The Foreign Ministry of Armenia as of now has not commented on the decision of the French Constitutional Council that declared the bill penalizing the denial of genocides unconstitutional.
On Tuesday the Constitutional Council of France decided that the bill criminalizing denial of genocides recognized by France, including the Armenian Genocide, curbs freedom of speech. The decision was predictably met with immense disappointment in Armenia, and joy in Turkey.
Even though France has a law on criminalizing the Jewish Holocaust denial, too, the Constitutional Council clarified that the law on criminalizing Holocaust denial is based on the verdict of the International Military Tribunal, and the bill approved by both houses of the French parliament appeared as a result of a political decision.
Giro Manoyan, Director of the International Secretariat of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) Bureau in Yerevan, stated on Wednesday that “Turkish oppression, threats and also bribes won in this round.”
“This does not credit France at all,” Manoyan said.
According to Manoyan, the Tuesday decision was made by eight out of 11 members of the Constitutional Council of France, among them former President of France Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, who during his political career was against the idea of criminalizing genocides denial, as well as people who are either part of pro-Turkish organizations or support them.
“So it was clear that the form of the decision-making was not fair enough, and the Turkish threats, political oppression and bribes affected the decision,” Manoyan said.
Manoyan believes that French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s assignment to draft a new bill is an expression of goodwill, rather than merely campaigning to French-Armenians, because Sarkozy’s government will not manage to bring a new bill to the political agenda before the May presidential election.
Speaking about the claims that had Sarkozy immediately signed the bill into law after the Senate’s approval this situation would not have been created, Manoyan said in that case Paris would have argued whether the law, rather than the bill, was constitutional, “however, not within this time frame and in this way.”