Aghvan Hovsepyan during the conference of lawyers organized by the Ministry of Diaspora ahead of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

 According to the prosecutor general, studies by Armenian experts of international law found that the Treaty of Sevres dated 10 August 1920 is an important international treaty for the Armenian people though this treaty was not ratified by its signatories, it was not denounced by the Treaty of Lausanne dated 23 July 1923.

 “The Treaty of Sevres has not been ratified but it has not come out of effect. However, from the aspect of normalization of the Armenian-Turkish relations not the Treaty of Sevres but the arbitration decision of the U.S. President Woodrow Wilson of 22 November 1920 which defined the territories of Armenia is important,” Aghvan Vardanyan said.

 He noted that according to the famous provisions of international law, if the parties to a dispute agree to invite an arbiter to resolve their dispute, they agree to fulfill any ruling by the arbiter. In addition, the ruling of the arbiter is final and is irrevocable and has no time limitation.

 According to Aghvan Hovsepyan, the mentioned ruling by the U.S. President Woodrow Wilson is such for Armenia, Turkey and another 16 countries. According to this ruling, the vilayets of Van, Bitlis, Erzurum and Trebizond with a territory of 103,599 square km passed to Armenia. Article 89 of the Treaty of Sevres states: “Turkey and Armenia as well as the other High Contracting Parties agree to submit to the arbitration of the President of the United States of America the question of the frontier to be fixed between Turkey and Armenia in the vilayets of Erzurum, Trebizond, Van and Bitlis, and to accept his decision thereupon, as well as any stipulations he may prescribe as to access for Armenia to the sea, and as to the demilitarisation of any portion of Turkish territory adjacent to the said frontier.”

 “A question may occur that if the Treaty of Sevres was not given effect, so its Article 89 did not come into effect, therefore the arbitration of the U.S. President Woodrow Wilson is not binding either. However, this issue is not that simple, and it cannot have a negative solution. This article is only the formulation of the expression of will of Armenia, Turkey and other countries based on which the U.S. President Woodrow Wilson set to and passed an arbitration ruling. Further ratification of the treaty or leaving it ungratified has nothing to do with the expression of will of the sides,” Aghvan Hovsepyan stated.

 The prosecutor general does not consider it accidental that the Treaty of Lausanne of 24 July 1923 has laid down the frontier of Turkey with Greece, Bulgaria and the contact line with the territories of Syria, meanwhile there is no word about laying down the Armenian-Turkish border. In particular, the Treaty of Lausanne does not include the vilayet of Kars in the current territory of Turkey. It means that current border of Turkey does not comply with the Treaty of Lausanne. “By the way, Congressmen Anthony Portantino and Judy Choo have also stated that the U.S. President Woodrow Wilson’s arbitration ruling is binding and irrevocable,” Aghvan Hovsepyan highlighted.

 “One can object that the Armenian-Turkish border was laid down by the Russian-Turkish treaty of Moscow of 21 March 1921 under which Kars and Ardahan passed to Turkey, Nakhidjevan was separated from Armenia and passed under Azerbaijan’s aegis with the status of an autonomous region.

 However, the prosecutor general finds that the treaty cannot be treated as a full international treaty because the signatories were not recognized states at the moment of signing the treaty. Besides, Armenia was not allowed to participate in the Russian-Turkish negotiations and did not sign the treaty. And one of the famous principles of international law is that the third party which is not a signatory does not bear any responsibility.

 One can object that Armenia has taken part in the negotiations with Turks in Kars in October 1921 and signed the treaty of 21 October 1921 about passing Surmalu to Turks. However, the treaty was not valid initially because Armenia was part of Russia and was not a subject of international law.”

 “I touched upon this serious international legal problem transiently because my purpose is not a thorough legal study but to draw attention of the participants of the conference to the necessity of study. I hope that the lawyers have the necessary potential to study international lawyers and draw the necessary conclusions relating to the Armenian-Turkish relations,” Aghvan Hovsepyan – See more at: 

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.