Together Against Genocide Denial

Dear Readers,

The protest communiqué is in French, but easily understandable. Could you please click “like” and “share” it, post a comment if you wish and ask your own networks to do the same and to disseminate it on their turn so as to generate traffic on the site? Signed by major anti-racist organizations, it has been published by the "Huffington Post".

The legalization of denial of all genocides, except the Holocaust, will have terrible implications in education, since it is now legal to teach all sorts of lies and even to require students to write denialist assignments concerning other mass crimes, including the German Occupation as long as the Shoah is not denied, slavery, Stalin’s crimes, the fate of Australian Aborigines, Korean women, Bosnian civilians, Tutsi, etc.

It has become a fundamental human right to call all of these “international lies” and to consider that denial contributes to a “useful debate”. Consider that in primary or secondary school, where a student who needs good grades, he or she will write what the teacher expects…. And however gross the denial, no parent will be able to sue denialist teachers.

Thank you.

Dear Readers,

The protest communiqué is in French, but easily understandable. Could you please click “like” and “share” it, post a comment if you wish and ask your own networks to do the same and to disseminate it on their turn so as to generate traffic on the site? Signed by major anti-racist organizations, it has been published by the "Huffington Post".

The legalization of denial of all genocides, except the Holocaust, will have terrible implications in education, since it is now legal to teach all sorts of lies and even to require students to write denialist assignments concerning other mass crimes, including the German Occupation as long as the Shoah is not denied, slavery, Stalin’s crimes, the fate of Australian Aborigines, Korean women, Bosnian civilians, Tutsi, etc.

It has become a fundamental human right to call all of these “international lies” and to consider that denial contributes to a “useful debate”. Consider that in primary or secondary school, where a student who needs good grades, he or she will write what the teacher expects…. And however gross the denial, no parent will be able to sue denialist teachers.

Thank you.

Séta Papazian, Huffington Post.fr, 20 décembre 2013
Présidente du Collectif VAN [Vigilance Arménienne contre le Négationnisme]

Click for English Translation here.

Les personnalités et associations signataires expriment leur plus vive inquiétude et leur indignation suite à l'Arrêt de la Cour européenne des droits de l'homme publié le 17 décembre 2013 dans l'affaire Doğu Perinçek contre la Suisse (1). Cet Arrêt stipule non seulement que nier le génocide arménien n'est pas un délit, mais il va au-delà, en mettant en doute un "consensus général sur des événements tels que ceux qui sont ici en cause", à savoir le génocide arménien.

Par cette décision, la Cour européenne des droits de l'homme estime que nier le génocide arménien est l'un des droits humains fondamentaux. Pire, elle se fait le vecteur de la négation du génocide arménien perpétré en 1915 dans l'Empire ottoman, en bafouant la mémoire des victimes et les droits de leurs descendants.

La décision de la Cour (2), qui s'inscrit en droite ligne de la politique négationniste de l'Etat turc, est un signe d'encouragement adressé aux négationnistes du génocide arménien, qu'elle conforte dans leurs discours de haine et leur racisme anti-arménien.

A l'heure où une partie de la société civile turque s'éveille à un nécessaire travail de mémoire, la Cour européenne des droits de l'homme apporte son soutien à un individu ultranationaliste, incarcéré en Turquie dans le cadre du réseau criminel Ergenekon (3) et ancienne cheville ouvrière du sinistre Comité Talaat Pacha, le "Hitler" turc, qui défile dans les rues des capitales européennes.

Doğu Perinçek, qui – par un jugement du 9 mars 2007 du Tribunal de Lausanne (Suisse) (4) – avait été reconnu coupable de discrimination raciale pour avoir qualifié de "mensonge international" le génocide arménien, avait saisi la CEDH le 10 juin 2008 pour obtenir le droit de nier le génocide arménien. Il a donc obtenu gain de cause. Ce personnage, condamné à la prison à vie en Turquie, a reçu le soutien du gouvernement turc qui a "adressé des observations à la Cour à titre de tiers intervenant".

Dans un rapport de 82 pages, la Cour estime que la condamnation de Perinçek en Suisse était une violation de l'article 10 (liberté d'expression) de la Convention européenne des droits de l'homme. Mais, comme le démontre son Communiqué (5), elle va bien au-delà de cette simple affirmation.

Tout en prétendant ne pas se prononcer "sur la qualification juridique du génocide arménien", la Cour – faisant mine d'ignorer le travail de centaines d'historiens internationaux – observe que "l'un des buts principaux de la liberté d'expression est de protéger les points de vue minoritaires […] sur des questions d'intérêt général qui ne sont pas entièrement établies." Elle se targue de distinguer "clairement cette affaire de celles qui portent sur la négation des crimes de l'Holocauste."

Par "point de vue minoritaire", la Cour européenne des droits de l'homme désigne en fait un négationnisme d'Etat qui est l'alpha et l'oméga d'une Turquie puissante, autoritaire, régulièrement condamnée pour ses violations permanentes de la liberté d'expression. Héritier du Crime, l'Etat turc poursuit – près de 100 ans après le génocide – son œuvre destructrice par un lobbying acharné. Il tente encore et toujours d'insinuer le doute, de distiller ses théories falsificatrices concernant un génocide impuni et s'évertue à instaurer aussi une insupportable concurrence des mémoires.

Est-ce à la CEDH – qui se cache derrière les imperfections de la loi suisse pour justifier sa position – d'être la caisse de résonance de ce négationnisme d'une violence inouïe pour les descendants des victimes?

Le négationnisme n'est pas une opinion. A l'instar du racisme, c'est un délit. Voire un crime: nier un génocide, c'est, selon Elie Wiesel, "assassiner une seconde fois" les victimes.

La Suisse se doit de faire appel avec conviction (6) de la décision du 17 décembre 2013. Alors que se profile le Centenaire du génocide arménien qui sera commémoré dans le monde entier le 24 avril 2015, il est impératif que "la reconnaissance internationale du génocide des Arméniens et l'incrimination de la négation de ce génocide" soient affirmées avec force par la Grande Chambre de la Cour européenne des droits de l'homme.

Bientôt 100 ans de déni: cela suffit!

 -Séta Papazian, Présidente du Collectif VAN (Vigilance Arménienne contre le Négationnisme)
    – Cindy Leoni, Présidente de SOS Racisme
    – Albert Herszkowicz, Président de Memorial 98
    -Jonathan Hayoun, Président de l'UEJF (Union des Etudiants Juifs de France)
    -Jacky Mamou, Président du CUD (Collectif Urgence Darfour)
    -Alain Gauthier, Président du CPCR (Collectif des Parties Civiles pour le Rwanda)
    -Alain Jakubowicz, Président de la LICRA (Ligue Internationale Contre le Racisme et l'Antisémitisme)
    -Bernadette Hétier, co-présidente du MRAP (Mouvement contre le racisme et pour l'amitié entre les peuples)
  -Paul-Max Morin, Directeur exécutif de l'EGAM (European Grassroots Antiracist Movement).
    -Marcel Kabanda, Président de Ibuka France

[1] Requête no 27510/08.

[2] Seuls deux juges, Nebojša Vučinić (Montenegro) et Paulo Pinto de Albuquerque (Portugal) ont tenu à se dissocier de la décision choquante de la CEDH. Ils exposent en 29 points leurs objections très documentées et rappellent la Décision-Cadre de l'Union européenne, que tous les Etats membres ont à transposer dans leur droit national afin de pénaliser "l'apologie, la négation ou la banalisation grossière publiques des crimes de génocide, crimes contre l'humanité et crimes de guerre".

[3] Doğu Perinçek a été arrêté en Turquie le 24 mars 2008 dans le cadre de l'enquête sur le réseau ultra-nationaliste Ergenekon, gang fasciste que l'on soupçonne d'avoir fomenté l'assassinat du journaliste arménien de Turquie, Hrant Dink, le 19 janvier 2007. Doğu Perinçek, Président du Parti des Travailleurs en Turquie (extrême-gauche ultranationaliste), a été condamné, le 5 août 2013, à la réclusion à perpétuité.

[4] Doğu Perinçek a été condamné en Suisse pour ses déclarations lors de diverses conférences qu'il avait tenues en mai, juillet et septembre 2005, dans les cantons de Vaud, de Zürich et de Berne. Il y avait nié publiquement l'existence de tout génocide perpétré par l'Empire ottoman contre le peuple arménien en 1915 et avait notamment qualifié de "mensonge international" le génocide arménien. Le 15 juillet 2005, l'Association Suisse-Arménie avait porté plainte contre le requérant.

[5] "La nécessité de condamner la négation de la qualification de génocide des atrocités survenues en Arménie pendant les années 1915 et suivantes n'a pas été démontrée" – Communiqué de la CEDH – 17/12/2013.

[6] N'est-il pas surprenant que la juge suisse Helen Keller ait voté contre son propre pays ? Faut-il mettre en perspective le peu d'empressement de la Suisse à se défendre dans cette affaire, avec la visite dans la Confédération helvétique, le 10 octobre 2013[5], du ministre turc des Affaires étrangères, Ahmet Davutoğlu, aux fins de "développer les relations turco-suisses"?

Together Against Armenian Genocide Denial

Ten French antiracist organizations protest the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights : Armenian Watch against Denial (Collectif VAN), SOS Racism, Memorial 98, Union of Jewish Students of France (UEJF), Darfur Emergency Coalition (CUD), Collective of Civil Parties for Rwanda (CPCR), International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism (LICRA), Movement Against Racism and for Friendship between Peoples (MRAP), European Grassroots Antiracist Movement (EGAM) and Ibuka France (“Remember the Genocide of Tutsis in Rwanda”).

The undersigned individuals and organizations express their deepest concern and outrage following the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights, published on December 17, 2013, in the case of Doğu Perinçek v. Switzerland (1). Beyond stipulating that Armenian Genocide denial is not a crime, “the Court doubted that there could be a general consensus as to events such as those at issue.”

With this decision, the ECHR has enshrined Armenian Genocide denial as a fundamental human right. Worse yet, by making itself a vector of denial, the Court is trampling on the memory of the victims and the rights of their descendants.

The Court’s decision (2), which is directly in line with the denialist policy of the Turkish state, is a sign of encouragement aimed at Armenian Genocide deniers, strengthening them in their hate speech and anti-Armenian racism.

At a time when one part of Turkish civil society is waking up to the necessity of facing the past, the ECHR is lending its support to an ultranationalist imprisoned in Turkey as a member of the Ergenekon criminal network (3). Perincek has also been a linchpin of the  sinister Talaat Pasha Committee –  named for the Turkish “Hitler” – that marches in the streets of European capitals.

After the Lausanne (Switzerland) Police Court, on March 9, 2007, found him guilty of race discrimination for having called the Armenian Genocide “an international lie,” Doğu Perinçek appealed to the ECHR on June 10, 2008, for the right to deny the Armenian Genocide. He has succeeded. Although sentenced to life imprisonment in Turkey, Perincek was supported by the Turkish government, which submitted a “friend of the court” brief.

In its 82-page decision, the Court found that the judgment against Perinçek in Switzerland had violated Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights. The press-release showed, however (5), that the Court went far beyond this simple affirmation.

While asserting it was not deciding “upon the legal characterization of the Armenian genocide,” the Court—apparently disregarding the work of hundreds of international historians—observed that “one of the principal goals of freedom of expression is to protect minority points of view […] on questions of general interest which have not been completely settled.” It claimed to distinguish “clearly between this matter and those concerned with denial of the crimes of the Holocaust.”

By “minority point of view,” the ECHR in fact refers to a state denialism which is the beginning and end of a powerful, authoritarian Turkey regularly condemned for its perennial violations of freedom of expression. As the heir of the Crime, the Turkish State is pursuing – nearly 100 years after the genocide – its destructive work through fierce lobbying. It tries again and again to introduce doubt, to distill its falsifying theories about an unpunished genocide, and does its best to establish an intolerable competition of memories.

Is it for the ECHR—which justifies itself by hiding behind the imperfections of Swiss law—to serve this denial which is terribly violent to the victims’ descendants?

Denial is not an opinion. Like racism, it is an offense. Even a crime: to deny a genocide is, according to Elie Wiesel, “to assassinate” the victims “a second time.”

Switzerland must appeal, with conviction (6), the judgment of December 17, 2013. With the looming centennial of the Armenian Genocide which will be commemorated worldwide on April 24, 2015, it is critically important that “international recognition of the Armenian Genocide and the criminalization of denial of this genocide” be strongly affirmed by the Grand Chamber of the ECHR.

Almost 100 years of denial: it’s enough !

Séta Papazian, President, Collectif VAN (Armenian Watch Against Denial)

Cindy Leoni, President, SOS Racism

Albert Herszkowicz, President, Memorial 98

Jonathan Hayoun, President, UEJF (Union of Jewish Students of France)

Jacky Mamou, President, CUD (Darfur Emergency Coalition)

Alain Gauthier, President, CPCR (Collective of Civil Parties for Rwanda)

Alain Jakubowicz, President, LICRA (International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism)

Bernadette Hétier, Co-President, MRAP (Movement Against Racism and for Friendship Between Peoples)

Paul-Max Morin, Executive Director, EGAM (European Grassroots Antiracist Movement)

Marcel Kabanda, President, Ibuka France (“Remember the Genocide of the Tutsis in Rwanda”  

[1] Request no. 27510/08.

[2] Only two judges, Nebojša Vučinić (Montenegro) and Paulo Pinto de Albuquerque (Portugal) dissented from the shocking decision of the ECHR. In 29 points they laid out their well documented objections and recalled the Council Framework Decision of the European Union, which all the member States were to adopt in their national law so as to punish “the public justification, denial, or gross trivialization of crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.”

[3] Doğu Perinçek was arrested in Turkey on March 24, 2008, during the investigation of the ultranationalist Ergenekon network, a fascist gang suspected of having incited the assassination of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink on January 19, 2007. Doğu Perinçek, chairman of the far-left, ultranationalist Turkish Workers Party, received a life sentence on August 5, 2013.

[4] Doğu Perinçek was found guilty in Switzerland for his statements during various conferences in which he had participated in May, July, and September 2005, in the cantons of Vaud, Zurich, and Berne. He had publicly denied that the Ottoman Empire had perpetrated genocide against the Armenian people in 1915. Notably, he described the idea of an Armenian Genocide as an “international lie.” The Switzerland-Armenia Association filed a criminal complaint against him on July 15, 2005.

[5] “To impose a sentence for denying the qualification of genocide to the atrocities that happened in Armenia in 1915 and subsequent years has not been shown to be necessary.” ECHR Press release – 12/17/2013.

[6] Is it not surprising that Swiss judge Helen Keller should have voted against her own country? Should this put into perspective Switzerland’s lack of eagerness to defend itself in this case, with the visit to the Swiss Confederation, on October 10, 2013[5], of Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, with the aim of “developing Turkish-Swiss relations”?

Other articles by Séta Papazian, Presidente of Collectif VAN  (in French) :

            Aristote, la bête noire de la justice turque

TURQUIE. 76 journalistes en prison : il faut soutenir la liberté d'expression

Les liaisons dangereuses de nos universités

Talaat Pacha, le Hitler turc, acquiert ses lettres de noblesse en France

Original article in French, published on 20 December 2013 by  Huffington Post France.

Read, “like,” share, and comment on the original Huffington Post story to drive traffic to the page.

 

2 comments
  1. Denial Born Out of Hate

    There is a law which is forced by Islamic religious leaders to forbid everything that is born out of hate. But I am constantly forced to hate because of the denials of the massacres and the genocide of my family and relatives.

    The deniers of my grandparents' families' slayings, robbing, executions and all the misery and hell is already gone to those who organized it. Suspects? Read the Bible, specially the Old Testament. Every cent that is robbed from my slain families is bloody. Those who use it are bloody. The blood of the
    elders, the women, the young, the newborn is and will stay on those who organized and executed the Genocide of Armenians.

    On this day of the birth of the King of The World, I ask the Lord that His true judgment be born. Amen.
    Great is God. Our hope is only on Him. May He Win. Amen.

  2. Together Against Genocide Denial

    I strongly believe that the Holocaust needs to be included in the discussion of denial. It will change the entire approach for the better. No one can fight the issue better than Jewish people. It will improve the perspective for the issue.

Comments are closed.

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