Swiss to ask European court to review ‘genocide’ denial case involving Turkish politician

Swiss to ask European court to review ‘genocide’ denial case involving Turkish politician

ZURICH – Reuters
Switzerland will ask the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to review a case involving a Turkish politician who denied that mass killings of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey in 1915 amounted to genocide, the Justice Ministry said March 11.

A Swiss court had fined the leader of the leftist-nationalist Workers’ Party (İP), Doğu Perinçek, who publicly denied that the Ottoman Empire had perpetrated the crime of genocide against the Armenian people in 1915 during conferences in Switzerland in 2005.

The European court, which upholds the 47-nation European Convention on Human Rights, said in December 2013 that a Swiss law against genocide denial violated the principle of freedom of expression.

The ECHR ruling stated that “the free exercise of the right to openly discuss questions of a sensitive and controversial nature is one of the fundamental aspects of freedom of expression and distinguishes a tolerant and pluralistic democratic society from a totalitarian or dictatorial regime.”

In requesting a referral of the case to the court’s Grand Chamber, Switzerland is primarily seeking to clarify the scope available to domestic authorities in applying the anti-racism law, the Justice Ministry said in a statement.

Perinçek, who was handed an aggravated life sentence in the Ergenekon coup plot trial, as part of the Ergenekon network, was released from prison recently, on the grounds that the case had not been concluded legally and that his detention period had surpassed five years.