YEREVAN—Armenia’s Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian said Armenia welcomes Tuesday’s vote by the Greek parliament, passing a law which criminalizes the public denial of the Armenian Genocide and other crimes against humanity.
“With this step, Greece once again proved its commitment to universal values and took an important step towards prevention of genocides and other major crimes against humanity in the future,” Minister Nalbandian said in a statement Wednesday.
Armenia’s National Assembly, meanwhile, passed a motion expressing gratitude to the people of Greece on Wednesday.
Apart from Greece’s ruling government coalition, the bill was supported by the Democratic Left (DIMAR) party and individual members of parliament. The left wing of the opposition voted against or abstained, saying the bill targets narrow party interests. The communist party said the new bill is a way to criminalize labor movements and communism under the guise of fight against racism. Far-right Golden Dawn party voted against the bill claiming it can be used for punishing not only nationalists, but anyone unhappy with the government.
The Greek government said the bill was another step in harmonizing its laws with standards set by the European Union.
The bill stipulates fines from 5,000 to 100,000 euros and imprisonment terms from three months to five years for xenophobia, racism, denial of genocides and other crimes against humanity that are recognized by the Greek parliament and international courts.