French Senate Approves Bill Criminalizing Armenian Genocide Denial

PARIS, France (A.W.)—The French Senate—the upper house of the Parliament of France—approved a draft law criminalizing the denial of the Armenian Genocide on Oct. 14. The law was approved by a vote of 156 for and 146 against.

Luxembourg Palace, the seat of the French Senate (Photo: Jackintosh)
Luxembourg Palace, the seat of the French Senate (Photo: Jackintosh)

Armenian Foreign Affairs Minister Edward Nalbandian hailed the decision in a press statement following the vote. “We welcome the Senate’s move to approve the draft law adopted by the National Assembly in the summer,” a read a part of the press statement.

Earlier this year, the lower house of the French parliament unanimously passed a bill criminalizing the denial of the Armenian Genocide. The bill, which was passed on July 1, set 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.

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.

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.”

9 Comments

  1. Finally a great success.Armenians will never forget the killings of innocent Armenians during the Ottoman Empire. Turkey must pay for it’s criminal deeds.

  2. VIVE LA FRANCE, one of the most humanitarIAN countries in the world. as a french, armenian, I knew the bill would pass. my father would tell us how his parents were butchered by these scum bag turks in front of him, he was only ten years old. he never forgot what he saw, but believe it or not he never had any animocities towards this backwards country, he kept his feelings to himself until he passed away, but we could tell at times that the past weighed heavy on him. france was the only country that gave him a home and taught him a trade, he became an ‘artisan’ tailor, served in the french army in the 2nd. world war and was proud to be a french citizen. may you rest in peace, my dear father.
    get ready turks, your day of reckoning is just around the corner, but we will remember you during thanksgiving dinner, we will not use a sabre to carve you up.

  3. The way I interpret this law is: When a Turk denies the genocide, you attack the Turk into a fight which can be considered threat to public order. Is this what the French law is proposing?

  4. 146 against seemed shocking to me, until I thought about how such a law would (and has) gone over in the USA. France as a country, however, has stated publicly that the Genocide was real. To retract such a law after so much debate to pass it, seems quite unrealistic to me. I’m not so sure about the curtailment of free speech being a great idea. We do often have to put up with language that makes my blood boil. Just look at Candidate Trump! When the time comes to prosecute the offenders of this new law, I would anticipate all sorts of negative fallout not necessary to the ongoing debate. In the US, it would provoke SO many court cases.

    • Barbara keep in your mind free speech and Armenian Genocide are two different subjects. Free speech means talk about the truth. Unfortunately in our corrupted political world, free speech can be manipulated by denyalist forces, where AG can easily fit, for their immediate political needs!

  5. For those confused about this law and its apparent “violation of freedom of speech”, try to understand it from a macro perspective, not your very own “freedom”.

    In fact, in principle, I am against such laws as well, for Americans such laws do not make sense. But this is not about that and this is taking place in Europe not the USA. Thus, we must welcome this law because it was extremely necessary – not to “take away freedoms” – but for the sake of ‘consistency’ in the law, in this case French law. And what is that law? Simply that you have your ‘freedom of speech’ so long as you don’t turn it into ‘freedom to hate through speech’. From this perspective genocide denial is categorized under hate laws, which is why denial of the Holocaust has already been illegal. If it is illegal to deny the WWII Holocaust, then that should especially be true and doubly so of the WWI Holocaust.

    A word about Armenian Genocide Denial. I do not particularly care that Turks engage in Genocide Denial, for me this is not a problem. The real problem is, those non-Turks who aid, coach, fund, coddle and otherwise give such Turks air-time for their crude and primitive campaign for denial, knowing very well that it is all based on ridiculous lies which only a half-wit would believe. But at the moment, we Armenians are powerless against these backstabbing, behind-the-curtains anti-Armenian bigots.

    And a word about France, the so-called “friend” of Armenia. France single-handedly destroyed our chance to build our Cilicia directly after WWI by aiding and abetting the Turks into overrunning what Armenians were left in southeast Asia Minor after the bulk of the Genocide had been committed. Instead of protecting the Cilician Armenians and letting them build their nation they withdrew knowing very well the Turks were going to continue the Genocide. And this was all a result of THEIR WAR. In the process (together with its brother in arms the UK) they created an array of never-before-heard-of nations for the Arabs. But a little plot of land for the devastated Armenians? Who cares! Yes, “thank you France” and “Vive la France”.

  6. It’s gratifying to me that the law passed. I’m a child of Armenian genocide victims and survivors. My family lived through Hell. And some were murdered.

    Merci, France !

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