Groups Ask Belgian Senate to Adopt Strong Language on Genocide Denial

BRUSSELS–Reminding legislators that "genocide denial is not the expression of an opinion but the continuation of the crime of genocide," several groups–including the European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy (EAFJD)–have asked the Belgian Senate to adopt concise language that clearly criminalizes denial of the Armenian genocide.

In the next few days–the Belgium Senate will examine a draft law that would expand the offense for genocide denial. The draft law approved earlier by the House of Representative is based on a judicial definition of the crime of genocide–and does not specifically penalize the denial of the Armenian genocide.

The House version was enacted prior to the establishment of the relevant international jurisdiction. But the issue has come to prominence recently due to numerous instances of Armenian genocide denial in Belgium.

As a result–nearly half of the members of the Senate are seeking to consider this law and examine amendmen’s to extend penalties for the denial of those genocides recognized by Belgian federal legislative bodies and by European legislative institutions.

"We object to all forms of grading of genocides and therefore to all competition between victims–and we reaffirm that the denial of the Armenian genocide–like the denial of other genocides–repulses in equal measure all groups of victims as well as supporters of human’sm," write the groups.

They also point to the scholarly works that support beyond all reasonable doubt–the political and concerted nature of the Armenian genocide.

Signatories include the Association of Armenian Democrats in Belgium (AADB)–The Kurdish Institute of Brussels–The Info-Turk Foundation–The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)–The LDH Human Rights Organisation (LDH – Belgium)–The Movement against Racism–Anti-Semitism and Xenophobia (MRAX).

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