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Armenian leaders praise state bill extending lawsuit timeframe for genocide descendents

Local Armenian-Americans last week hailed a state bill extending the deadline for victims of the Armenian Genocide and their descendants to file lawsuits in California courts for unpaid insurance policies.

“Hopefully, some of the victims’ families will be relieved,” said Armond Aghakhanian, political chairman of the Burbank chapter of the Armenian National Committee. “I think it’s justice and I think it’s our system working at its best.”

Father Vazken Atmajian, senior pastor at St. Mary’s Armenian Apostolic Church in Glendale, was also pleased with the legislation.

“This will give them more time so they can bring out the truth and get justice from Turkey,” he said.

The legislation, introduced by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake), extends the deadline through 2016. The extension was needed because victims and their heirs have been able to file lawsuits in California now for only 10 years. Some of those were challenged in federal court, keeping new suits from progressing.