PARIS—Documents recently published by Nouvelles d’Armenie magazine reveal a collusion between a member of the French Constitutional Council and a former Turkish foreign minister at the time the highest judicial body in France was discussing the law criminalizing the denial of the Armenian Genocide.
In December of the 2011, both houses of the French parliament approved a measuring, which would criminalize the denial of the Armenian Genocide in France through prison terms and fines. The bill was then referred to the French Constitutional Council, the country’s highest judicial body, which deemed the measure unconstitutional. The criminalization of Genocide denial was supported by then president Nicolas Sarkozy, as well as the current French President Francois Hollande, who at the time was vying for the presidency.
In the most recent issue of Nouvelle d’Armenie an article entitled, “Constitutional Council: The dangerous connections of Hubert Haenel,” reveals email communications between Haenel, a former French Senator and 2010 appointee to the Constitutional Council with a former Turkish foreign minister turned Turkish lobbyist Yasar Yakis, in which the latter expresses his contentment that the Genocide criminalization measure was now on Haenel’s desk, who would be influential to overturn the measure, which was sponsored by French Senator Valerie Boyer.
The exchange between the court member, who is also a member of a pro-Turkish group known as the Bosphorus Institute, and the Turkish official were part of a Yahoo discussion thread.
The first of the exchanges took place on February 1, 2012 when Yakis writes to Haenel: “My dear and great friend, […] I could not help but share my joy with great friends of Turkey. I think this tide has turned and the case is now in your good hands.”
Later that same day, Haenel responds to Yakis: “Like you, I share this relief. We have 30 days to decide, the die has been cast.”
The most egregious email communications took place on February 28, 2012 when Haenel writes to Yakis saying, Haenel wrote Yakis: “The decision of the Constitutional Council will be public today at 5 p.m. You will be satisfied,” to which Yakis reponds: “Since it’s you who are telling me, I don’t think I’ll be disappointed.”
CCAF Demands Haenel’s Resignation
The Coordinating Council of Armenian Organizations in France (CCAF) issued an announcement condemning the exchange and calling for Haenel’s resignation for his own failure to act within the parameters of the French Constitution.
“This correspondence reveals a complicity that borders on collusion between the high-ranking official of the [French] Republic and the representative of a foreign state about the ‘Boyer law,’ legislation passed by the National Assembly and Senate and invalidated by the Constitutional Council,” the CCAF said in its statement.
“The CCAF denounces the pressure being place on a top French Magistrate by the President of the France-Turkey Parliamentary Group in Ankara. The organization is also outraged by the attention that was given him by Mr. Haenel, who in two separate messages on the one hands tries to reassure him about the fate of this law, and also informes him about the Constitutional Council decision prior to its announcement. This goes counter to the provision of confidentiality, discretion and impartiality that is stipulated in Article 3 [of the French judicial law] as approved on Nov. 7, 1958,” explained the CCAF announcement.
The CCAF also called on the authorities of France to open an investigation into the matter and called for Haenel’s resignation from the bench.