France president announces plans for new genocide law

[JURIST] French President Francois Hollande [official website, in French] announced on Saturday that he plans a new law that would make it a crime to deny the killing of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire in 1915 was a genocide. The Coordinating Council of Armenian Organisations of France (CCAF) [advocacy website], an advocacy group whose mission is to fight denial of the Armenian genocide, supports Hollande's effort and will meet with the French president before the end of the month to discuss the drafting of the new law. Hollande's office said "The president expressed his commitments during the campaign. He will keep them. We must find a path, a road that allows for a text that is consistent with the constitution."

A similar law was rejected by a French court early this year. The Constitutional Council of the French Republic [official website, in French] ruled [JURIST report] in February that a French law [materials, in French] making it a crime to deny that Armenians suffered a genocide by the Ottoman Empire in 1915 is unconstitutional. Despite one Senate committee's rejection, France's genocide denial ban was passed [JURIST reports] by both the Senate and the National Assembly [official websites, in French] in mid-January. However, the law was contested [JURIST report] only a week later when opposition members of both houses of parliament gathered the necessary signatures to warrant the law's review by the Constitutional Council. Although former president Nicolas Sarkozy previously insisted that the law did not specifically target Turkey, the Turkish government repeatedly warned that and affirmation of the law would result in Turkey imposing sanctions on France [AFP report].

 

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