September 5, 2014 - 19:01 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The head of the French delegation which arrived in Armenia to participate in the Genocide centenary events expressed commitment to the stance on the tragedy voiced by his country’s president, Armenian media reported.
As the leader of the Socialist Party Bruno Le Roux noted, it’s time to adopt the already introduced bill criminalizing denial of the Armenian Genocide, without initiating new ones. He further expressed hope for the adoption of the bill in 2015.
“The problem is no longer political, but rather a legal one, the challenge lying in producing a text where a clause on criminalization of the Genocide denial won’t clash with the right for free speech,” the parliamentarian said, further announcing plans for new aspects of Armenian-French cooperation.
Earlier, French MP Valerie Boyer introduced a new bill on criminalization of denial of genocides and crimes against humanity in the 20th century.
“With the centenary of the Armenian Genocide ahead of us, France has no laws to punish denial of genocides and crimes against humanity, with the exception of the Holocaust. Though officially recognizing both genocides, only the denial of Holocaust was made punishable by Paris,” the parliamentarian stressed, urging to rectify the situation.
According to the MP, criminalization of the genocide denial is gaining urgency amid relentless persecution of Christians in Iraq. In this context, Boyer suggested to introduce a new classification of the denial of genocide viewing it as a crime against humanity rather than abuse of free speech, thus protecting the memory of all genocides.
In 2012 and 2013, Boyer also initiated draft laws on criminalizing the Armenian Genocide denial.
On January 23, 2012, French Senate passed the bill criminalizing the Armenian Genocide. The bill envisaged imposing 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.
Later, the French Constitutional Council ruled that a bill adopted by the French Senate making it a crime to deny the Armenian Genocide was anti-constitutional.
In July, French President Francois Hollande confirmed plans for a new law criminalizing denial of the Armenian Genocide with representatives of the Armenian community.