Criminal conviction for denying the Armenian genocide in breach with freedom of expression, Grand Chamber confirms

By Dirk Voorhoof *
 

fsdgOn 17 December 2013 the European Court of Human Rights had ruled by five votes to two that Switzerland had violated the right to freedom of expression by convicting Doğu Perinçek, chairman of the Turkish Workers’ Party, for publicly denying the existence of the genocide against the Armenian people (see our blogs on Strasbourg Observers and ECHR-Blog, 7 and 8 January 2014). The Grand Chamber has now, on 15 October 2015, in a 128 page judgment, confirmed, by ten votes to seven, the finding of a violation of Article 10 ECHR.

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Criminal conviction for denying the existence of the Armenian “genocide” violates freedom of expression

This guest post was written by Dirk Voorhoof*. The post is a shortened version of an original contribution by the same author, which first appeared on the ECHR Blog. It is reproduced here, in shortened version, with permission and thanks.

In Perinçek v. Switzerland, the European Court of Human Rights ruled on 17 December 2013, by five votes to two, that Switzerland had violated Doğu Perinçek’s right to freedom of expression by convicting him for publicly denying the existence of a genocide against the Armenian people. On several occasions, Perinçek – at the time chairman of the Turkish Workers’ Party – had described the Armenian genocide as “an international lie”. He had particularly insisted that whatever massacres had taken place did not meet the definition of genocide under international law.

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