Top Swiss court rejects opposition to Armenian Genocide memorial

Top Swiss court rejects opposition to Armenian Genocide memorial

PanARMENIAN.Net - Switzerland’s highest court has rejected the opposition raised by several Genevans to a recently-unveiled monument commemorating the Armenian Genocide in the city, Swissinfo reports.

The decision published by the Federal Court on Monday, February 18 rejected claims by residents that the monument would lead to the area becoming a site of demonstrations, or even conflict between members of the Armenian and Turkish communities.

“Residents can appeal when they are definitely, or at least with sufficient probability, affected by the repercussions of such a decision,” the court wrote. This was not the case for the monument in Parc Tremblay, Geneva.

The decision should bring to an end the long saga of the monument, which was unveiled in April 2018 after a decade of debates and delay.

Not only was it tricky to find an appropriate location for the genocide memorial – initially approved in 2008 – but opposition from Turkey also made the monument a diplomatic headache into which the federal government was forced to wade.

“Les Réverbères de la Mémoire” (Streetlights of memory), designed by French artist Melik Ohanian, is a collection of nine street lamps, each ten metres tall and featuring lamps in the form of teardrops, commemorating the 1915-1917 Armenian genocide, which is still disputed by Turkey.

The Genocide was recognized by the parliament of Geneva in 2001 and by the Swiss federal parliament in 2003.

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, Italy, 45 U.S. states, Greece, Cyprus, Lebanon, Argentina, Belgium, Austria, Wales, Switzerland, Canada, Poland, Venezuela, Chile, Bolivia, the Vatican, Luxembourg, Brazil, Germany, the Netherlands, Paraguay, Sweden, Venezuela, Slovakia, Syria, Vatican, as well as the European Parliament and the World Council of Churches.

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