Legislative approach or national agenda?: Armenian Genocide denial should be punished first of all in Armenia

The signing of Armenian-Turkish protocols has intensified discussion of the Armenian Genocide and has, in some circles, raised the question of why Armenia does not have a law prohibiting denial.

Yet in 1988 the Supreme Council of Soviet Armenia adopted a law, condemning the Armenian Genocide, committed by Turkey in Western Armenia in 1915. After Armenia being declared independent, all the normative legal acts of the Soviet Armenia were annulled, except for the genocide declaration. However, a special law was not adopted, by which the Republic of Armenia would officially and legally confirm that it recognizes the Armenian Genocide. (According to the existing law the genocide is recognized by the Supreme Council of Soviet Armenia.)

“We only have Article 397.1 of the Criminal Code, where genocide in general is condemned, and the Armenian Genocide is not mentioned separately,” says Armen Ayvazyan, Director of the ‘Ararat’ Center for Strategic Research.

“Meanwhile, there are various states which have such a law: Israel, for example, has a special Law on Holocaust Recognition; the European Union assigned a task to all its member states to adopt laws against genocide denial,” he says.

A month ago, representatives of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Dashnaktsutyun drafted a bill, which is included in the agenda of the Standing Committee on State-Legal Issues of the National Assembly.

MP Artsvik Minasyan, from ARF, thinks that we have always faced that issue; however, because of the recent developments in the political sphere, the adoption of such a law is more urgent. “It does not matter whether they will or will not ratify the protocols, we must adopt the law.”