Main Page       Contact  

Daily Bulletin Subscription

To receive our Daily Bulletin please fill out the form below.



Ömer Engin LÜTEM, Retired Ambassador
16 October 2006 - IKSAREN
Other Articles

!á½p="justify">On October the 12th a bill foreseeing the fining and jailing of individuals who publicly deny Armenian genocide allegations has been adopted by the French Parliament.

However the bill has not yet become law. For this to occur the French Senate must also approve the bill. Whether or not the bill takes its place on the Senate’s agenda is left largely to the whim of the French Government. The government announced that they do not take responsibility for the draft law put forth by the Socialists and if they stick to this line of thought it could mean the bill might not reach the Senate floor. However it is also possible that the impending general election could keep the government from locking horns with the Socialists. Another possibility is that the Senate could ratify the bill after a few amendments. It is expected that the bill be revised due to the fact that it is an infringement of the right of freedom of expression. When this occurs the bill must then be revaluated in the Parliament. Until consensus has been reached the bill will shuttle back and forth between the two houses. This scenario had been played out in the same way during the lead up to the 2001 bill acknowledging Armenian genocide allegations. It should be highly expected that this is to take place in the same way concerning the new bill.

When the houses are through dealing with the draft law it must then be ratified by the President, in the instance that it is not ratified a long legal process leading to the Constitutional Court will be inevitable. Although Jacques Chirac had proclaimed his neutrality on the matter he had nonetheless, disregarding criticisms, ratified the 2001 bill. When the draft finally reaches the office of the president after running the course of all the steps mentioned above it is likely that Jacques Chirac will not be in office. The strongest contenders at present are Miss Royal on the Socialist wing and Minister of the Interior Sarkozy, and there is no doubt that both of them will happily sign the bill when and if they reach presidential office.

However, even with the Presidential seal, the bill could still be taken to the Constitutional Court by way of the consensus of 60 parliamentarians and/or Senators. That this number of parliamentarians would support Turkey’s interests is a highly unlikely scenario considering the current state of events in France.

In short this isn’t the endgame, but it would not be in place to rejoice over this. As witnessed during the 2001 draft process, it should be expected that in the future a period of unprecedented requests aimed at Turkey will begin; such as asking for borders to be opened between Turkey and Armenia in order to stop the bill from becoming law.

Actually the swift ratification of the bill is in the best interest of Turkey. If this is to transpire then the opportunity to revoke this bill and object to Armenian genocide allegations in the legal sphere will arise. Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights (the Convention) pertaining to the freedom of speech, encompasses the “freedom to hold opinions”, together with the right “to receive and impart information and ideas”. The bill ratified by the French Parliament is clearly in breech of the principle of the right to hold personal opinions. In accordance with Article 33 regarding inter-state cases, Turkey has the right file a case against France at the European Court of Human Rights on the grounds that this bill breaches a provision of the Convention. Also, as stipulated in article 34 of the Convention, individuals who have suffered detriment by way of being fined and imprisoned because they stated that the Armenian genocide does not exist would be eligible to hold the French State legally accountable. On this point and in the final count it must be noted that if well prepared, the chances of winning such cases are high.

    Comment on this article    Print    Recommend

«  Back

At present, there are no accessible commentaries.

« Other Articles »

ERAREN - Institute for Armenian Research

This site is best viewed at 1024 x 768 pixel resolution.