On February 28, the French Constitutional Council struck down the draft law that would have criminalized the denial of an Armenian genocide by the Ottoman Turks. A French law from 2001 recognizes the Armenian genocide as fact, but does not call for sanctions for those who contest it. If the draft law were upheld, punishment for the denial of the genocide would have been up to one year in prison and a fine of up to 45,000 euros. The Constitutional Council ruled that ‘“the legislature did unconstitutional harm to the exercise of freedom of expression and communication’ in approving the legislation.” Turkey “hailed the Council’s decision” stating, “‘we consider the annulment of the legislation by the Constitutional Council as a step that complies with the principles of freedom and expression and research, the rule of law, and international law in France.’” As a result of the ruling, Turkish leaders will meet to consider the lifting of economic sanctions imposed because of the bill, as well as reinstating political and military cooperation with France.
However, French President Nicholas Sarkozy does not seem to be withdrawing his support of the legislation. He has “vowed to submit a new bill with revised language.” According to the New York Times, in the past, President Sarkozy indicated that he would continue to push to ensure that denial of an Armenian genocide is made a crime in France even if the Council ruled against it. However, as of yet, President Sarkozy has yet to indicate or explain how a new bill would overcome the Council’s objections. Do you think President Sarkozy will continue to push a bill criminalizing the denial of an Armenian genocide?