Dismissed By The European Court Of Human Rights
In its December
17, 2013 judgment, the European Court of Human Rights, an organ
of the Council of Europe with 47 members, has ruled that publicly
challenging claims of Armenian genocide of 1915 does not provide
grounds for conviction.
During a conference
he attended in Switzerland in 2005, Turkish academician and politician
Dr. Perinçek had repeatedly stated that the "Armenian genocide"
claims were "an international lie" and highlighted that
the policies implemented towards the Armenians during the First
World War did not constitute genocide. Armenian associations in
Switzerland reacted to Dr. Perinçek's statements, and applied for
legal proceedings against him.
first instance court in which the legal case took place in 2007
convicted Dr. Perinçek of racial discrimination. The conviction
was upheld by the Criminal Cassation Division of the Vaud Cantonal
Court to which an appeal was made. Political and lobby pressures
were clearly apparent in the court's decision to up-hold the conviction.
The highest instance Federal Court dismissed a further appeal in
its December 2007 judgment.
Having no means
left to appeal in Swiss internal law, Dr. Perinçek carried his appeal
to the European Court of Human Rights. The international court found
the decision of the Swiss courts to be wrong, the way in which Dr.
Perinçek's freedom of expression was restrained to be unfair and
ungrounded, and the logic which prevailed in and guided the Swiss
judiciary to be invalid. The international court's judgment no doubt
constitutes a great blow to Armenian claims, and serves as a reminder
that cannot be ignored by countries which for political and other
reasons display sympathy with Armenian claims.
Court of Human Rights, in its judgment, stated with no ambiguity
that there is no unanimity in the legal characterization of the
events in question; that the claim included in the Swiss Courts'
decision that there had been a general consensus, particularly in
the academic community, about a genocide having taken place is not
valid; and that just as there are those who claim that there had
been genocide, there are those with equally valid counterview.
The court in
its judgment also referred to some countries' approaches to the
Armenian genocide claims. It is reminded in the judgment that only
20 out of the nearly 190 states that make up the international community
took a position in this matter either in their parliaments or in
one of the parliament's chambers. It is also pointed out that none
of these were government decisions. In other words, it expresses
the understanding that these parliamentary decisions do not go beyond
being political declarations; and are not legally binding or carry
that stands out in the judgment is that the court makes a clear
distinction between the Armenian claims and the holocaust crimes
committed by the Nazis against Jews because the latter has a clear
legal basis, thus putting on record that they are not similar or
of the European Court of Human Rights on the Armenian claims has
the legal attribute to constitute a precedent and a turning point
with regards to those claims. Armenian genocide claims have finally
hit a legal dead-end. Accusations of "denialism" that
the Armenian extremists are trying to establish have become exposed
to the public. Furthermore, in the light of the understanding of
this judgment, it is possible to express that the extreme Armenian
rhetoric and allegations constitute hatemongering. It is also possible
to contemplate the need to begin filing lawsuits against such extreme
rhetoric and allegations on the grounds that they constitute a campaign
of hate speech, of breeding grudge and hatred, and of disparagement
against Turkish people.
of the European Court of Human Rights of which we have currently
merely made a pre-assessment deserves to be handled in a more detailed
and visionary way, and merits to be perused in a more in-depth manner.