Armenian party regrets French bill’s annulment

Armenian party regrets French bill’s annulment

Armenian party regrets French bill’s annulment

French President Nicolas Sarkozy (C) and his Armenian counterpart Serge Sarkisyan light candles in the Etchmiadzine Patriarchate Cathedral in Erevan on Oct 6, 2011.

Armenia regretted the decision of the French Constitutional Council to annul a bill penalizing the denial of Armenian genocide allegations, while Azerbaijan hailed the decision. 

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, however, recalled her previous statements that she hoped the United States would never “go down that path to criminalize speech.”

Armenia’s ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) said Feb. 29 it “regrets” the French court’s decision. The Armenian government, however, has refrained from any official reaction. HHK spokesman and Deputy Parliament Speaker Eduard Sharamazanov attributed the court’s ruling on Feb. 28 to “internal political issues in France and intense lobbying by Turkey,” RadioFree website reported.

The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry welcomed on Feb. 29 the French Constitutional Council’s decision. The ministry’s spokesperson, Elman Abdullayev, said Azerbaijan had seen that efforts of a group of people to make a Parliament accept their own intentions through blackmail were in vain, Anatolia news agency reported. 

“Had the French Constitutional Council ratified the law, it would have been a big strike to France, which considers itself the cradle of democracy,” Abdullayev said. Abdullayev said historians should investigate the incidents of 1915 and noted this was just a campaign of the Armenian lobby to serve their own interests ahead of presidential elections in France. “However, this move of the Armenian community living in France has failed,” Abdullayev said. 

Meanwhile, the debate on the “genocide” bill continued in the United States as well. Clinton said in response to a congressman’s question in a testimony before two House committees, “I do think criminalizing speech is a dangerous path to go down. And in fact, as I understand it, the French courts just declared that law unconstitutional under the French constitution,” the Pan Armenian website quoted the secretary of state as saying. 

“So let me be very clear. The United States recognizes the events of 1915 as one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century. And every April 24 the president honors the victims and expresses American solidarity with the Armenian people.”