Genocide Recognition in the Netherlands
Posted 27 May 2002 - 01:15 AM
Furthermore I asked them WHAT words they did not allow to be used during the protest march in Assen last april 24th and WHY they did not allow it.
I am not sure where this will lead to but I'll keep you posted on it here.
In case anyone wants to mail the City of Assen, it's e-mailadress is email@example.com .
This is what I wrote them:
Aan het college van burgemeester en wethouders van Assen
9401 JW ASSEN
<Town>, 25 mei 2002
In 2001 stond u niet toe dat in het opschrift van een monument van Assense Armeniers ter nagedachtenis van hun voorvaderen die tijdens de genocide van 1915 in het Ottomaanse rijk om het leven zijn gebracht het woord "genocide" gebruikt werd.
Graag zou ik van u hierover een zo exact mogelijke uitleg ontvangen: waarom heeft uw college het gebruik van het woord "genocide" in dit verband verboden?
Inzake de protestmars in Assen van de Armeniers op 24 april 2002 hebt u het gebruik van bepaalde teksten verboden. Kunt u mij zeggen welke teksten dat precies waren en waarom u ze verboden heeft?
Ik dank u bij voorbaat en zie uit naar uw antwoord.
Met vriendelijke groet,
To the 'college van burgemeester en wethouders' of Assen
9401 JW ASSEN
In 2001 you did not allow the word "genocide" to be used in the inscription of a monument of Assen Armeniens to commemorate their ancestors who got killed during the genocide in the Ottoman empire in 1915.
I would like to get an exact explanation from you on this question: why did your 'college' forbid use of the word "genocide" in this context?
Regarding the Armenian protest march in Assen on april 24 2002 you forbid use of certain words. Can you tell me what those words were and why you forbid them?
I thank you in advance and I am looking forward to your answer.
With friendly greetings,
Hopefully soon I will be able to post their reply here.
I believe that the Assen-monument-issue ended up in court last year. I would like to know how that went or how it is proceeding. Does anyone know?
Posted 27 May 2002 - 12:26 PM
Posted 27 May 2002 - 01:05 PM
Originally posted by MosJan:
Aghchig jan i my self have send a E-mail. lest see if we can get anything.
Posted 28 May 2002 - 01:39 PM
April 24 Committee
The Mayor and Aldermen
Of Assen City Hall
9401 JW ASSEN
Subject: your letter May 2 2002, ref cs/2002/860
The Hague, May 24 2002
Dear Mayor and Aldermen,
In response to your letter dated May 2 2002 on the course of the
demonstration on April 24, we feel the need for several further comments on
the demonstration and reactions to your letter. Firstly we regret the
apparent misunderstanding of the agreements on the demonstration that was
created between you and us. The consequences were not severe; you indicated
yourself that the demonstration did not cause any disruption of public order
and security and that our security service was clearly visible. Within the
Armenian community however, the events regarding the banners have left a
As you know, we as Armenian community, have always complied with agreements
with you and we intended to do that this time as well. From different
courses we can only conclude that most, if not all, are related to the lack
of communication after the meeting on April 19. A written permission with
explicit conditions could have in any case provided for the necessary
Please find below a closer look at separate points in your letter.
Veemarktterrein as meeting place (a)
In our request for permission to demonstrate, we had indicated that it would
be held in front of the City Hall on Noordersingel. This was also announced
within the Armenian community. It was only during our meeting on April 19
2002 that Mister Werkman proposed to use the Veemarktterrein as a meeting
and departure place. We agreed on this proposal, meaning that we would ask
all involved organizations to announce this change of meeting place to their
members to the extent that they could be reached in such a short time-span.
This also happened on April 19. However, it is by definition not possible to
reach everyone on time. The organization managed to gather a large amount of
protesters to the meeting place. Several people who could not be reached
apparently searched for a parking space in the vicinity of the place of
demonstration. To us - we assume you too - that seems quite reasonable.
"Inflammatory or offensive texts" (b)
During the meeting on April 19 2002 we agreed with the municipality's
standpoint in omitting inflammatory and/or offensive texts. That was not the
organization's intention either.
Our opinions apparently differ when defining the terms "inflammatory" and
"offensive". According to us, using the names Turkey or Turkish government
can in no way fall under this qualification. The fact that Turkey, as you
know, pursues an active denial policy (all the problems in Assen are after
all related to that) can naturally not lead to a prohibition on naming the
country and consequently put the 'denier' in the right. In our viewpoint,
naming the place and perpetrator of the genocide, the worst crime against
humanity, at a demonstration where recognition of that genocide is in fact
the goal, is a logical and inevitable factor.
Our people experienced the removal of those words from the banners as
distressing. We have not yet received an explanation for why every reference
to Turkey and the Turkish government by us is inflammatory and offensive. In
case, as suggested in the introduction, this would have been in writing, we
would have definitely acted upon it. We feel that such a categorical
prohibition cannot fit within Holland's application of freedom of speech. If
necessary we would have filed a lawsuit. We would have naturally conformed
to the outcome.
We indeed experienced the removal of the terms Turkey and Turkish government
from the banners by the police as censorship and thus as a limitation on
freedom of speech.
On April 19 we indeed announced that at that moment there were no plans to
distribute folders. It was only in the last meeting of the April 24
Committee that it was decided. After all, without a folder it wouldn't be
possible to explain the goal of the demonstration to the local inhabitants.
Because of time pressure the organization was unable to present this request
and folder to your City Hall, for which we apologize. The folder, moreover,
merely included scientific facts about the subject of the demonstration.
Action of police (e)
Unfortunately we must hereby share that we felt very uncomfortable with the
unnecessary action of the police. Your qualifications "inflammatory" and
"offensive" to the address of the April 24 Committee that strives for
recognition of the genocide of 1915, in which 1.5 million Armenians were
killed by the Turkish government at the time, is at the least misplaced.
After serious thought, the Committee abandoned the idea to press charges
against your City Hall for the controversial action by the police. Since in
our opinion a line was crossed, the Committee has informed the parliament of
this. The Minister for Internal Affairs has been inquired.
In short, we can only understand your perception of the events where it
concerns our neglect in informing you about the later decision of the
We hope to have sufficiently informed you about our perception and
experience of the events.
On behalf of the April 24 Committee,
[ May 29, 2002, 01:56 AM: Message edited by: Rouben Malayan ]
Posted 31 May 2002 - 02:24 AM
From the City of Assen / Concernstaff
9400 RA Assen.
Assen, May 30 2002
Subject: Armenian Cause
May 25 we received your e-mail in good order. You asked some questions about the monument and the demonstration of the Armenians. We would like to answer your questions as follows.
To answer your first question we refer to our decission on the appeal (petition?) of the Turkish Islam Cultural Society of November 22th 2000. This decission is enclosed.
Regarding the demonstration and the text we can communicate the following to you. On april 19 2002 there has been consultation between the City of Assen, The Regional Police Drenthe and the April 24 Comitty (organiser demonstration). During this consultation several agreements were made. One of the agreements concerns the content of the banners. The banners would not contain inflammatory text. Agreed was that the banners would not contain text that would refer to Turky or the Turkish Government. If the police or the City in their opinion would find inflammatory text, then consultation with the organisation would be possible. The April 24 comitty could agree with this. So the City did not 'forbid' text, but agreements were made with the organisation.
Still, previously to the demonstration, there appeared to be text on the banners that referred to the Turkish government. De police pointed out to the organisation what was agreed on before about the banners. Then certain words in request of the organisation (April 24 Committy) were cut out of the banners, so not by City or Police.
We assume to hereby have informed you sufficiently.
Major and Lawkeepers of Assen,
in their name,
Head department Bestuurlijke Juridische Zaken,
The mentioned appeal (petition?) of the Turkish Islam Cultural Society of November 22th 2000" I will translate and post here as soon as I can. It will take a little while though.
I am curious, Mosjan, what you have received/will receive and if the City will have translated this petition into English especially for you. If so, it saves me work.
Posted 31 May 2002 - 02:59 AM
Posted 31 May 2002 - 06:43 AM
I don't have time yet to translate the Cities decission on the Turkish petition, but from what I've read I sofar get the impression that in both cases the City wanted to try to please both parties or at least not make them angry, just to avoid trouble. On itself it is understandable, I think, that they decided to do it that way.
The Armenian man who iniatiated the monument in Assen agreed to change the inscription (within limits); the april 24 comitty agreed to not use certain words on the banners. In both cases it was the outcome of consultations (negotiations?) between parties.
From what I read in the Cities decission in answer to the Turkish petition against the Armenian monument they do not give in to the Turkish arguments/demands. They also mention the "freedom of speech" in it.
But let's be a bit patient and wait until I can post the English version of that document. I hope to be able to translate it this weekend. Also I have sent the City another mail where I ask for more explanation and if possible more documents that can help me understand what happened there. As soon as I can I will also translate that email and post it here.
[ May 31, 2002, 07:48 AM: Message edited by: Aghtchik ]
Posted 31 May 2002 - 06:57 AM
(did not have time yet to translate it into English)
t.a.v. H.D. Werkman
9401 JW ASSEN
<my town>, 31 mei 2002
Geachte heer/mevrouw Werkman,
Graag wil ik u bedanken voor uw snelle reactie op mijn e-mail van 25 mei jongstleden.
Het lezen van uw besluit op het bezwaarschrift van de Turks Islamitische Culturele Vereninging van 22 november 2000 roept bij mij weer nieuwe vragen op. Zo zou ik nu graag het eigenlijke bezwaarschrift van de genoemde Turkse organisatie willen lezen en daarnaast overigens ook elk ander stuk dat er zou kunnen bijdragen om van deze kwestie een zo compleet en correct mogelijk beeld te krijgen. Ik wil u dan ook vriendelijk verzoeken om mij, indien mogelijk, de text van het bezwaarschrift als ook andere relevante stukken, zoals het advies van de commissie voor bezwaar en beroep of eventuele ter zake doende correspondentie, toe te sturen. Ik schrijf "indien mogelijk" omdat ik niet weet in hoeverre regels of wetten voor bescherming van privacy het u onmogelijk zouden kunnen maken om aan mijn verzoek gehoor te geven. In dat geval heb ik daarvoor natuurlijk alle begrip.
Uit wat ik tot dusver heb kunnen lezen lijkt mij dat de gemeente Assen tot zover op een goede manier met deze kwestie is omgegaan. Daar ben ik natuurlijk blij om. Dat neemt echter niet weg dat ik van mening ben dat het oorspronkelijke opschrift van de Armeense gedenksteen in Assen gehandhaafd had moeten worden omdat het de waarheid is, ook al wordt dit door bepaalde mensen als 'beledigend' ervaren. Wij zijn hier in Nederland en zaken als mensenrechten, menswaardigheid, democratie, waarheid, rechtvaardigheid en vrijheid van meningsuiting moeten hier niet kunnen worden geschonden, ontnomen, bedreigd, verdraaid, genegeerd of belemmerd. De 'Armenian Genocide' heeft daadwerkelijk plaatsgevonden. Hiervoor zijn inmiddels genoeg 'bewijzen' verzameld - van 'omstreden' kan echt geen sprake meer zijn. Het is slechts een kwestie van tijd en het bewandelen van de juiste wegen, maar erkenning zal uiteindelijk plaats moeten vinden. Echter, dat het ondertussen de Armeense gemeenschap in Nederland zo zeer wordt bemoeilijkt om in alle rust en waardigheid hun vermoorde voorouders te gedenken, vind ik verschrikkelijk. Dat het zo kan zijn dat de Armenen in Nederland niet vrijuit en op nette! wijze de waarheid kunnen verkondigen, maar 'op hun woorden moeten letten'....
Voor wat betreft het gebruik van 'opruiende' woorden op spandoeken vraag ik me af: wie bepaalt wat opruiend is? Wordt dat bepaald door de Wet? Bepaalt u dat als gemeente zelf, onafhankelijk van wat er in speelt? Of hangt dat maar helemaal af van hoe volgens uw verwachting bepaalde groeperingen zullen reageren (met andere woorden: trubbels moeten zo mogelijk vermeden worden)? Want in het laatste geval geeft dat natuurlijk ruimte voor bepaalde groeperingen om 'pressie' uit te oefenen. Dat lijkt mij geen goede zaak. Kunt u mij hierover wat meer duidelijkheid verschaffen?
Ik begrijp dat u werkt volgens het boekje. U hebt afspraken gemaakt met het 24 april comite. U mag verwachten dat men zich dan ook aan de afspraken houdt en terecht. Maar wat als het 24 april comite niet zou hebben ingestemd met uw verzoek om het gebruik van bepaalde woorden achterwege te laten? Zou de gemeente Assen dan een demonstratie hebben toegelaten? Zo nee, dan had het comite misschien geen andere keus en kan men zich afvragen of een dergelijk verzoek van de gemeente Assen wel zo netjes was. Ook hierover zou ik van u graag een reactie ontvangen. Ik ben eventueel ook geinteresseerd in uw gemeenteverordeningen voor zover uw beslissingen in deze zaak hiervan afhankelijk zijn.
Rest mij nog te vermelden dat ik (nog) geen enkele binding heb met organisaties of personen die een rol spelen of gespeeld hebben bij de hier besproken Assense Armeens-Turkse kwestie. Ik ben simpelgezegd (voorlopig) gewoon een belangstellend Nederlander die graag het fijne van deze zaak wil weten omdat de 'Armeense kwestie' haar na aan het hart ligt.
Ik begrijp dat ik u hiermee extra werk bezorg. Daarom bij voorbaat mijn veronschuldingen en alvast bedankt voor de moeite!
Met vriendelijke groet,
In case anyone wants to volonteer to translate this... be my guest.
[ May 31, 2002, 08:02 AM: Message edited by: Aghtchik ]
Posted 31 May 2002 - 07:22 AM
Originally posted by Rouben Malayan:
What a lame people they are.
You are right. I am not satisfied yet with what they've told me. However, I do understand now that they simply worked by the book as you yourself said in one of your postings. In my second mail I hope to find out more. Let's just be patient and wait what comes out.
Posted 01 June 2002 - 01:16 PM
(Excuse me for my bad English )
To gemeente Assen
t.a.v. H.D. Werkman
9401 JW ASSEN
<my town>, 31 mei 2002
Respected sir/madam Werkman,
I would like to thank you for your quick reply to my e-mail of May 25.
The reading of your decission on the Objection paper of the Turkish Islamic Cultural Society of november 22 2000 brings on new questions. So now I would like to read the actual Paper of Objection of the Turkish organisation and as well as any other document that can contribute to a complete and correct picture. Therefore I want to ask you, if possible, to send me the text of the Objection paper as well as of any other relevant documents like the Advice of the Advice Committy for Objection and Appeal or any other relevant correspondence. "If possible", because I don't know to what extent Laws or Regulations for protection of privacy could make it impossible for you to grant my request. In that case of course I will understand.
From what I've been able to read sofar it seems to me that the City of Assen sofar delt with the issue in a good manner. Of course I am happy about that. However, that does not take away that in my opinion the original inscription of the Armenian monument in Assen should have been maintained because it is the truth, eventhough certain groups experience it as ‘insulting’. We are in the Netherlands and it should not be possible here that things such as human rights, human dignity, democracy, truth, justice and freedom of speach are being be violated, taken away, threatened, twisted, ignored or obstructed. The Armenian Genocide really happened. For this sufficient evidence exists. It is only a matter of time and walking the right roads, but recognition will happen in the end. However, the fact that in the meantime the Armenian community in the Netherlands has to deal with such difficulties when wanting to commemorate their murdered ancestors in all peace and dignity is a terrible thing. That it can be so that the Armenians in the Netherlands cannot freely speak the truth, but have to ‘watch their words’….
As for the use of ‘inflammatory’ words on banners I wonder who decides what is 'inflammatory'? Is this decided by Law? Do you as City decide this, independantly of what is going on? Or is it just a matter of how ‘certain groups’ are expected to react (in other words: if possible trouble has to be avoided)? In this last case ‘certain groups’ will be given room to ‘pressure’, which does not seem a good thing to me. Can you clear this up for me please?
I understand that you are working according the book. Agreements were made with the april 24 committy. You may expect them to keep their part of the bargain, rightfully so. But what if the committy would not have agreed to your request to not use certain words? Would the City of Assen have allowed a demonstration? If no, maybe the committy was left no choice and one could ask oneself if the City’s request in fact is ‘right’. Also on this I would like to receive your comment. In case your decission in this matter is depending on City Regulations I am also interested in getting to know their content.
Finally I want to add that I don’t (yet) have any connection with organisations or individuals that have played a role in the here mentioned Armenian-Turkish matter. Simply put I am just an interested Dutch who would like to get to the bottom of this because the Armenian Cause lies close to her heart.
With friendly greetings,
I did not yet have time to translate the City’s decission on the Objection paper of the Turkish Islamic Cultural Society. It consists of several page of the type of Dutch language that is hard for me to translate. So it will take a while.
[ June 01, 2002, 02:25 PM: Message edited by: Aghtchik ]
Posted 01 June 2002 - 04:16 PM
(Mr. R. is the Armenian from Assen, the initiator for the monument; mr. S. is his mr. R’s legal counsil.)
So the following text is addressed to the Turkish Islamic Cultural Society Assen
Based on your objection, the advice of the committy (advice committy for Objection and Appeal papers) and the comments of mr. S. we reconsidered the disputed decission. When reconsidering we have to find out if there is reason to revoke the disputed decission. As far as needed a new decission should be taken instead. At reconsideration we did not find cause to revoke the granted decission. On certain issues we come to a different judgement then the committy (advice committy for Objection and Appeal papers). We motivate our decission as follows.
In your objection you first of all suggest that we would not be authorized to, based on article 3, first part, of the Regulation for regulation of use and control/maintainance of the general cemetary "De Boskamp" in the City of Assen, hereafter to be named "the Regulation", grant permission for the placing of a monument. This, because the meant stone is not being placed on or near a grave.
We are, as the advice committy for Objection and Appeal papers, of opinion that we are authorized to grant permission to put up such a monument. For motivation we refer to the advice of the advice committy for Objection and Appeal papers on this issue. In the disputed decission we already went into this. This objection is not cause to adjust the decission on this part.
A second objection from your side purports, because there are no historical relations what so ever between the Turkish history and the City of Assen, that it would be absurd to grant permission for the monument, based on the fact that the initiator lives in Assen. Your opinion we can not underscribe. There is no, in the policy papers fixed policy which shows that for the erection of such a monument at a general cemetary as "De Boskamp" there should be a historical relation with the City. Also in the past there were no comparable requests on which was decided. Clear reasons for denial therefor are lacking. Also with this part we join the advice of the advice committy for Objection and Appeal papers. For further motivation we refer to the advice of the advice committy for Objection and Appeal papers on this issue. Moreover we are planning to soon establish a policy for the placing of monuments in public areas. Also we want to actualize the Regulation. These intentions however are not reason to renew the disputed decission. Namely there are policy intentions that still have to enter the process of decission forming. The reconsideration where we are at now makes it necessary to decide based on the existing Laws and regulations and to the background that there is not yet a fixed policy on this issue. Further we have to consider the diverse interests, of which expectations that were created for the permit holder.
JUDGMENT POLICY FREEDOM
Furthermore you point out that you find it unacceptable that a place where ancestors are commemorated, is being disfigured by a political statement. Besides that you suggest that despite of the adjusted text on the stone, it clearly refers to the supposed holocaust. These arguments and objections we already weighed while taking the disputed decission.
Also the view that you put forward on May 6 2000 in the frame of the public preparing procedure went into this issue. The advice committy for Objection and Appeal papers judged that the preparing regarding the realisation of the disputed decission was carefully done. Also on this issue we agree with the advice committy for Objection and Appeal papers.
De committy advises under the title 'weighing of interests' further to when reconsidering revoke the granted decission and to grant a new permission under certain conditions.
In this advice we cannot follow the committy.Your objections in contents for the greater part are equal to your view that we had weighed when taking the disputed decission.
The committy in fact points out that the disputed decission is correct, but there are reasons to now, while reconsidering, decide otherwise. A careful analyses of the situation when making the disputed decission therefore is necessary. Now we have received far more new Objection papers, compared with the periode within which views could be filed. But this did not show us new facts or circumstances that could be reason to revoke our decission of July 4 2000.
The committy advances that we initially wanted to ‘frame in’ the application of mr. R. That is correct. It led to a different format stone and a different text. The decission on the application relates to concessions that mr. R. was willing to make. The disputed decission is the establishing of what could be reached in mutual consultation. This was confirmed by the permit holder during the hearing of the committy on september 19 2000. The endspeech of mr. R. is displayed in the report as follows:
"Finally mr. R. points out that he already has made many concessions: the text was adjusted, the stone made smaller and the erection prosponed. The only thing he wants is to commemorate his ancestors in peace. He already contacted the Turkish society more than once to reach consensus together. All of this was not sufficient, he is not willing to make more concesions."
In our opinion the committy too much passed this point of view.
Furthermore at reconsideration we have to bring in some facts and circumstances, that occurred after the committy brought out her advice. In our opinion some of these facts put the advice in a different light. Therefore for us there is no basis to completely follow the advice of the committy. In this we base ourselves on the following.
The space that was hoped for, for the overcoming of oppositions in your direction does not exist with mr. R. De view of mr. S (counsil mr. R.) of november 7 2000 also confirms this. With this also is suggested that the text from the memo of july 1 2000 concerning the first ‘mark’ would be incorrect, while formulation at the second ‘mark’ is pictured as unfortunate. In contrary to mr. S.'s reaction we remain of the opinion, that we mark the application of mr. R. as his personal initiative. He is the applicant, he personally signed the application. The conditions, on which the head of the department ‘wijkbeheer’ advices positively, all are related to the person of mr. R. Therefore he is responsible for the careful implementation of the granted permit. He personally is to be addressed to, when conditions are not lived by.
The drawn conclusion by the committy that the text of the memo suggests approval of mr. R. is therefor in the meanwhile contradicted. The conclusion that the committy moreover draws about the to the person of mr. R. related monument herewith lacks a factual basis. Further advising of the committy to important extent is based on assumption, that so turned out afterwards does not give a basis to draw those following conclusions. In this reconsideration we therefore have to put this advice of the committy aside.
Something else is whether ‘in the frame’ of the ability to overcome oppositions it would have been wonderful if we would have been able to reach more. The optimal reachable however is not always reachable. Here we bump into the lines that mr. R. draws. We cannot decide those lines one sided. If we would go and do that we could come in conflict with the freedom of speach as established in article 7 of the Constitution.
This was the first part of the translation. The rest will follow asap.
By the way, this is more a Dutch type of English. I hope it will be understandable nevertheless.
[ June 01, 2002, 05:41 PM: Message edited by: Aghtchik ]
Posted 02 June 2002 - 07:28 AM
To be judged is indeed whether the limits set by mr. R. can be seen as reasonable. In our opinion the not wanting to go beyond what has been agreed on in the disputed decission from the point of view from the applicant is a reasonable and realizable standingpoint. In other words the limited text on the monument, originating from how it is seen by the applicant, has a wider tendency than only the direct personal ancestors of mr. R. in Assen. While making the disputed decission we already came back from the request of january 25 1999 to the final decission to grant permit on july 4 2000 to the person of mr. R. to commemorate Armenian ancestors from the periode 1910-1920. With the disputed decission we had already carefully weighed that views on the history are different. The interest of the applicant to be able to commemorate ancestors within Armenian circle for us weighs heavier than feelings of disquiting about that in Turkish circle. The circumstance that you again have brought in your opinion does not mean that we now come to a different judgment. We refer to our argumentation in the disputed decission, which exactly shows our position. We find that with respect to the moment at which we took the disputed decission there are no changes that justify the change of a standingpoint. Towards the permitholder it would be unreasonable to revoke the permit on this basis.
With this the question is still open whether conditions of use should be connected to the granted permit. First of all we determine that mr. S's comment of november 7 2000 leaves room for making arrangments about the order problem. For the time being we feel this is sufficient. Apart from that agreements are already made. We refer to the report of a conversation on april 3 2000. Also the articles 37 and 41 of the Control regulation on "De Boskamp" withholds obligations. We will also make further arrangments about procedures and put them in writing. We judge our authority regarding the Regulation somewhat different than the committy. Namely article 26 looks upon estethic aspects, article 41 upon order that unveiling of a monument may not be of any disturbance, for example because at the same time a funeral would be going on. Nevertheless it is a good thought to, starting from the possibilities of the Regulation and authorities of the Major in respect of the public order of the City Law and the Law on public manifestations, come to a "kaderstelling" (fixed frame?). This we see seperately from the granted permit.
From the various contacts at administrative level for us it was sufficiently plausible that also the family of mr. R. belongs to the victims of the periode 1910-1920. After the hearing this issue was repeatedly officially required after. Comfirmation was obtained of the picture that these victims are mainly situated in the line of the father of the mother of the applicant. Further investigation such as is advised by the committy of Objection and Appeal paper we dont find necessary.
Based on the above we draw the following conclusions.
1. we see no new facts, arguments or cirucumstances that make it necessary to at reconsideration based on article 7:11 of the "Algemene wet bestuursrecht" revoke the disputed decission. We maintain our decission of juli 4 2000.
2. For as far as the committy finds that the permit holder withdraws himself from opinions and statements that our "college" thinks to be desirable, it is our opinion that our decission on permit application is clear and that statements in word and writing are the responsability of the permit holder. On this the City has little influence. The statements known to us do not form reason to revoke and change the granted permit.
3. The Regulation offers few point of contacts (starting points?) to tie regulations regarding public order to the permit. The existing possibilities will be used. Also the major if necessary will put in use other instruments available to regulate the public order. (Procedural) Arrangements will be made with the permit holder.
4. We find your objections ungrounded.
Signed by the major and the secretary of the City of Assen.
Posted 02 June 2002 - 10:17 AM
It's the letter from the City of Assen to the april 24 committy about "the course of the demonstration on April 24 2002", which led to the reply of the committy as was posted here by Rouben.
Assen City Hall
9401 JW ASSEN
tel. 0592 - 366911
April 24 Committee,
Mr N.S. Sipaan (Sepoyan)
2574 VS DEN HAAG
Assen, Date: 2 May 2002.
Sent on: 0 2 MAY 2002
Subject: course of the demonstration on April 24 2002.
Dear Mister Sipaan,
We would like to bring to your attention a number of aspects related to the course of the demonstration on April 24 2002. At several moments during the demonstration agreements were not met. We find that disappointing and these observations will certainly play a role in the judging of a possible similar request in the future by your organization.
In general we can conclude that the demonstration did not cause any disruption of public order and security. The security service was clearly visible with the help of red arm bands. We assume that the parking facilities on the Veemarktterrein were satisfactory. We do have to state that not all participants were aware that the Veemarktterrein was the meeting and departure place. Approximately 20 participants parked elsewhere and had to be redirected to the Veemarktterrein by staff members of the City Hall.
On the Veemarktterrein the police noted that certain texts on the banners were inflammatory and offensive. The police addressed this to you and informed that the inflammatory and offensive texts should be removed from the banners. On April 19 2002 we made clear agreements on this. You then said that banners would be carried along, but that they would not include inflammatory or offensive texts.
We had agreed with you that references to Turkey, or the Turkish government, would be seen by us as such and would therefore not be allowed. Unfortunately, based on our agreement, the police was compelled to intervene.
A number of participants has qualified the removal of inflammatory and offensive texts as 'censorship'. Assen municipality rates freedom of speech very highly. There was no sign of censorship here, but the not complying with agreements. Unfortunately this had to be set straight.
On April 19 2002 you indicated that no folders would be distributed. This was however the case. During the demonstration folders entitled "Don't let Hitler have his way" were handed out. The distribution of folders is not a problem, only we would have liked to have heard about it. We could've then made the same agreements as with the banners.
After the presentation of the petition to the Mayor you said that the demonstration had ended and that everyone was free to leave. That too was not in the agreement. The agreement was that together, escorted by the police, you would return to the Veemarktterrein. However you did not choose for the same route, namely identical to the one that brought you here. Instead you walked via the Noordersingel. We had made clear agreements on that. In relation to the market on the Noordersingel and the accessibility of aid and relief services, such as the fire brigade and ambulances, you wouldn't use it.
This was also the reason why we agreed with you to present the petition at the entrance of the City Hall's wedding hall. Some of the participants in the demonstration chose to call this location "misleading for the Armenian participants". Here also we would like to explicitly clarify that we had made an agreement on the location to present the petition. Apparently this mutual choice, possibly through inadequate communication or organization, was not understood by everyone.
We hereby assume that we sufficiently informed you. If you continue to have comments in relation to the demonstration or this letter, we would gladly see it in writing.
Mayor and aldermen of Assen,
on behalf of them,
head of department Administrative Legal Affairs,
Posted 02 June 2002 - 10:44 AM
- 1. Niemand heeft voorafgaand verlof nodig om door de drukpers gedachten of gevoelens te openbaren, behoudens ieders verantwoordelijkheid volgens de wet.
- 2. De wet stelt regels omtrent radio en televisie. Er is geen voorafgaand toezicht op de inhoud van een radio- of televisieuitzending.
- 3. Voor het openbaren van gedachten of gevoelens door andere dan in de voorgaande leden genoemde middelen heeft niemand voorafgaand verlof nodig wegens de inhoud daarvan, behoudens ieders verantwoordelijkheid volgens de wet. De wet kan het geven van vertoningen toegankelijk voor personen jonger dan zestien jaar regelen ter bescherming van de goede zeden.
- 4. De voorgaande leden zijn niet van toepassing op het maken van handelsreclame.
(1) No one shall require prior permission to publish thoughts or opinions through the press, without prejudice to the responsibility of every person under the law.
(2) Rules concerning radio and television shall be laid down by Act of Parliament. There shall be no prior supervision of the content of a radio or television broadcast.
(3) No one shall be required to submit thoughts or opinions for prior approval in order to disseminate them by means other than those mentioned in the preceding paragraphs, without prejudice to the responsibility of every person under the law. The holding of performances open to persons younger than sixteen years of age may be regulated by Act of Parliament in order to protect good morals.
(4) The preceding paragraphs do not apply to commercial advertising.
[ June 02, 2002, 12:17 PM: Message edited by: Aghtchik ]
Posted 02 June 2002 - 10:58 AM
My most sincere admiration for your well balanced and coherent approach. Citizens democracy is exactly this you've shown us.
Posted 02 June 2002 - 11:00 PM
- 1. Het recht tot vergadering en betoging wordt erkend, behoudens ieders verantwoordelijkheid volgens de wet.
- 2. De wet kan regels stellen ter bescherming van de gezondheid, in het belang van het verkeer en ter bestrijding of voorkoming van wanordelijkheden.
(1) The right of assembly and demonstration shall be recognized, without prejudice to the responsibility of everyone under the law.
(2) Rules to protect health, in the interest of traffic and to combat or prevent disorders may be laid down by Act of Parliament.
[ June 02, 2002, 12:09 PM: Message edited by: Aghtchik ]
Posted 02 June 2002 - 02:23 PM
I am getting the impression though that demonstrations are not going to do the trick. From what I read demonstrations by Law must be anounced so that the City will have the opportunity to take measures regarding public safety and so on. And in this case that may very will be very necessary. In a country like Holland where 300.000 Turks will not like what the 5000 Armenians are trying to do, a lot of trouble can be expected. So naturally the local government will have tried to avoid that. Apparently certain agreements were made and the City expected the Armenians to keep their word. Whether the agreements such as 'no refering to Turks or the Turkish goverment' were based on reasonable requests is not the issue here now I think. The Dutch indeed go by the book (it is not for nothing that we have so little corruption in our country). The discussion about what is to be considered 'inflammatory' should have been held before, at the meetings during which the agreements were made. In fact some of these agreements should not have been made in the first place.
[ June 02, 2002, 03:27 PM: Message edited by: Aghtchik ]
Posted 02 June 2002 - 09:41 PM
Good work and very professional. I mean it.
Posted 02 June 2002 - 10:06 PM
Let me clarify for you why you are a treasure!
Freedom of speech is universal right and liberty, that is internationally recognized. As such it might be considered one of the basic human rights and liberties belonging to the category of the civil rights.
Whenever dispute arouses based on the truthfulness of a public statement or other public notice, the interested party (i.e. one that believes that his civil rights were abused) is entitled to take a legal action against the wrongdoer before the court. In most civil cases (such as this matter), the burden of prove lies with the petitioner . In other words, those who believe that their rights were violated should take the action, and prove unambiguously their claim.
In this case, if a poster or other printed material, that is publicly displayed says that Turks committed Genocide against their Armenian population, they are the ones in front of the court, that have to prove that there was not a Genocide, but something else.
As far as I know the Dutch legal system is partly based on the Common Law, as well as Continental Law, and of course the International Law.
There was similar case in Britain, when an English historian tried to refute the Jewish Holocaust. Legal action ensued and the respective Jewish organization won the case, thus creating a precedent – very valuable precedent.
Sorry for the late reply but this Hovhaness Kaletzogh yesterday was a bit too much....
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