The ECHR Judgement Was a Blow to the Criminalization of the Denial of the Armenian Genocide
26.10.2015
13:00
The judgment of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in the case of Perinçek v. Switzerland met the demands of Armenia which was involved in the trial as a third party. The judgement, though, can hardly be called a victory.

Earlier on October 15 the European Court of Human Rights passed a judgment on the case of Perinçek v. Switzerland. The court decided that the right of the freedom of expression of the Turkish ultranationalist Doğu Perinçek was restrained when the latter was found guilty of racial discrimination for calling the Armenian Genocide “an international lie.”

Yerevan, however, believes the judgement proposes new prospects for the Armenian side since from now on Armenians can file lawsuits against people who may obviously deny the Armenian Genocide, thus offending the Armenian identity.

“The ruling defines Armenians have the right to defend their identity. And the Genocide has had a tremendous impact on the Armenian identity. One can hardly find an Armenian family which has not been affected by the Genocide in the Ottoman Empire. Thus, the ruling creates a platform for the protection of the Armenian identity,” believes international rights expert Ara Ghazaryan.

Following the ECHR judgement Armenia’s Prosecutor’s Office released a statement that the requests of the Government of Armenia have been fully met by the European Court of Human Rights.

“As a third party we aimed to clear the ruling of the lower chamber of any wording that may lay doubt on the fact of the Armenian Genocide,” said Arman Tatoyan, Deputy Minister of Justice.

The judgement, Tatoyan said, fixes that the court is not eligible to give definitions and estimates regarding the true existence of the Genocide, which was reflected rather badly in the previous decision.

Avetik Ishkhanyan, however, believes it is Perinçek who won. “It is a fact. Whatever you may say, we now see that ECHR qualified Switzerland's actions as a limitation of rights. This is a great blow to the criminalization of the denial of the Armenian Genocide. ”

The Deputy Minister disagreed and said the court did not consider charging Perinçek a phenomenon controversial to the European Court’s precedential right.

 “The court fixed that the Swiss law was misused against Perinçek. Outlawing the denial of the Armenian Genocide and charging are legally equal but within the European Convention only,” Tatoyan said.

Ishkhanyan describes the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide along with the trial at ECHR as a political process. “It is a political process. The fact that ECHR failed to study thoroughly Perinçek's statement to reveal his real reasons comes to prove it. Perinçek is a nationalist politician who intentionally chose Switzerland to make such a statement. The court, however, appears to have bypassed this fact,” said Ishkhanyan.

Arshaluys Mghdesyan, Editor-Coordinator

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