French Supreme Court Overturns Genocide Bill

Discussion in 'Europe and Russia' started by Armand2REP, Feb 28, 2012.

  1. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

    Dec 17, 2009
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    French genocide law 'unconstitutional', rules top court

    A top French judicial body has ruled a law backed by President Nicolas Sarkozy making it illegal to deny the Armenian genocide as unconstitutional as it infringes on freedom of expression.

    The bill, which covers the mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks during World War I, was passed by both houses of the French parliament.

    Turkey has welcomed the ruling by the Constitutional Council.

    The legislation had strained relations between the two countries.

    Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the cabinet would meet to consider whether to restart economic, political and military contacts with France which were frozen after the French parliament passed the law on 23 January, Reuters reports.

    France's Constitutional Council said in its ruling that "by punishing anyone contesting the existence of... crimes that MPs themselves recognised or qualified as such, MPs committed an unconstitutional attack on freedom of expression", it said.

    France already recognises the killings as an act of genocide, but the new bill would have meant that anyone denying it faced a year in jail and a fine of 45,000 euros ($57,000).

    Armenia says up to 1.5 million people died in 1915-16 as the Ottoman empire split. Turkey, which rejects the term "genocide", has said the number of deaths was much smaller.

    Defenders of the bill argued it covered all acts of genocide.

    BBC News - French genocide law: President Sarkozy orders new draft

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