The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in California has taken a controversial stance on the matter of the Armenian genocide in Turkey which may conflict with U.S. foreign policy. The issue concerns a state law which declares that heirs of those killed by the Turkish Ottoman Empire are due life insurance payments from three of Germany’s largest insurance organizations. The court first levied a tentative ruling on the matter in 2009, where judges ruled in favor of the German insurers. Now, however, the judges have ruled to rehear the case.
Munich Re, one of the insurers involved in the matter, argues that the California law should be overturned due to its conflict with official U.S. foreign policy. The lawyers representing the heirs of the Armenian genocide argue that the foreign policy is based on the opinions of the previous two presidential administrations and is not actually official in any regard. Congress has, in the past, attempted to recognize the Armenian genocide, but legislation was derailed by previous administrations.
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New York Life Insurance and AXA Insurance are also involved in the matter. Both insurers have already paid more than $37 million in claims to Armenian genocide heirs. German insurers are likely to pay more, but a final amount has not yet been determined. The appeals court will likely make a ruling on the issue next year.