ANKARA: Belgium Punishes Armenian “Genocide Deniers”

Zaman, Turkey
April 23 2005

Belgium Punishes Armenian “Genocide Deniers”
By Selcuk Gultasli

Belgium prepares to give imprisonment and fines to those who deny the
Armenian Genocide. The extended present Jewish Genocide bill was
accepted in the Belgian parliament on Thursday, April 21.

There were 108 “Yes” votes but no “No” votes against the new law and
there were also 21 abstainers in the election. Thus, Belgium will be
the first country where those who deny the Armenian Genocide are
sentenced to prison and fined. If the bill is put into practice, the
Turkish politicians in this country will have difficulties voicing
their ideas.

The law draft passed from the Justice Commission on April 15 and was
approved on April 21 then sent to the Senate. If it is accepted by
the Senate it will be sent to the King. Observes noted that it is bad
news that the draft passed from the parliament because most of the
drafts that were accepted by the parliament are accepted by the

The draft, which was accepted on April 21 and extends the present
Jewish Genocide Law envisages imprisonment from eight days to one
year and a fine from 26 euros to 5,000 euros to the “deniers.” These
punishments will be given to those who underestimate the genocide,
who defend it and who support the genocide or crimes against
humanity. These crimes have to be described by the International Law.
Denying Genocide in the international courts which are recognized by
Belgium, United Nations (UN) General Assembly or the Security
Council, Belgium Justice or any other EU member country will be
sufficient to lead Belgium justice mechanism to work. Therefore, the
justice mechanism will allow Belgium to bring criminal charges
against the “deniers” if this action is counted as a crime in any EU

If the bill becomes law, politicians of Turkish origin in Belgium
will have great difficulty voicing their ideas. Liberal Party member
of Turkish decent Sevket Temiz who said recently on a radio broadcast
that there is not strong evidence that an Armenian Genocide took
place in 1915 is having great difficulty these days. Temiz’s being
sent to the party’s disciplinary organ is on the agenda now. Temiz
had suggested in his speech that an independent and common History
Commission should investigate the issue. It is estimated that 150,000
Turks live in Belgium but there are only 6-7,000 Armenians living