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 Wednesday, March 23 2016

Marianna Mkrtchyan

New bill criminalizing Armenian Genocide denial to be introduced in France this April

 New bill criminalizing Armenian Genocide denial to be introduced in France this April

A new bill criminalizing the Armenian Genocide denial will be introduced in France this April, Murad Papazyan, Co-Chair of the Coordination Council of Armenian Organizations in France, told a news conference in Yerevan on March 23.

He recalled that during the annual dinner at the Coordination Council, President of France Francois Hollande charged Jean-Paul COSTA, President of the European Court of Human Rights, to participate in the discussions on drafting a new bill criminalizing the Armenian Genocide denial in line with the French laws and introduce the bill within two months. 

"We have a serious work to do not to let the bill being killed again. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure a comprehensive analysis of the new document before it reaches the French Senate," he said.  Papazyan said that Turkey's role has increased in Europe with the refugee crisis. He says that during talks with France Ankara uses the refugee problem to push its interests. "We will have to exert maximum efforts not to let Turkey impede the process of the bill's discussion and approval," he said.

To recall, bill initiated by French MP Valerie Boyer criminalizing denial of crimes against humanity in 20th century was sent to the special commission of the French Parliament for further discussions.  During the discussions held on December 3, 2015 in the French Parliament a decision was made to send the bill to the special commission. 26 from 39 MPs voted for this decision, 12 MPs voted against, and one MP abstained from voting, 

During the discussions initiator of the bill Valerie Boyer, a deputy from Union for the Popular Movement (UMP), the main opposition party, emphasized that this document relates to all the genocides of the 20th century. At the same time she expressed assurance that those who are now killing Christians in Syria and Iraq are not afraid as their actions will not have consequences and this is why the bill must be adopted.  To recall, on February 29, 2012 France's Constitutional Council overturned the bill adopted earlier by the Senate, stating any denial of the Armenian Genocide punishable crime. The Council said the law was contradictory to the principles of freedom of expression written into France's founding documents. 

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