AXA S.A. has agreed to pay $17 million to resolve class-action litigation brought by the descendants of some of the 1.5 million Armenian men and women who died in the Ottoman Empire in 1915 and 1916.[@@]

AXA, Paris, will donate at least $3 million to Armenian charitable groups based in France and $11 million to a fund for heirs of policyholders and beneficiaries of policies issued by AXA subsidiaries that did business in the Turkish Ottoman Empire before 1915, according to the lawyers who are representing the plaintiffs.

The settlement agreement is subject to approval by the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, where lawyers for the plaintiffs filed their suits.

The class includes Armenians living in the United States and in other countries, the lawyers say.

The plaintiffs’ lawyers are praising AXA’s efforts to address the suits.

Brian Kabateck, one of the lawyers representing the plaintiffs, notes in a statement that his own grandparents lost their entire families in the 1915 genocide.

“Our continued legal efforts to bring attention to the terrible events of 90 years ago honor their memories,” Kabateck says in the statement. “Today, AXA made the right decision by agreeing to establish a claims fund for the heirs of those killed in the Armenian genocide.”

The current government of Turkey says no genocide took place, and Turkey’s allies treat the subject gingerly. But most mainstream historians outside Turkey say a racist “Young Turk” government spearheaded a systematic genocidal campaign and killed Turks who attempted to protect Armenians.