France’s National Assembly Unanimously Passes Bill Criminalizing Armenian Genocide Denial

PARIS, France (A.W.)—The lower house of the French parliament unanimously passed a bill on July 1, criminalizing the denial of the Armenian Genocide. The new bill sets out penalties of up to a year in prison and a 45,000 Euro ($50,000 USD) fine for those who publicly deny the genocide, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).

The National Assembly of France (Photo: Richard Ying and Tangui Morlier)
The National Assembly of France (Photo: Richard Ying and Tangui Morlier)

The two houses of the French parliament passed a law criminalizing the denial of the genocide in December 2011 and January 2012, though the country’s constitutional court later struck down that law, claiming that it is an infringement on freedom of speech. In July 2012, French President Francois Hollande confirmed plans for a new law criminalizing denial of the Armenian Genocide with representatives of the Armenian community.

“This text will punish the challenge or the trivialization of all crimes against humanity and war crimes,” Ericka Bareigts, the junior minister in charge of equality told AFP. The amendment must now go to the upper house Senate for approval.

The French National Assembly first recognized the Armenian Genocide in 2001. The first step towards recognition occurred in 1998. A private bill, inspired by the election pledge of Lionel Jospin, who was running for president in 1995, was put on the agenda of the National Assembly in 1997 by politicians Jean-Paul Bret, the president of the France-Armenia group, Didier Migaud, René Rouquet, and all members of the Socialist Party. The parliamentary majority was in favor of the law and the first debate took place on May 29, 1998, in front of the Foreign Affairs Committee.

After years of debate, the law passed on Jan. 18, 2001. The bill contained one article: “France publicly recognizes the 1915 Genocide of the Armenians.”


    And, too to the other Countries, who acknowledge this murderous Fact.
    Turkey cannot be trusted at all in any way.

  2. I am glad that France is taking these extreme measures to promote recognition of the Armenian Genocide, something long overdue. The only thing that worries me is this being deemed unconstitutional. While free speech is an inviolable right, but in this case, historical facts are intentionally being veiled up just so they can “preserve Turkish-ness”. The upper House Senate that will approve this bill must understand that Turkish denial is the biggest obstacle to Armenian Genocide recognition and it is continually to haunt the descendants of the victims of the Armenian Genocide today. As Pope Francis put it in his historical recognition of the Armenian Genocide, “denying an evil is like leaving a wound open allowing it bleed”. Because a lot of countries in the world are not willing to formally recognize the reality of the Armenian Genocide out of fear for angering Turkey, illegalizing Armenian Genocide denial would propel recognition of the Armenian Genocide from all over the world. Like this, Turkey would be further isolated in this issue and will have no other choice but to recognize it.

  3. What is the exact wording of the “new” law? Can the upper court knock it down again if challenged?

  4. I hate to keep repeating my self, time after time, year after year, but I STILL can’t believe some of these European states can pass these types of resolutions with these all-encompassing languages with a straight face:

    “This text will punish the challenge or the trivialization of all crimes against humanity and war crimes”

    Really, will it? ALL CRIMES? Does this mean France will punish itself over the mockery of the Parliamentary Commission on Rwanda, where the red-handed, guilty French government, in a commission they set up, inside France, found that they were in no way responsible for anything that happened in Rwanda? This, despite clear evidence of France’s support of the Hutu government, training Hutu militias, enabling genocidal Hutus from passing into the DRC to pursue RPF soldiers, and enabling Hutu genocidaires to escape into the DRC and evade justice?

    Oh, of course it’s not true. This is what made Germany’s recognition of the Armenian genocide so valuable to me. Germany has completely changed itself since WWII, they accept their actions and have shown true remorse for them. When Germany says “never again,” I believe them. Further, Germany also accepted their own complicity in the Armenian genocide. They faced the truth of the issue head on and admitted their guilt. The world could learn much from Germany in this regard, and I wish I was lucky enough to say my country had the same amount of courage. But I can’t, and I doubt I ever will be able to say it.

    France’s recognition and criminalization of the Armenian genocide still has it’s value of course. But the French government are nothing more than shameless hypocrites — BUT, being a hypocrite and being correct in a particular instance are not mutually exclusive, and France is absolutely right in its stance on the Armenian genocide.

    Why France’s own genocide-enabling/complicit history matters: It allows Turkey to make some undeniably valid points. If the Turkish government released a statement roughly stating that the French were a bunch of hypocrites too cowardly to admit their own sins so they call others out on theirs to make themselves have a false sense of moral superiority — how wrong would they really be? It would of course be incredibly hypocritical for the Turkish government to accuse someone else of not owning up to their history — but as I just said, being hypocritical and being right in a particular instance are not mutually exclusive.

    Although any move to further heap pressure on the Turkish government’s denial of the Armenian genocide should be applauded and appreciated, not all recognition is equal, and France is no Germany.

  5. I wish my mom and dad would be alive and see this days . I am sure they will be thankful to all the countries who’s
    Are recognized the Armenian Genoside.and I wish the other countries also recognize like Germany. Thanks again to all of you .And God Bless you.

  6. To simplify the matter, the bill should target officials making denials, as private free speech has nothing to do with government speakers in office.

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