LOS ANGELES–The picturesque Pacific Coast will be the venue for the Armenian Bar Association’s 18th Annual National meeting in Santa Monica, California the weekend of April 20-22. The meeting will be held at the Le Merigot Hotel, near the Santa Monica pier and the event is expected to draw numerous legal scholars, historians, judges, lawyers, law students and politicians from throughout the United States, Canada, France and Armenia. California Supreme Court Associate Justice Carlos Moreno will be the keynote luncheon speaker, and will be introduced by fellow Associate California Supreme Court Justice Marvin Baxter, a founder and Honorary member of the Armenian Bar. In addition, the group has established, and will award its first "Hrant Dink Freedom Award," to honor the recently slain Armenian journalist from Istanbul. Dink was the guest of honor at the Armenian Bar’s Midyear Meeting in Philadelphia in October 2006; he was gunned down by a Turkish assassin on January 19, 2007. The recipient of the award will be announced at the meeting. Genocide scholars Vahakn Dadrian and Taner Akcam will lecture on the crime of Genocide and the international political implications of Dink’s murder. The conference will be combined with legal seminars, a tour of the world renowned Getty Museum, a golf tournament, receptions, a Saturday evening gala banquet, featuring the John Bilezikjian Band and a meeting of the Board of Governors at the Le Merigot. The hotel is a stone’s through away from such legendary Southern California attractions as Malibu, Venice Beach, Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, Universal Studios, Disneyland and the Hollywood "Walk of Stars." Attorneys attending the meeting will receive five MCLE credits for what promises to be an interesting and informative series of lectures. The topics will include "High Profile Criminal Cases,"The Court System and the Media,"Political Implications of the Assassination of Armenian Journalist Hrant Dink," and "The Origin and Evolution of the Concept of Crimes Against Humanity as an Integral Part of International Criminal Law." Dickran Tevrizian and Larry A. Burns, two of only three Federal US District Court Judges of Armenian descent in the United States, and Honorary Members of the Armenian Bar will serve as Co-Master of Ceremonies at the Saturday evening banquet. Tevrizian is a decorated Federal bench officer who transferred to senior status in 2005. He was the youngest judge ever appointed to the Los Angeles Municipal court, has been named "Judge of the Year" on more than one occasion, has been awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, and has over 30 years of experience as a jurist. Burns presided over the Randall "Duke" Cunningham political corruption case in California last year, which drew national attention. In that case, Burns handed down the toughest sentence ever given to a member of Congress. US District Court Judge David O. Carter, who has handled many high profile cases, including a part of the Ann Nicole Smith case and the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang death penalty trials, will be one of the featured speakers on the criminal law panel. John Hueston, the lead prosecutor of Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling in the Enron case, will also be a guest speaker on that panel Decorated criminal defense attorneys Mark Geragos and Harland Braun will also be featured on the panel. Geragos is perhaps the best known attorney in the country, and has been a regular commentator on nationally televised programs such as Larry King Live CNN’s Burden of Proof and Dateline NBC. He has been lead counsel in several high profile cases including Susan McDougal, Scott Peterson and Winona Rider. He is also one of the lead attorneys in the three historic Genocide reparation claims against New York Life Insurance Company, AXA Insurance and Deutche Bank. Braun is also a nationally recognized attorney and was one of the defense attorneys in the Rodney King case. Loyola University law professor Laurie Levenson, who has regularly appeared on network television to offer legal commentary on high profile cases, including the OJ Simpson and Michael Jackson cases will also be a guest speaker. Federal Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Chooljian will moderate the panel. The media panel will include former Los Angeles District Attorney Robert Philibosian, who has appeared on national television discussing legal cases, including the trial of OJ Simpson. Joining him will be David Kohler, former General Counsel of CNN, Linda Deutsch, a nationally recognized Associated Press correspondent and 40 year veteran who covered the Charles Manson trial, Greg Krikorian, an award winning journalist from the Los Angeles Times, in addition to Karlene Goller, Vice-President and Deputy General Counsel for the Los Angeles Times. Renowned Genocide scholar Vahakn Dadrian, the current director of Genocide research at the Zoryan Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, will join Taner Akcam to discuss the international legal aspects of the Armenian Genocide, the evolution of the laws defining the term and the political implications of the assassination of Hrant Dink. Akcam, a visiting professor of history at the University of Minnesota, is one of first historians of Turkish ancestry to acknowledge the truth of the Genocide, and has lectured and published extensively on the subject. His latest text, entitled "A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility" was published in May, 2006. Akcam was a correspondent and writer for Agos newspaper in Istanbul, a periodical published by the heroic Dink. His lecture about the political implications of the murder will be quite poignant given its proximity to Dink’s assassination and his close ties to the slain journalist. In 1999, Akcam was featured in a documentary film entitled "A Wall of Silence," which dealt with his relationship with Dadrian and Akcam’s efforts to emulate Dadrian’s studies and teachings on the subject of the Genocide, despite threats from the Turkish government. Dadrian has received many honors during his career, including the "Lifetime Achievement Award" in 2005 from the International Association of Genocide Scholars. He has published extensively on the subject of Genocide, and two of his most recent texts include "Warrant for Genocide: The Key Elemen’s of the Turko-Armenian Conflict" and "Key Elemen’s of the Turkish Denial of the Armenian Genocide."We are very excited to have such a distinguished group of judges, scholars and guests for our historic 18th Annual meeting, and invite our members and the community to join us in Santa Monica," said Betty Jamgotchian, Executive Director of Armenbar. Presiding over the meeting will be Armenbar Chairman Frank Zerunyan, a City Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem of the City of Rolling Hills Estate. "We are proud of our organization, excited about the convention, and believe it will be an enriching experience for all who attend," said Zerunyan.