France’s ‘genocide’ bill stumbles ahead of vote

France’s ‘genocide’ bill stumbles ahead of vote

France’s ‘genocide’ bill stumbles ahead of vote

The Chairperson of the Senate’s Laws Commission, Jean Pierre Sueur, says it would be unconstitutional to approve bill. AA photo

A Senate panel says it would be unconstitutional for France to approve a bill to outlaw denial of the Armenian genocide, but the move was unlikely to stop the diplomatically fraught bill passing at a final vote Jan. 23.

The French Lower House approved the law Dec. 22, 2011, threatening anyone who denies the 1915 massacre of Armenians amounted to genocide with jail, drawing a threat of sanctions from Turkey. Ankara froze political and military ties with France when the bill was passed by the National Assembly and has threatened further measures if it continues through the Senate or is approved by President Nicolas Sarkozy. The Senate’s Laws Commission approved a motion yesterday rejecting the bill as inadmissible by 23 votes for, nine against and eight abstentions.

Bill unlawful even by French laws: FM Davutoğlu

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu yesterday said the French bill criminalizing the denial of Armenian claims of genocide was unlawful “even by French laws,” which he said was clearly shown by a French parliamentary committee decision. “This shows that the attempt is unlawful even by the standards of the French laws. We hope that the French Senate will act wisely and drop it off the agenda even before debating it,” Davutoğlu said.

A plenary Senate session Jan. 23 will now vote on the committee’s motion, but most senators opposed to the bill are expected to abstain, allowing the Senate to take a final vote on the bill itself. France recognized the killings as genocide in 2001, but the new bill would go further by punishing anyone who denies this with a year in jail and a fine of 45,000 euros.

Meanwhile, Turkish-French associations in France will hold rallies in Paris against the Armenian resolution between Jan. 21 and 23. The rally on Jan. 21 is set to begin at the Denfert Rochereau Square and end at the French Senate. The rally on Jan. 23 will take place in front of the French Senate.

Compiled from AA and AFP stories by the Daily News staff.