France may enact a law criminalizing the Armenian Genocide denial

Co-ordination Council of Armenian Organizations of France (CCAF) Co-chairman Mourad Papazyan has said France may enact a law making denial of the Armenian genocide a crime if the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) finds in favor of Switzerland in the appeal of the case of Doğu Perinçek v. Switzerland.

The issue in the case was if calling the declaration of the mass killings of Armenians during Ottoman rule in 1915 a genocide “an international lie,” as Perinçek did, can constitute a criminal offense in Switzerland.

Speaking to Today’s Zaman, Papazyan also said the European court’s expected decision in favor of Switzerland will pave the way toward punishing the denial of the 1915 events being genocide, as it is characterized by Armenians around the world.

“We will first wait for the decision of the ECtHR. If the court’s decision is positive, a law will be enacted in France prohibiting the denial of the Armenian genocide,” Papazyan said, adding that he believes the ECtHR will decide in favor of Switzerland, which is of the same view as Armenia regarding the proceedings.

Recalling French President François Hollande’s statement saying a year ago in the Armenian capital of Yerevan that he will push for a new law that will make it a crime to deny the 1915 killings of Armenians was genocide, Papazyan said the Armenian community trusts the promise of the French president, as Hollande is quite sensitive about both Armenians and the Turkish-Armenian issue.

Despite the strong opposition of Turkey to recognition of the 1915 killings as genocide last year in Yerevan, Hollande called on the country to recognize the “Armenian genocide” and said the “recognition of genocide will unite, not divide.”

Hollande said he would bring the “genocide denial” bill to the national agenda, claiming that the denial is not an action, but an insult against “victims and reality.” He said there are efforts around the world to recognize the mass killings as genocide and they cannot allow denial.

President Hollande is scheduled to pay a visit to Yerevan on April 24 to honor the Armenian victims of the 1915 killings.

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