I. Introduction

One year ago, on April 24th, 2021, President Biden did what no U.S. President had done before and recognized the atrocities committed against the Armenian population by the Ottoman Empire in 1915 as genocide. Descendants of Armenian Genocide survivors living in the United States, scholars, attorneys, and others close to the Armenian community, saw this acknowledgement as a step towards accountability.[1] Not only did this recognition place political pressure on Turkey[2] and offer a moral sense of redress through the recognition of the victims’ dignity, but it also opened doors for strategic litigation in U.S. courts that had been closed previously. Before Biden Administration’s recognition, many claims brought in U.S. courts seeking redress for harms suffered in connection to the Armenian Genocide were unsuccessful because the executive branch had not clearly designated the 1915 events as genocide. Without this designation, the judiciary often cited the “act of state doctrine”[3] or similar principles of deferring to the executive with regard to matters of foreign affairs, to dismiss Armenian Genocide cases before reaching their merits. Now that this obstacle to Armenian Genocide litigation has been removed with U.S. official recognition, litigants can try to bring Armenian Genocide claims again in U.S. courts with hope to reach the merits stage. Even without guarantee to win on the merits, the ability to reach this stage gives litigants both a greater chance of success as well as a sense of fairness in that their claims will be decided on the basis of their strength in law and will be less influenced by geopolitics.

Through an examination of the trajectory of Armenian Genocide litigation in the United States, this Article addresses the legal significance of U.S. genocide designations, a particularly timely analysis. In just the past year the United States has officially declared three atrocities genocide: the Ottoman Empire’s Genocide of the Armenians,[4] China’s Genocide of the Uyghurs,[5] and Myanmar’s Genocide of the Rohingya.[6] Not only is such recognition important for upholding human dignity and signaling the United States’ intolerance for impunity, but it also opens possible avenues for accountability and redress in the United States. Even if litigation for the Armenian Genocide may be limited given the fact that over a century has passed since its perpetration and evidence may be stale, lacking, or inadmissible, a review of the ways in which recognition for the Armenian Genocide could have propelled failed cases forward shed light on the importance of recognition for other potential genocide-related litigation in the United States for ongoing genocides today.

II. History of U.S. litigation involving the Armenian Genocide: “Impermissibly Intruding on Foreign Affairs”

For the past 100 years, creative lawyers have attempted to bring cases in the United States for descendants of Armenian Genocide survivors, mostly against banks or life insurance groups. Oftentimes those cases would fail: without the executive branch’s recognition (or even after the legislative branch’s recognition in 2019[7]), the judiciary hesitated to deem the killings of 1915 a genocide through its decisions. Courts would often decide that the nature of the 1915 events was not yet fully settled by the executive and fell outside the judicial powers, thereby hindering certain avenues for justice for descendants of those affected in the Genocide. This Section reviews some of those failed cases implicating lack of U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide as one of the reasons for dismissal, in order to better understand the legal implications of President Biden’s designation of the 1915 massacres of 1.5 million Armenians as genocide.

Courts have long recognized that foreign affairs are a matter to be left to the executive branch. The Constitution reserves exclusively to the federal government the power to make and resolve war, including the power to legislate restitution and reparations claims.[8] Within the ambit of the executive’s foreign affairs power is the legal designation of a mass killing as genocide. In Sarei v. Rio Tinto, PLC, the dissenting judge articulates the broad scope of this power:

“The political branches may choose to take no action against terrible evils to preserve essential alliances, as they did with respect to the Soviet Union during World War II; to avoid entanglements that would cost blood and money despite the justice of the cause, as with the Rwandan genocide; to avoid giving offense to regimes whose votes are useful to us in the United Nations or whose disinvestment in treasury securities would damage our economy; and to avoid ejection of our military bases from foreign territory if we characterized their history in an offensive manner, as with the Armenian genocide by Turkey. These political decisions are not pretty, but they are an integral part of the management of foreign affairs, and this task is for good reasons not assigned to the judiciary.”[9]

The court’s concern of impermissibly intruding into foreign affairs is what has stopped many U.S. cases related to the Armenian Genocide before they could reach an assessment on the merits. This Part will review four cases: Deirmenjian v. Deutsche Bank A.G.;[10] Bakalian v. Central Bank of Republic of Turkey;[11] Movsesian v. Victoria Verischerung A.G.;[12] and Davoyan v. Republic of Turkey.[13]

A. Deirmenjian v. Deutsche Bank A.G.

In Deirmenjian, California residents of Armenian descent filed a putative class action against German banks operating in Turkey, alleging that the banks withheld money from Armenian account holders following the Armenian Genocide.[14] The defendants claimed that “as a matter of Turkish … and international law the Republic of Turkey is the successor state of the Ottoman Empire,” and it “has not disavowed its acts.”[15] As a consequence, the defendants argued, adjudication of the action could interfere with the United States’ relations with Turkey. The court engaged in a choice of law analysis and decided that Turkish law would apply to the claims, rather than U.S. or, more specifically, California law.[16] The choice of law analysis is consequential. California Code of Civil Procedure poses no statute of limitation on actions brought to recover money or other property deposited with any bank.[17] Thus, under California law, the plaintiffs’ claims would likely not have been time-barred. Conversely, under Turkish law, the claims were time-barred after ten years, and thus the plaintiffs found no recourse.[18]

The choice of law analysis included a governmental interest test. First, the court examined each jurisdiction’s interest in applying its own law to the particular case to determine whether a true conflict existed.[19] Then, the court evaluated and compared the nature and strength of each jurisdiction’s interest to determine whose interest would be more impaired if its policy was subordinated.[20] In carrying out this analysis, the court worried whether its decision would disrupt U.S. relations with Turkey. To prove the possibility of disruption, the defendants cited the fact that in 2000, several former executive officials wrote to the Chairman of the House Committee on International Relations and urged the defeat of a bill that would have officially categorized the Armenian tragedy as genocide.[21] The appellate court ultimately decided that Turkey’s interests in applying its laws to conducts that occurred within its borders and in regulating companies doing business there predominated over California’s interests in applying its law.[22] This finding only served to reinforce judicial hesitation in ruling on cases regarding redress for the Armenian Genocide.

B. Movsesian v. Victoria Verischerung A.G.

Not only are federal courts presumed to relegate any foreign affairs matters to the executive, but states are too.[23] Under the Supremacy Clause, the Constitution and acts of Congress preempt state law.[24] State law therefore must yield to federal law where: (1) an express provision for preemption is included in federal law; (2) federal law was intended to occupy the relevant field; or (3) state law conflicts with federal law.[25] Under this formulation, a state law that interferes with foreign affairs may be unconstitutional if it “may disturb foreign relations.”[26] However, a state law with no more than an “incidental or indirect effect in foreign countries” would be valid.[27] This is known as the “incidental effects test,” whose application the Supreme Court[28] and several circuits have addressed, one example of which is Movsesian.

In Movsesian, the Ninth Circuit held that a California statute vesting state courts with jurisdiction over insurance actions by Armenian Genocide victims and extending the statute of limitations for victims’ claims was unconstitutional. It found that the statute at issue had “more than some incidental or indirect effect” on foreign affairs because it established “a particular foreign policy for California — one that decrie[d] the actions of the Ottoman Empire and [sought] to provide redress for ‘Armenian Genocide victims’ by subjecting foreign insurance companies to lawsuits in California.”[29] Ultimately, the Ninth Circuit held that the California Armenian Genocide insurance statute impermissibly intruded on foreign affairs by “impos[ing] the politically charged label of ‘genocide’ on the actions of the Ottoman Empire (and, consequently, present-day Turkey),” and by requiring courts to make a “highly politicized inquiry” into whether a policyholder “escaped” the Ottoman Empire “to avoid persecution”.[30] The court further said,

“The passage of nearly a century since the events in question has not extinguished the potential effect of section 354.4 [of the California Code of Civil Procedure: Armenian Genocide victims; insurance policy claims; waiver of statute of limitations] on foreign affairs. On the contrary, Turkey expresses great concern over the issue, which continues to be a hotly contested matter of foreign policy around the world.”[31]

Later cases have cited Movsesian as a representative case for the principle that a state could be deemed to have intruded impermissibly on foreign affairs by “express[ing] a distinct point of view on a specific matter of foreign policy” and “send[ing] a political message on an issue of foreign affairs by providing relief and a friendly forum to a perceived class of foreign victims.”[32] However, when the federal government designates an atrocity as genocide, such concerns of intruding impermissibly on foreign affairs cease to exist because the act of state defense does not extend to acts of genocide — which constitute  a “‘clear and unambiguous’ violation of the law of nations.”[33] Thus, the California statute in Movsesian might not have been preempted had the genocide designation been in place at the time.

C. Davoyan v. Republic of Turkey

Davoyan, a case brought around the same time as Movsesian, furthered this hesitancy to reach the merits of Armenian Genocide-related cases absent of U.S. designation of the atrocities as genocide. In Davoyan, grandchildren of Armenians and former Turkish citizens brought a putative class action against the Republic of Turkey and Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey, alleging that their grandfathers were deprived of citizenship, deported, and had their property seized and expropriated by Turkey or its predecessor government under the Ottoman Empire.[34] Similar to Movsesian, the Davoyan court declines to decide this case because they did not wish to answer the question of whether the events of 1915 were genocide. The court concluded,

“In either case, [referencing Movsesian], allowing the lawsuit to proceed would involve judicial interference in foreign relations—here because establishing that ‘genocide’ occurred is a jurisdictional prerequisite. In light of the political question doctrine and analogous Ninth Circuit precedent, this Court cannot resolve such an inherently political question that our Constitution reserves for the other two coordinate branches of government. Therefore, this lawsuit must be dismissed.”[35]

It is clear that a case like Davoyan would have been able to move further along had the genocide designation already been in place.

D. Bakalian v. Central Bank of Republic of Turkey

Most recently in Bakalian, grandchildren of Armenians and former Turkish citizens brought a putative class action against two Turkish national banks, similarly seeking compensation for property taken from their ancestors. They brought the case under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), which establishes the limitations on whether a foreign sovereign nation may be sued in U.S. courts.[36] While foreign sovereigns enjoy jurisdictional immunity by default, exceptions exist under the FSIA.[37] One of these exceptions is the expropriation exception, which grants U.S. courts jurisdiction over foreign states in cases where rights in property taken in violation of international law are at issue.[38]

Although the court in Bakalian did not reach the substantial legal questions concerning FSIA jurisdiction, it did raise an important question, of whether the judiciary could be the first branch to decide that a genocide has occurred. The court rested its decision “on a straightforward statute of limitations determination” and found that the plaintiffs’ claims were time-barred.[39] Otherwise, the court further elaborated, it would have had to decide “a complex issue of first impression: whether the FSIA necessarily authorizes the judiciary to decide in the first instance whether a genocide has occurred even if a foreign state denies that it has.”[40] The genocide determination was critical in this case because it was necessary to allow the cause of action to properly fall within the expropriation exception. For many years, including when Bakalian was decided, there was a judge-made exception to the FSIA in which courts had interpreted the expropriation exception to incorporate international human rights law. Thus, some courts held that a state’s systematic expropriation of its nationals’ property in conjunction with an alleged genocidal scheme could establish jurisdiction under the FSIA’s expropriation exception.[41]

While this legal path could have been available for descendants of Armenian Genocide survivors just a few months prior to President Biden’s official recognition, it is unfortunately cut off by a quiet ruling by the Supreme Court in February 2021.[42] In Germany v. Philipp, the Court held that the expropriation exception to the FSIA does not cover expropriations of property belonging to a country’s own nationals, on the reasoning that the expropriation exception is tied to the international law of expropriation specifically, and does not incorporate broader international law, including human rights law.[43] Under international human rights law, including laws prohibiting genocide, there might be a cause of action against a sovereign in a foreign court; by contrast, under the international law of expropriation, a foreign sovereign’s taking of its own nationals’ property — that is, a domestic taking — remains a domestic affair.[44] Thus, descendants of those Armenians who were citizens of the Ottoman Empire and whose property was taken by the Ottoman Empire would not be able to use this exception to hold the Turkish government or its instrumentalities accountable for their ancestors’ loss of property since the Supreme Court held that the expropriation exception excludes domestic takings.

III. Conclusion

While the expropriation exception of the FSIA may no longer be a viable litigation avenue, there are still available paths for genocide litigation in the United States through civil federal statutes like the Alien Tort Statute,[45] possible criminal prosecution under the Genocide Statute,[46] and both primary and secondary liability state law tort claims, including negligence per se, intentional infliction of emotional distress, unjust enrichment, conspiracy, aiding and abetting of wrongful death, assault, battery, and more. In each of the four cases discussed above, an official genocide designation by the United States would have likely helped the cases go further and preserved the plaintiffs’ day in court.

This can be seen in one comparative case currently being litigated in New York, Kashef v. BNP Paribas. The plaintiffs brought this case against a French corporation for aiding and abetting the Sudanese regime in its perpetration of genocide and raised twenty tort claims under New York law.[47] The atrocities that took place in Sudan are widely known and have been condemned by the United States as genocide.[48] The Second Circuit held that the act of state doctrine does not apply,[49] because “international law does not recognize an act that violates jus cogens as a sovereign act.”[50] In other words, acts of genocide and other atrocities allegedly committed by the Sudanese government violated jus cogens norms[51] and thus could not be considered “official acts” of Sudan.[52]

Kashef demonstrates how genocide recognition can help defeat the act of state doctrine defense. According to the district court, the act of state doctrine also bars claims against private entities if an inquiry into “the motives of [a] foreign government” is necessary to determine whether the defendant’s alleged conduct caused the plaintiff’s injury.[53] Thus, to impose secondary liability on BNP Paribas, the court held that it would need to conclude that the Sudanese government engaged in tortious conduct within its territorial boundaries against its own people, and having an official genocide determination is certainly one way to do that.[54]

The Kashef case demonstrates a way forward for accountability for jus cogens violations through state tort law against corporations or banks operating within and beside those sovereign states. In this scenario, foreign sovereign immunity might not pose a bar. To the extent that banks or corporations are not agents or instrumentalities of the state, they are not immune from jurisdiction in the United States. Even for national banks which are considered to be state agents or instrumentalities, the commercial activities exception under the FSIA might help absolve that immunity. The commercial activities exception applies when a cause of action is based on (1) a commercial activity carried on in the United States by the foreign state; (2) an act performed in the United States in connection with a commercial activity of the foreign state elsewhere; or (3) an act outside the territory of the United States in connection with a commercial activity of the foreign state elsewhere and that act causes a direct effect in the United States.[55] Numerous foreign banks and corporations have been held to lack immunity through this exception, and it is reasonable to expect the same exception to continue to apply in similar situations.[56] Thus, with ways around immunity and the act of state doctrine, genocide litigation has a foreseeable path forward in the United States.

While the same reasoning may well be true for litigation of Armenian Genocide claims, the United States perhaps does not intend the recognition to implicate any FSIA exceptions. Tellingly, the State Department said that “[t]he President’s recent statement was not intended to impact Turkey’s sovereign immunity from the civil jurisdiction of United States courts.”[57]

However, as Davoyan demonstrated, new statutes can be written to preclude the statute of limitations from another country, and state courts are bound by their state law unless the statute is unconstitutional. Now this specific California statute might be favored over foreign law because it may not raise as many red flags as before the recognition. Movsesian would have moved further without the determination of a “highly politicized inquiry” of the genocidal nature of the 1915 events. The same was true for Bakalian.

Just the idea that the official genocide recognition could open legal avenues that were closed due to the lack of genocide designation, is a striking testament to the importance of political will in order for certain legal avenues to be available. Official genocide designations have a value and significance that can be felt tangibly within the law, in addition to the intangible added political pressure along with the catharsis in feeling a sense that the victims and survivors’ dignity has been at least partially restored.

Official U.S. recognition/designation is particularly important for the ongoing human rights abuses and genocides in Myanmar and China today, as recourse to those countries’ legal systems are clearly unavailable and any complicity that can be litigated in U.S. courts can help provide some form of redress to those affected by the conflicts in real time. In recent history, such designations have been retroactive, leaving little recourse for those who suffered and only opening narrow avenues for litigation after the fact. However, designations as the crimes are happening are critical to stopping them and preventing more harm while we still can. In the field of U.S. human rights litigation, legal avenues are often blocked in the absence of political will. Hence, it is important to note the legal significance that comes from designations of ongoing genocides to identify how U.S. litigation can be a valuable avenue for efforts of redress and accountability today and in the future.


[1] See, e.g., Miriam Berger, What it means for the U.S. to recognize massacre of Armenians as genocide, Washington Post (Apr. 24, 2021),

[2] See, e.g., Natalie Longmire-Kulis, Recognizing the Armenian Genocide Marks a Historic Turning Point in American Foreign Policy, Just Sec. (Apr. 25, 2021),

[3] The act of state doctrine prohibits courts from sitting in judgment of another government’s acts. See generally, John Harrison, The American Act of State Doctrine, 47 Geo. J. Int’l L. 507 (2016).

[4] Statement by President Joe Biden on Armenian Remembrance Day, The White House (Apr. 24, 2021),

[5] Fadel Allassan, Biden signs historic bill punishing China for Uyghur genocide, Axios (Dec. 23, 2021),

[6] Secretary Antony J. Blinken on the Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity in Burma, U.S. Dep’t of State (Mar. 21, 2022),

[7] Anoush Baghdassarian, Congressional Recognition of the Armenian Genocide – 104 years of Denial, Harvard Hum. Rts. J. (Dec. 27, 2019),

[8] See, e.g., Von Saher v. Norton Simon Museum of Art at Pasadena, 592 F.3d 954, 965–66 (9th Cir. 2010).

[9] Sarei v. Rio Tinto, PLC, 671 F.3d 736, 815–16 (9th Cir. 2011).

[10] Deirmenjian v. Deutsche Bank A.G., No. CV 06-00774 MMM CWX, 2006 WL 4749756 (C.D. Cal. Sept. 25, 2006).

[11] Bakalian v. Cent. Bank of Republic of Turkey, 932 F.3d 1229 (9th Cir. 2019).

[12] Movsesian v. Victoria Verischerung A.G., 670 F.3d 1067 (9th Cir. 2012).

[13] Davoyan v. Republic of Turkey, 116 F. Supp. 3d 1084 (C.D. Cal. 2013).

[14] Deirmenjian, 2006 WL 4749756, at *1.

[15] Id. at *24.

[16] Deirmenjian v. Deutsche Bank A.G., 548 F. App’x 461, 463–66 (9th Cir. 2013).

[17] Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 354.45 (West).

[18] Deutsche Bank A.G., 548 F. App’x at 466.

[19] McCann v. Foster Wheeler LLC, 225 P.3d 516, 524 (Cal. 2010).

[20] Id. at 527.

[21] Deirmenjian v. Deutsche Bank A.G., No. CV 06-00774 MMM CWX, 2006 WL 4749756, at *26 (C.D. Cal. Sept. 25, 2006).

[22] Deutsche Bank A.G., 548 F. App’x at 466. It is interesting to note, though, that the district court was not completely without favor towards California’s interests in adjudicating the case. For example, earlier in the litigation, when presented with a motion to dismiss the case from U.S. courts on grounds of forum non conveniens (that is, the U.S. being a comparatively inconvenient forum), the court held that California had a local interest in resolving the controversy as “California is home to the largest populations of Armenians in the world outside the Republic of Armenia…California has expressed strong localized interest in ensuring that Armenian residents obtain relief for claims arising out of or related to the Genocide.” Deirmenjian, 2006 WL 4749756, at *16–17. In response to the defendant’s arguments that Germany has a strong interest in monitoring the activities of its banks, the court agreed but held that “Germany’s interest is outweighed by the interest of the United States and California in ensuring that residents are able to obtain adequate redress for their grievances.” Id. at *16. Lastly, the court held that “in the absence of any similar public sentiment in the European forum under consideration in this case, or a more tangible present-day connection to this subject matter of plaintiffs’ claims, this forum has the stronger public interest in adjudication of plaintiffs’ claims.” Id. at *17. These quotes are important because they demonstrate that perhaps with enough public policy reasons to support the decision in one forum, a foreign country’s interests can be outweighed.

[23] Deutsch v. Turner Corp., 324 F.3d 692, 714 (9th Cir. 2003) (“In the absence of some specific action that constitutes authorization on the part of the federal government, states are prohibited from … modifying the federal government’s resolution of war-related disputes.”).

[24] Const. art. VI, cl. 2.

[25] See generally Crosby v. Nat’l Foreign Trade Council, 530 U.S. 363 (2000).

[26] US Awami League, Inc. v. City of Chicago, 110 F. Supp. 3d 887, 892 (N.D. Ill. 2015) (citing Zschernig v. Miller, 389 U.S. 429, 434–41 (1968)).

[27] Id.

[28] See generally Zschernig v. Miller, 389 U.S. 429 (1968). The Court struck down an Oregon law it deemed to be an “intrusion by the State into the field of foreign affairs” because it required judges to determine the overlap of rights protected by foreign law and Oregon law. The Court distinguished this from an earlier decision of its regarding a California law, reiterating the fact that state laws with only “some incidental or indirect effect in foreign countries” do not intrude on the federal domain. Id. at 432–33.

[29] Movsesian v. Victoria Verischerung A.G., 670 F.3d 1067, 1076 (9th Cir. 2012).

[30] Id.

[31] Id. at 1077. To demonstrate this political turmoil, the Court referred to New York Times and BBC articles that discussed Turkey’s retaliatory response to the French bill that criminalized Armenian Genocide denial, and President Obama’s circumvention of the use of the word so as not to anger Turkey. Id.

[32] Id.; Cassirer v. Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection Found., No. CV 05-3459-GAF (CTX), 2012 WL 12875771, at *17 (C.D. Cal. May 24, 2012), aff’d in part, rev’d in part, 737 F.3d 613 (9th Cir. 2013) (citing Movsesian).

[33] See, e.g., Filartiga v. Pena-Irala, 577 F.Supp. 860, 862 (E.D.N.Y. 1984).

[34] Davoyan v. Republic of Turkey, 116 F. Supp. 3d 1084, 1090–93 (C.D. Cal. 2013).

[35] Id. at 1104.

[36]  28 U.S.C. § 1604 (“Subject to existing international agreements to which the United States is a party at the time of enactment of this Act a foreign state shall be immune from the jurisdiction of the courts of the United States and of the States except as provided in sections 1605 to 1607 of this chapter.”).

[37] 28 U.S.C § 1605 (General exceptions to the jurisdictional immunity of a foreign state).

[38] 28 U.S.C. §1605(a)(3).

[39] Bakalian v. Cent. Bank of Republic of Turkey, 932 F.3d 1229, 1235–36 (9th Cir. 2019).

[40] Id.

[41] Cases in Seventh, Fifth, and Ninth Circuits demonstrated this exception. See, e.g., Abelesz v. Magyar Nemzeti Bank, 692 F.3d 661, 675 (7th Cir. 2012), aff’d sub nom. Fischer v. Magyar Allamvasutak Zrt., 777 F.3d 847 (7th Cir. 2015). Additionally, the 7th circuit observed that all U.S. courts to consider the issue recognize genocide as a violation of customary international law. Id. The Ninth Circuit stated that it is settled that genocide violates international law. See, e.g., Sarei v. Rio Tinto, PLC, F.3d 736, 759 (9th Cir. 2011).

[42] Federal Republic of Germany v. Philipp, 141 S. Ct. 703, 705 (2021).

[43] Id. at 714.

[44] Id. at 705.

[45] 28 U.S.C. § 1350.

[46] 18 U.S.C. § 1091.

[47] Kashef v. BNP Paribas S.A., 925 F.3d 53, 55 (2d Cir. 2019).

[48] Steven R. Weisman, Powell Declares Genocide in Sudan in Bid to Raise Pressure, N.Y. Times (Sept. 9, 2004),

[49] Kashef, 925 F.3d at 61–62.

[50] Siderman de Blake v. Republic of Argentina, 965 F.2d 699, 718 (9th Cir. 1992).

[51] “A jus cogens norm, also known as a peremptory norm of international law, is a norm accepted and recognized by the international community of states as a whole as a norm from which no derogation is permitted and which can be modified only by a subsequent norm of general international law having the same character.” Id. at 61.

[52] Id. at 60.

[53] Kashef v. BNP Paribas S.A., 316 F. Supp. 3d 770, 774 (S.D.N.Y. 2018), vacated and remanded, 925 F.3d 53 (2d Cir. 2019) (quoting O.N.E. Shipping Ltd. v. Flota Mercante Grancolombiana, S.A., 830 F.2d 449, 453 (2d Cir. 1987)).

[54] Kashef, 925 F.3d 53. While the district court was concerned that it would be impermissibly intruding on the foreign affairs powers of the other branches in issuing this decision, the Second Circuit reversed and said that applying the act of state doctrine would actually contradict the legislative and executive branches since they have already made clear that they believe atrocities have been committed in Sudan. See Brief of Members of Congress as Amici Curiae at *1, Kashef, 925 F.3d 53 (No. 18-1304).

[55] 28 U.S.C. § 1605(a)(2).

[56] See, e.g., United States v. Turkiye Halk Bankasi A.S., 16 F.4th 336 (2d Cir. 2021), petition for cert. pending, No. 21-1450 (filed May 17, 2022).

[57] Michael Hernandez, Biden’s 1915 events move to not affect legal status, Anadolu Agency (Apr. 30, 2021),

*       Anoush Baghdassarian is a JD Candidate at Harvard Law School. She has a Master’s in Human Rights Studies from Columbia University, and a Bachelor’s in Psychology and Genocide Studies from Claremont McKenna College. She is Co-founder of the Rerooted Archive, documenting over 200 testimonies from Syrian-Armenian refugees who have fled Syria in the last ten years. She has a career focus on transitional justice and international criminal law and some of her work experiences include interning as an advisor to the Armenian Permanent Mission to the UN, an intern at the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and serving as an upcoming visiting professional at the International Criminal Court.