Photo: Getty Images/Kevork Djansezian
The French bill that would have criminalized the denial of the Armenian genocide has hit a roadblock. France’s highest legal authority ruled that the bill was unconstitutional, Reuters reports.The decision by France’s Constitutional Council invalidates the bill, which it said was against the principles of freedom of expression guaranteed in France’s constitution. The bill was passed by both houses of parliament and was due to be ratified by President Nicolas Sarkozy at the end of the month.
The move was welcomed by Turkey, with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu saying his cabinet would meet to consider whether to restart economic, political and military contacts with France. “The correction of this grave error by the highest court in France is satisfying,” Davutoglu said in a statement.
The president of the Council of Coordination of Armenian organisations in France, Franck Mourad Papazian, criticised the ruling, saying it was the result of Turkish lobbying. “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,” he said, the AP reports.
But Sarkozy has not given up. Immediately following the ruling, his office said he had asked the government to draft a new version of the law which would take the decision into account. “The President of the Republic considers that [genocide] denial is intolerable and must therefore be punished,” his office said in a statement.
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