YEREVAN (Armenpress)—As a supporter of the criminalization of the denial of the Armenian Genocide, the French government will support Switzerland in its appeal of the verdict over the case of Turkish nationalist Doğu Perinçek at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). French Ambassador to Armenia Henri Reynaud said on Friday that in supporting Switzerland, he hopes that a positive decision by the ECHR will be a crucial step towards France’s adoption of a law that criminalizes the denial of the Genocide. Reynaud was speaking at a press conference held at the French Embassy in Yerevan.
As Armenpress reported, referring to the approach of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, the French Ambassador expressed hope that the anniversary will contribute to a broad discussion of Genocide recognition.
“Remaining faithful to this disposition, Francois Hollande announced that next year he personally will be present at the hundredth anniversary of the Armenian Genocide in Armenia,” Reynaud announced.
“In this context, France cannot help expressing satisfaction that Armenia’s President has called on his counterpart in the neighboring country, the President of Turkey, inviting him to Armenia on April 24, 2015. France is deeply eager that during that anniversary progress is recorded in the normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations,” said Reynaud, adding that Armenia’s efforts at normalizing Armenian-Turkish relations will receive assistance from France.
Under the provisions of the Swiss law, in 2007, Turkish citizen Perinçek was convicted for denying the Armenian Genocide. Failing to win two appeals against the judgment, Perincek appealed the ECHR, which on Dec. 17 ruled that the Swiss courts’ rulings violated the appellant’s right to freedom of expression.
The ECHR ruling in December stated that “the free exercise of the right to openly discuss questions of a sensitive and controversial nature is one of the fundamental aspects of freedom of expression and distinguishes a tolerant and pluralistic democratic society from a totalitarian or dictatorial regime.”
The original case emerged from Perincek’s participation in a number of conferences in Switzerland in 2005, during which he publicly denied that the Ottoman Empire had perpetrated the crime of genocide against the Armenian people in 1915.