French candidate Hollande promises to bring back 'genocide' bill
PARIS - Anatolia News Agency
Francois Hollande, Socialist Party candidate in the 2012 French presidential election, appears on the TF1 programme "Paroles de Candidats" (Words of the Candidates) at their studios in Saint-Denis, near Paris, February 27, 2012. REUTERS PhotoFrench presidential frontrunner François Hollande has promised to bring back a government-backed law criminalizing denials of the 1915 events as genocide if he is elected even though the country’s Constitutional Council rejected a similar bill yesterday, Anatolia news agency reported.
Hollande promised to reopen the debate in a peaceful negotiation process if he becomes the next president.
"It is impossible to prepare a new draft due to the approaching end of the legal year," Hollande said. "But I will bring it up again, and try to live up to my promises."
The council struck down the law on the grounds that it contradicted the French constitution and violated freedom of expression and thought.
Hollande further noted the expectations of the Armenian community living in France while also stating that the Turkish community should not feel targeted by the law.
The law, introduced by President Nicolas Sarkozy’s party, was first approved by Parliament on Dec. 22 and then by the French Senate on Jan. 23. The measure set a punishment of up to one year in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros for those who deny or outrageously minimize the killings.
The high court’s decision, however, has made the law null and void, meaning the entire legislative process will have to begin from the very beginning.
Sarkozy has already demanded a new draft for the law, but the limited time he has until the elections make it impossible for him to organize another vote before the end of his current presidential term.