Paris (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The French Constitutional Council has declared the law passed by both Houses of Parliament, which punishes the denial of the Armenian genocide unconstitutional. The bill had already been signed by the President of the Republic, Nicolas Sarkozy. Sarkozy's office immediately issued a statement calling for a new version of the law "taking into account the decision of the Constitutional Council " " The president believes that genocide denial is intolerable and must be punished in this regard," the statement said. (AsiaNews 24/01/2012 Turkey threatens retaliation against France over Armenian genocide law).
It is unclear if and how the decision of the Constitutional Council can influence another law that punishes Holocaust denial in France. Holocaust denial is illegal and is punishable by one year in prison and a fine of 45 thousand Euros. The same penalties are provided for the denial of the Armenian genocide. This law was revised by the highest judicial body at the request of a group of 77 deputies and 65 senators. "The Council considers the law unconstitutional," a brief statement of the Council declared because it threatens "freedom of expression and communication."
Shortly after the announcement of the Council, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said: "The verdict is positive. It 'a very positive decision. I thank all members of the Council. I hope that everyone learned a lesson from this." The minister said that Turkey will reconsider whether to recommence business, political and military contacts with France, "frozen" after the passage of the law on genocide.
The author of the Genocide bill Valerie Boyer expressed her disappointment on the decision of the Constitutional Council. According to her, the decision of the Constitutional Council creates a disparity in treatment. "France has acknowledged two genocides - the Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide of 1915. The victims of the Holocaust are protected from denial, but the victims of the Armenian Genocide are not," she announced.
The leader of the Armenian community in France has strongly criticized the ruling, the result, according to him, of the Turkish lobby. "We have been totally outraged by the Constitutional Council's decision at its very core, which is based on politics rather than on legal grounds," said Franck Mourad Papazian. On the same line as the sensor. Herve Marseille: "If we deny the Jewish genocide, we can be punished, but if we deny the Armenian one we will not be punished. So we have a legal punishment for some, and not for others. Everyone should be equal before the law."