Hollande expected to announce new Genocide bill during Armenia visit

Hollande expected to announce new Genocide bill during Armenia visit

PanARMENIAN.Net - Preparations for French President Francois Hollande’s visit to Armenia in May were discussed during a meeting between Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian with his French counterpart Laurent Fabius.

At the March 13 meeting in Paris, the parties welcomed high level of bilateral ties, also focusing on economic cooperation prospects. As Nalbandian further noted, around 160 French-financed companies currently operate in Armenia. In this context, he welcomed growth of French investments in the country.

The Armenia-EU cooperation in the settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict was discussed, with Nalbandian giving high assessment to mediatory efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-chairs (France, Russia and the U.S.) The Foreign Minister reiterated Armenia's readiness to continue peaceful settlement efforts jointly with the Co-chairs, Foreign Ministry pres service said.

As was reported earlier, initiation of the Genocide denial criminalization bill will be officially announced during Hollande's visit.

On January 23, 2012 the French Senate passed the bill making it a crime to deny the Armenian Genocide. The bill envisaged a 45,000 euro fine and a year in prison for anyone in France who denies this crime against humanity committed by the Ottoman Empire. However, the French Constitutional Council ruled the bill as anti-constitutional. In a statement the Council said the document represented an “unconstitutional breach of the practice of freedom of expression and communication

Later, President Hollande pledged to redraft the law criminalizing the Armenian Genocide denial in France, stressing the need to ensure the legal framework to avoid censorship by the Constitutional Council.

The Armenian Genocide

The Armenian Genocide (1915-23) was the deliberate and systematic destruction of the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire during and just after World War I. It was characterized by massacres, and deportations involving forced marches under conditions designed to lead to the death of the deportees, with the total number of deaths reaching 1.5 million.

The majority of Armenian Diaspora communities were formed by the Genocide survivors.

Present-day Turkey denies the fact of the Armenian Genocide, justifying the atrocities as “deportation to secure Armenians”. Only a few Turkish intellectuals, including Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk and scholar Taner Akcam, speak openly about the necessity to recognize this crime against humanity.

The Armenian Genocide was recognized by Uruguay, Russia, France, Lithuania, the Italian Chamber of Deputies, majority of U.S. states, parliaments of Greece, Cyprus, Argentina, Belgium and Wales, National Council of Switzerland, Chamber of Commons of Canada, Polish Sejm, Vatican, European Parliament and the World Council of Churches.

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