Oct 24 2015
The European Court of Human Rights violates my rights
Vicken Cheterian 24 October 2015
The EHCR has upheld the right of the Turkish politician Dogu Perincek
to deny the Armenian genocide. It's a bad decision with dangerous
On 15 October 2015, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) made a
controversial ruling: Switzerland had violated Dogu Perincek's right
to freedom of speech. Perincek is a Turkish politician who made a
series of provocative speeches in Switzerland saying there was `no
Armenian genocide'; this historical event in the Ottoman empire in
1915 and after was an `imperialist lie'. Swiss courts condemned him
under anti-racist laws. In its decision, the ECHR considered that the
Swiss courts had `censured (Perincek) for having simply expressed an
opinion divergent from those in Switzerland.'
The case of Perincek vs Switzerland concerned whether denial of the
Armenian genocide in Europe would be tolerated or penalised.The ECHR
opted for the former. It said that `it was not required to determine
whether the massacres and mass deportation suffered by the Armenian
people at the hands of the Ottoman Empire from 1915 onwards could be
characterized as genocide.' Elsewhere the court refers to the genocide
as `tragic events'.
By its decision, the European court has violated my right to justice.
Perincek was using the fundamental right to freedom of expression to
commit a crime; in fact, it was the latest act in a long chain of 100
years of crime without punishment, the negation of genocide. For in
talking about the Armenian genocide, we are not talking about the
past, about history, but about a crime that has continued to take
place. As many scholars have argued, denial is the last stage of
I argued in my recent book Open Wounds: Armenians, Turks, and a
Century of Genocide that Turkey's denial of the crime of genocide
allowed it to perpetuate its policy of victimising various groups that
it defined as undesirable: `agents of imperialism' and `minorities'.
That contrast with modern Germany, which has has fully assumed its
inherited responsibility regarding the Holocaust; today, denialism
comes only from marginal groups. Whereas in Turkey, the state
continues to deny its own responsibility.
The impunity given to the Turkish state made it possible to perpetuate
a culture of crime. Those Armenians who had survived the death marches
and the massacres during the first world war continued to be targeted
by the Turkish state; thousands who were able to return home after the
genocide fell victim to Kemalist massacres and new deportations
between 1921 and 1929; thousands of survivors were forced to convert
to Islam; Armenian property was confiscated by the state. The over
2,500 Armenian churches and monasteries were occupied, converted to
warehouses or prisons, or destroyed. Today, only thirty-five Armenian
churches remain in Turkey.
State repression targeted other groups as well: in 1934, pogroms
decimated the Jewish community of Turkey. More pogroms in September
1955 put an end to the Greek presence in Istanbul. Throughout the
Turkish republic, Kurdish identity was denied and Kurdish political
demands were violently repressed, a policy that continues to this day.
In Turkey, many intellectuals, journalists, and scholars suffer from
limitations of freedom of speech. The Turkish authorities harass
hundreds of journalists every year; a single example is the arrest in
early October of Bulent Kenes, the editor-in-chief of Today's Zaman, a
major paper whose editorial line opposed the party in power.
But Perincek himself is no martyr of free speech. When his trial
opened in Lausanne in 2007, he did not go alone: a delegation of 160
people flew with him on a chartered plane, including ex-generals and
politicians. One of the latter was Rauf Denktas, the former president
of the unrecognised republic of Northern Cyprus, the part of the
island under Turkish occupation since the 1974 invasion. In 2009, a
Turkish court convicted Perincek for his association with the
so-called Ergenekon, a secret organisation within the state that was
alleged to be preparing a coup against the elected government.
For a century, survivors of the Armenian genocide and their
descendants have struggled for justice. In 1965 there were massive
demonstrations in Beirut, Paris and Los Angeles demanding both
international recognition of the genocide and reparations. A decade
later, amid general international indifference, Armenian young people
became radicalised and some opted to launch violent attacks. The
decade of terrorism was followed by Armenian diaspora communities in
democratic countries using legal means to obtain recognition. Others
engaged with courts to demand symbolic justice in opposition to
Turkish state denialism. But only by overturning this official
denialism can appeals for real justice proceed.
The European Court of Human Rights' decision concerns not only
descendants of Armenian survivors, but all victims of crimes against
humanity. The court has sent the wrong message, by denying victims and
future generations the possibility of obtaining symbolic redress
through the courts.
If after 100 years I cannot obtain my rights by going to court, I beg
the judges to tell me where to turn to seek justice.
Turkish Politician Dogu Perincek Arrested...
Posted 26 October 2015 - 10:13 AM
Posted 27 April 2016 - 10:07 AM
Armenia has not lost the Armenian Genocide case at the European Court of Human rights, human right lawyer Amal Clooney said in an interview with the BBC.
“The case was brought to the Court by little known Turkish politician Dogu Perincek. He appealed against Switzerland, which found him guilty of denying the Armenian Genocide,” Clooney said.
She reminded that Armenia’s demands were in no way related to whether or not Perincek would incur criminal penalties. “Our objections of Armenia were related to the wording used in the case, implying the denial of genocide,” she said.
“For example, the Court was stressing the difference between the Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide, saying that the first one is provable, while the second is not. Our objective was to ensure that the Court refuse from using such wording in the Perincek case. And we won,” Amal Clooney said.
“When making the decision, a number of judges said the Court shouldn’t have considered the matter at all, as it has nothing to do with the case, but many agreed that there is proof of the Armenian Genocide. I respect Armenia’s position in this case. It was defending the freedom of speech, no one was saying Perincek had to be jailed,” the lawyer added.
“There are people of higher status than Perincek who have openly recognized the fact of the Armenian Genocide, the Pope, for instance. That’s why I don’t think they are particularly concerned by Perincek’s opinion,” Clooney added.
“On the other hand, Turkey also had something to say on the case, but that country has the worst freedom of speech record in the Council of Europe. I think people do not completely understand the case,” she noted.
“Neither Armenia, nor I as Armenia’s representative, stood against freedom of speech. We just wanted the Court to be precise, when considering the genocide case,” Amal Clooney concluded.
Posted 28 April 2016 - 09:51 AM
Azerbaijan slams Amal Clooney as Armenia’s secret weapon
17:42, 28 Apr 2016
Eurasianet – Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney’s April 26 remarks to
the BBC have hit a raw nerve in Azerbaijan, the ex-Soviet petrocracy
where her client, investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova, is kept
After Clooney described the political reasons for Ismayilova’s
arrests, the Azerbaijani government apparently did what it always does
when pressed on its human rights record — claimed a global Armenian
No matter if Clooney’s case at the European Court for Human Rights
involves an Azerbaijani journalist’s struggle against the Azerbaijan
state. Azerbaijan’s state propaganda will find an Armenian connection
even if there is none.
“Turns out that Armenia indeed has a weapon that we could not even
dream of… the ‘deadly weapon’ that Armenia is using against Azerbaijan
is the quite well-known, failure-of-a-lawyer Amal Clooney, née
Alamuddin,” Day.az sniped.
The smear campaign, waged loyally by Azerbaijan’s predominantly
pro-government mainstream media, comes shortly after Azerbaijan and
longtime archenemy Armenia fought a brief, so-called four-day war
earlier this month. The seemingly endless feud between the two
neighbors began after a bloody war in the late 1980s and early 1990s
over separatist Nagorno-Karabakh, which resulted in the eviction of
the enclave’s entire ethnic Azeri population.
For that reason, in Baku’s thinking, Clooney’s past role as a legal
advocate for the Armenian government before the European Court of
Human Rights make her highly suspect. Her support, and that of husband
George Clooney, for recognition of Ottoman Turkey’s slaughter of
ethnic Armenians as genocide only add to the suspicions. Turkey ranks
as Azerbaijan’s closest ally.
When Clooney said she was taking up Ismayilova’s case, Azerbaijani
media claimed that the British lawyer was of Armenian descent.
Clooney, who scoffed at the charges, is, in fact, of Lebanese
extraction, but Lebanon houses a large Armenian Diaspora. So, for
Baku, it all comes together.
“The Armenian diaspora must have some sort of trick prepared to use
that good-for-nothing lawyer,” opined Rizvan Huseynov, a researcher
with Azerbaijan’s National Academy of Science.
Azerbaijan’s pro-government media seemed particularly incensed with
Clooney’s recent attempt to rally support for Ismayilova’s case in
Washington. Clooney told the BBC that she believes international
pressure can help free the journalist, who has been serving a
seven-and-a-half-year sentence since late 2015 for alleged abuse of
power, tax evasion, illegal business activity and embezzlement.
“We know that diplomatic pressure can work on the [Azerbaijani]
government because what we had happened in the last month,” Clooney
said, referring to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s pardon of
internationally recognized political prisoners ahead of a visit to
Washington in late March.
In fact, Aliyev releases prisoners each year before Novruz, the
traditional Zorastrian New Year celebrated in Azerbaijan, but the
comment hit its mark.
Researcher Huseynov wrote in the pro-Aliyev News.az website that the
Armenians paid Clooney to go to Washington and set the White House and
Capitol Hill against Azerbaijan.
How far Azerbaijan’s pro-government hacks will go with this theme of
an international Armenian conspiracy remains to be seen, but
crossover PR tactics from the Karabakh fight should be expected.
Posted 04 January 2017 - 11:29 AM
Perinçek reiterated at the Zurich press conference his belief that “no court has ever considered the events of 1915 in Armenia to be considered genocide."(Keystone)
According to a report by Swiss newspaper NZZ, Perinçek – chairman of the Turkish Patriotic Party – claimed during Tuesday’s press conference at the consulate that recent terror attacks in Paris, Brussels, Berlin and Turkey have been “all steered from the same place: the US is behind these events".
He claimed that the US incited the attacks because it wants to divide Turkey and reject a strong Europe.
Perinçek also expressed support for a new initiative filed by Swiss parliamentarian Yves Nidegger, which requests a modification to the Swiss penal code that would strike out the mention of genocide, or at least require that it be “verified by a competent court.”
The proposed penal modification comes in the wake of a 2015 ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), which overturned a Swiss Federal Court ruling that Perinçek violated Swiss anti-racism legislation when he called the Armenian genocide “an international lie”.Speaking freely
Perinçek was officially acquitted by the European court in September of the racism charges, which were originally brought by a Lausanne district court in 2005 after he stated during three separate public events in Switzerland that the deaths of between 800,000 and 1,800,000 Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire between 1915 and 1918 did not constitute genocide.
After the district court’s decision was upheld by the Swiss Federal Court, an appeal to the ECHR ended in the ruling that the Swiss courts had violated Perinçek’s right to free speech.
The Swiss penal code currently states that those who “will deny, grossly minimise or seek to justify genocide or other crimes against humanity” shall be punished by imprisonment or a fine.
Posted 08 January 2017 - 10:35 AM
Perinçek, chairman of the Turkish Patriotic Party, first made headlines in 2005 when he said publicly in Switzerland on three different occasions that the mass killings of up to 1.8 million Armenians by Ottoman Turkish forces a century ago did not constitute genocide.
Turkey acknowledges that many Armenians died, but denies that this was an attempt to exterminate the Armenian people. It also says the death toll is inflated and that many others died in inter-ethnic violence at the time.
Swiss courts in 2007 convicted him of violating Swiss anti-racism law, which forbids denying, belittling or justifying genocide.
Perinçek appealed to the European Court of Human Rights, based in Strasbourg, which in September 2015 acquitted him of the racism charges and concluded a month later that Switzerland had violated his right to freedom of speech.
During a press conference on Tuesday at the Turkish consulate in Zurich, he shared his conspiracy theories about recent terror attacks in Europe, blaming the United States. He also expressed support for a proposal by Yves Nidegger from the rightwing Swiss People’s Party which requests a modification to the Swiss penal code that would strike out the mention of genocide, or at least require that it be “verified by a competent court”.
Gerhard Fiolka is professor of international criminal law at the University of Fribourg(zvg)
Gerhard Fiolka, a law professor at the University of Fribourg, responded to swissinfo.ch’s questions by email.swissinfo.ch: What do you think of the ruling by the European Court of Human Rights that denial of the Armenian Genocide falls under freedom of _expression_?
Gerhard Fiolka: The Court’s decision – which by the way passed by a only a very slim majority – is unconvincing in both its reasoning and conclusion. The Grand Chamber concluded that in a democratic society it was unnecessary to criminalise someone who denied the Armenian Genocide because there was no particularly close connection between Switzerland and the Armenian Genocide and because the events took place a while ago.
With its decision, the Court seriously interfered with states’ margin of discretion. Until now the Court had basically given states free rein when dealing with comments that were indecent or critical of religion, since the state authorities were best placed to judge which restrictions on freedom of _expression_ were necessary. In Europe, freedom of _expression_ is by no means understood to be unlimited, but the legal verdict contains various interventions in the freedom of _expression_.swissinfo.ch: Why does the European Court of Human Rights think the Armenian Genocide can be denied but the Holocaust cannot?
G.F.: The Grand Chamber believes that denying the Shoah [the Holocaust] is the _expression_ of an antidemocratic and anti-Semitic ideology and, as such, is dangerous.
I’m not convinced by that reasoning. Mere assertions are thus the basis of differentiating the Shoah and other genocides – a difference that objectively doesn’t stand up and that once again portrays the Jews as a special case.swissinfo.ch: Why didn’t Switzerland change its racism penal code following the Court’s ruling?
G.F.: Decisions by the European Court of Human Rights always establish a violation of basic rights in a specific case. A conviction does not necessarily let one draw conclusions in other cases or even legal norms. To this extent, it is certainly conceivable that violations of the freedom of _expression_ could be avoided by a narrower interpretation of the law.
In my opinion, changing the penal code is not an obvious solution. On March 3, 2016, the House of Representatives rejected a motion to cancel the penal provision. This indicates that there is currently no broad political consensus to change the provision.swissinfo.ch: What do you make of the proposal by Yves Nidegger, which requests a modification to the Swiss penal code that would strike out the mention of genocide, or at least require that it be “verified by a competent court”.
G.F.: I think such an amendment is wrong. Denying genocide is regularly traumatic for affected parties. So long as you can be prosecuted in Switzerland for saying that a sewing machine of a certain manufacturer is not technically up to date, it’s not fully clear to me why saying a genocide didn’t take place must remain exempt from punishment.
By limiting genocides to those which are acknowledged by competent international courts, the circle of potential genocides is seriously reduced. For example, while international tribunals exist for the genocides in Rwanda and Srebrenica, the Shoah was not covered by such a verdict. The trials in Nuremburg were not about the Shoah but about the leadership of a war of aggression and war crimes.
In addition, genocide is defined not only in the Swiss penal code but also in international treaties. To that extent, a Swiss judge is able without further ado to determine whether a specific historical fact is a genocide or not. Ultimately, it can’t be a question of whether someone – for example a parliament, a court, an oracle, a majority of television viewers – “recognises” an event as genocide, but whether the facts constitute genocide.swissinfo.ch: Why should lies be permitted, but not the denial of genocide. In other words, what is the point of the ban in the racism penal code?
G.F.: The denial of genocide traumatises the affected parties for a second time, making them victims again. Also, denial also often implies that the “alleged” victims want to cash in on a genocide myth, which directly affects the group’s reputation.
What’s more, genocide and crimes against humanity are serious offences which concern the interest not only of the affected individuals but also humanity as a whole.
Posted 08 January 2017 - 10:40 AM
Swiss professor: ECtHR ruling on Perinçek v. Switzerland case is unconvincing
The ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) on the case of Perinçek v Switzerland is unconvincing in both its reasoning and conclusion
Swiss law professor at the University of Fribourg, Gerhard Fiolka, told the aforementioned in an interview with swissinfo.ch.
In his words, with its decision, the European Court seriously interfered with states’ margin of discretion.
''In Europe, freedom of _expression_ is by no means understood to be unlimited, but the legal verdict contains various interventions in the freedom of _expression_,'' he said.
Fiolka is not convinced by the reasoning of the Grand Chamber that denying the Holocaust is the _expression_ of an antidemocratic and anti-Semitic ideology and, as such, is dangerous. According to him, ''mere assertions are thus the basis of differentiating the Shoah and other genocides – a difference that objectively doesn’t stand up and that once again portrays the Jews as a special case.''
''The denial of genocide traumatises the affected parties for a second time, making them victims again. Also, denial also often implies that the “alleged” victims want to cash in on a genocide myth, which directly affects the group’s reputation. What’s more, genocide and crimes against humanity are serious offences which concern the interest not only of the affected individuals but also humanity as a whole,'' the professor said.
In October 2015, the Grand Chamber of the EctHR rejected the claim of Switzerland, which had convicted leader of the Turkish Workers' Party, Doğu Perinçek, of denying the Armenian Genocide. Nevertheless, all the assessments calling into question the Armenian Genocide were removed from the former judgments of the court made in 2008.
- MosJan likes this
0 user(s) are reading this topic
0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users