Wednesday, 3 December 2008

French government opposed to the penalization of the Armenian genocide's negation

Jean Eckian reports from Paris

Tuesday December 2, Mr. Rene Rouquet, Deputy-Mayor of Alfortville town (area of Paris), with a strong concentration of citizens of Armenian origin, challenged the French government so that the Senate achieves a legislative evolution, in order to punish the negationnists of the Armenian genocide of 1915.

« This concern is not only that of Armenian diaspora of France : it is that of all those which are attached to justice and the right, for which France, fatherland of the Rights of Man and cradle of the lights, would be honoured to adapt its legislation to condemn, penally, the negation or the dispute of this genocide. », he said.

In his answer to the deputy, Mr. Alain Marleix, Secretary of State for interior and to the territorial collectivities, said: «concerning the bill of which you speak, the position of the Government is clear and known: it is not favorable to its inscription with day order of the Senate. As I have just evoked it, the legislative device already exists. Moreover, the Government considers that it does not belong to the Parliament to legislate on history and that it is to the historians for whom it returns to write and to interpret this one". Secretary of State justified the current location of the French government by the evolution of the Turkish Armenian dialogue that " we must encourage », he said.

On this question, the French government is in total contradiction with position of President Sarkozy, favorable to the penalization of the negation of Armenian Genocide.

In reaction to the decision of the French government, Council of Coordination of the Armenian Organizations of France, Calls to demonstrate on December 10 in front of the Senate.


nazarian said...

I am opposed of criminalization of speech. As an American I have a hard time understanding why and how can anyone support curbing of free speech. I may not like what some people or groups say but I understand that it's their right to do so. To me, freedom of speech, thought, religion or political preference are natural rights.

Even as an Armenian and a descendant of genocide survivors I am against punishing people who deny the Metz Yeghern for the same reasons mentioned above. Banning speech is a double edged sword.

Do you like that in Turkey they have a ban on whatever the government says 'insults Turkishness'? Obviously no.

artmika said...

I agree with you. I think recognising Armenian Genocide by France was important but pushing for criminalisation of denial of the Genocide is wrong. Genocides should be recognised and those responsible accounted for. However, criminilisation of denial should be abolished for all Genocides, including Jewish Holocaust.

R said...

The French opened the door to all this by adopting a law known as the "Loi Gayssot" which makes it an offence to deny the Holocaust.

Other European countries have followed suit.