France Plans New Law Against Armenian Genocide Denial


imgresYEREVAN (RFE/RL) — France plans to enact a new law that will make it a crime to publicly deny the 1915 Armenian genocide in Ottoman Turkey, the French ambassador to Armenia, Jean-Francois Charpentier, said on Tuesday, June 21.

“The text is practically ready,” Charpentier said at a news conference in Yerevan. “So I think that we will hear about it soon.”

Charpentier said that President Francois Hollande is behind the bill drafted by French government officials and legal experts. He stressed that the bill would criminalize the denial of not only the Armenian genocide but also other genocides officially recognized by France.

The two houses of France’s parliament already passed a law against Armenian genocide denial in December 2011 and January 2012. The move, hailed by Armenia but condemned by Turkey, was orchestrated by Hollande’s predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy.

France’s constitutional court subsequently struck down the law, however, saying that it runs counter to freedom of speech.

Hollande pledged to ban genocide denial when he ran for president in 2012. He told leaders of France’s influential Armenian community at the time that a new corresponding bill should be drafted with “utmost legal security” so that it satisfies the French Constitutional Council.

Hollande, 61, is expected to run for a second term in presidential elections slated for April-May 2017.