Pilibos Students Participate in the USC Institute of Armenian Studies ‘IN CONVERSATION SERIES’
BY LEANA ARABATLIAN
Ten decades after the Armenian Genocide, an important question has remained—Is justice still possible? The students at Rose and Alex Pilibos Armenian School have persistently analyzed the terrible aftermath of the genocide and have as a scholarly exercise questioned what exactly categorizes a shameless crime as genocide. On Thursday, September 3, 2015 the junior class visited the University of Southern California and had an incredible opportunity to witness a presentation from international criminal prosecutor Nicholas Koumjian and USC Law International Human Rights Clinic Director Hannah Garry.
During the interview, Mr. Nicholas Koumjian explained the avenues through which victims of genocide can seek justice, both on an international and national stage. Mr. Koumjian specifically spoke about the Cambodian Genocide, and his experiences working on cases in the Extraordinary Chambers in the courts of Cambodia. It was really interesting to listen to him speak on a matter that Armenians are unquestionably passionate about. My classmates and I were able to observe and gain valuable insight about different genocides and how there are many current day perpetrators of this unthinkable crime. Listening to the dialogue allowed me to put into perspective our own dark past as Armenians. The idea of seeking justice is more than merely convicting an individual or group for the crime, but it is about beginning the healing process and providing reparations. It is also about learning from past mistakes and ensuring that such atrocities do not continue to happen.
Pilibos students understand that while it has been a century since the Armenian Genocide occurred, the value and importance of justice is timeless. The perpetrators of any genocide heavily rely on the indifference of bystanders. On behalf of my junior class, I can promise we will not be spectators in the face of cruelty, but champions in the pursuit of justice.