On January 26, 2017, the Constitutional Council of France repealed a provision of the Law on Equality and Citizenship that aimed to criminalize speech that disputes genocides.
The amendment, contained in article 173 of the Law of Equality and Citizenship, had been stealthily inserted into the reform package late last year through efforts by the Armenian French lobby. However, the Constitutional Council repealed the amendment on grounds that it violated France’s Law on the Freedom of Speech and Press and the French Constitution. The Council’s decision described the amendment as an unnecessary and disproportionate attack against freedom of speech. The Council also reaffirmed its earlier decision that a crime against humanity or genocide must be established by a competent court, not by the legislature.
Armenian French organizations have long lobbied to criminalize what they consider genocide denial in order to stifle debate and inhibit scholarship on the Ottoman-Armenian tragedy that does not agree with their one-sided perspective. Their efforts have repeatedly been pushed back by the French high court.
French Constitutional Council Reaffirms that Crimes Against Humanity or Genocide must be Established by Competent Courts not Legislature
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