France Aims To Criminalise Armenian Genocide Denial


New Europe

Jan 10 2012

French President Nicolas Sarkozy is pushing for a genocide denial law
to be valid in the whole European Union (EU). His efforts come after
the French Parliament passed a law on 22 December 2011 that foresees
legal punishment for the denial of the Armenian genocide.

The draft law was brought to the agenda of the French Senate and was
being debated on 9 January at the Presidency Council of the Senate.

The bill will be discussed at the French Senate on 23 January, yet
the date is still to be affirmed on 17 January.

The EU Joint Framework Decision was approved on 19 April 2007 under
the German EU Presidency. It intends to fight racism, xenophobia and
genocide. As reported by the Hurriyet newspaper, Sarkozy also signed a
decision that might also affect Turkey’s EU accession process. Thus,
this decision taken in France does not only concern the country but
might become valid for all 26 EU member states, due to the Framework
Decision. This entitles the courts of the EU states to decide whether
the act of genocide happened or not. Should the courts approve
the provision, anybody who denies the genocide can be sentenced to
imprisonment of up to three years.

French bureaucrats and diplomats in Brussels took efforts at the EU
Commission and the EU Council that the Framework Decision should also
cover the denial of the Armenian Genocide once the draft bill will
have been approved by the French Senate.

The Framework Decision also stipulates regulations that include the
state’s struggle against racism and the punishment of the denial of
the holocaust.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed his dissent, even
from 22 December, when France passed the law saying: “It was genocide
what the French did in Algeria. If Sarkozy does not know that, he
should go and ask his father Pal Sarkozy about it”. However, Algerian
President Ahmet Uyahya responded to this: “The Turks brought the French
to Algeria for three days. Don’t take advantage of our bloodshed.”

In the wake of France’s debate, that the President of the FAAE
Ashot Grigoryan and Slovakian Minister of Justice Stefan Harabin
held a meeting to discuss the issue of the genocide. Harabin said
this: “As I have already announced, in the last year of my term as
minister of justice, the National Council of Slovakia (NC) was able
to establish the law on those denying the Armenian Genocide…This
law went into legal force on September 1, 2009.” He continued:
“This means that Slovakia is the first EU country that passed a
law on Armenian Genocide denial, and Slovakia is the second country
in Europe that passed the above mentioned law after Switzerland. I
am very surprised to see how Turkey is causing unprecedented uproar
regarding the law discussed by the French Senate after not being able
to do anything about the laws passed by Switzerland and Slovakia.”

These are the countries which have recognised the Armenian genocide:

Uruguay (1965), Greek Cypriot Administration (1982), Argentina (1993),
Russia (1995), Canada (1996), Greece (1996), Lebanon (1997), Belgium
(1998), France(2001), Sweden (2000), Italy (2000), Switzerland
(2003), Slovakia (2004), the Netherlands (2004), Poland (2005),
Germany (2005), Venezuela (2005), Litvanya (2005), Chile (2007).

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