France to consider fresh genocide denial legislation

by Jean Eckian

Published: Wednesday March 14, 2012

Building that houses the Constitutional Council in central Paris.

Paris - France's Constitutional Council has rejected the bill introduced by MP Valérie Boyer and previously passed by the National Assembly and Senate.

In its decision of February 28, the Constitutional Council ruled that criminalization of the denial of all genocides recognized by law would infringe on freedom expression.

President Nicolas Sarkozy, who has supported the law, has asked to the government to prepare a new legislative text, taking into account the decision of the Constitutional Council.

Meeting with French Armenian community leaders on March 7, Sarkozy was quoted as saying: "France is on your side. Denial is not an opinion. It is an insult. An insult to the memory of the victims. This is a threat to the national community as a whole. An intolerable affront to the values ??of our country.

"Despite the decision of the Constitutional Council, I am not resigned," Sarkozy said. "The Armenian community, like others have the right to be protected by the law against denial. So I asked the government a new text. I can assure you of my desire to make it succeed. I make this solemn pledge facing you."

Armenia's ambassador to France Vigen Tchitechian and former senior member of Sarkozy government Patrick Devedjian were also in the meeting.

Both Sarkozy and his main opposition opponent Francois Holland have made support for legislation punishing Armenian Genocide denial part of their pre-election campaign. Presidential elections will take place April 22.

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