ArmenBar to Host ‘Genocide and its Aftermath Remedies’ Conference in Las Vegas on January 15


LAS VEGAS — The Tropicana Hotel and Casino will be the venue, as the Armenian Bar Association (ArmenBar) will present a group of legal experts on January 15. Vartkes Yeghiayan, who has gained acclaimed fame as a Genocide reparations pioneer, and Arda Yemenidjian, a community leader and philanthropist, will receive special recognition at a luncheon in their honor.

The event is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., in the Tropicana Conference Center and will include a luncheon and evening reception following the lectures. The Tropicana, once the gold standard on the Las Vegas strip, has undergone a recent $180-million renovation under the direction of new owner, Alex Yemenidjian, and is on its way to re-establishing its reputation as a premiere Vegas destination. Features such as Nikki Beach, the Las Vegas Mob Experience and a state-of-the-art sports are just a few of the many attractions awaiting those who attend.

Preeminent attorney Yeghiayan will be joined by law professor Michael Bazyler, federal court international litigation expert Lee Crawford- Boyd, and Setrak Davuthan, a community attorney for Turkish Armenians. Two topics will be presented as part of the program, including “Legal Remedies, Restitution or Monetary Compensation for the Dispossession of Armenians of pre-Genocide Communal and Private Property in Their Homeland” and “Current State of Legal Affairs Involving Armenians in Turkey.” Attorneys attending the event will receive four units of continuing legal education credits.

“We are extremely proud to present such a distinguished group of legal scholars to our membership, and to honor two leaders of our community,” said Edvin Minassian, chairman of ArmenBar. “While this legal education event is geared toward the legal community, we invite members of the public to attend what promises to be a fascinating series of lectures.”

The legal remedies discussion will be moderated by Bazyler, a Chapman University School of Law professor, and will include Yeghiayan and Crawford-Boyd. Bazyler is a leading authority on the use of the American and European courts to redress genocide and other historical wrongs. Bazyler is the author of the book Holocaust Justice: The Battle for Restitution in America’s Courts and is the co-editor of Holocaust Restitution: Perspectives on the Litigation and its Legacy.

Boyd is of counsel with the law firm of Howarth & Smith in Los Angeles. She is an adjunct professor at Pepperdine Law School teaching international law, complex litigation and human rights. As a litigation consultant, she specializes in federal court complex cases and international relations.

The discussion regarding the state of legal affairs involving Armenians in Turkey will be delivered by Davuthan. He is a lawyer for the foundations of the Armenian community in Istanbul. He led the precedent setting legal effort for Armenian Foundations in Istanbul before the European Court of Human Rights, successfully recovering real property seized in 1936 from Samatya Surp (Saint) Kevork Armenian Church Trust and the Surp Pirgic Yedikule Hospital Foundation. Davuthan has represented the community in a diverse number of cases including the rights of Turkish Armenians to elect a new Patriarch and the rights of children of Armenian citizens to attend private schools in Turkey.

Yeghiayan was responsible for initiating, and was lead counsel, in the landmark case of Marootian v. New York Life. The class-action lawsuit sought to recover life insurance proceeds relating to victims of the Armenian Genocide. The case resulted in a $20 million settlement and touched off a series of cases involving recovery of Genocide-related claims. He is currently involved in a case against the Turkish government and two Turkish banks to recover $63 million for land improperly seized from Armenians during the Genocide, including land on which the strategic Incirlik airbase utilized by the US military sites.

Yeghiayan is an author and historian, having published extensively. Included among his many accolades is the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, for his commitment to both the United States and his heritage. He will receive ArmenBar’s Lifetime Achievement Award at the luncheon.

Arda Yemenidjian will also be recognized at the luncheon, as ArmenBar will bestow upon her an award for public service. She is the wife of Alex Yemenidjian, the former CEO of MGM Studios and current owner of the Tropicana. Arda Yemenidjian is one of the first graduates of the Ferrahian High School in Encino, the first Armenian school in California. She has been involved in the legal field for many years, managing the Law Office of Terenik Koujakian, her brother. She has been involved with a number of Armenian charities and non-profit organizations.  She will be honored for her lifelong commitment to public service.

For more information about the event, including ticket prices, visit the Armenian Bar Association website at www.armenianbar.org.