Sunday 25 February 2018

Clooney's appeal in Armenia 'genocide' case fails

Amal Clooney presented Armenia’s appeal to the ECHR
Amal Clooney presented Armenia’s appeal to the ECHR

Raziye Akkoc

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that a Turkish politician had the right to deny that a massacre of Armenians in 1915 was a genocide.

The court said that when Dogu Perincek said the "Armenian genocide is a great international lie", he should not have been found guilty of racial discrimination in Switzerland.

The ECHR judges said that denying the genocide was not an attack on the dignity of individuals in the Armenian community, overruling an Armenian appeal presented in January by Amal Clooney.

Ms Clooney accused Turkey of hypocrisy during a hearing at the Strasbourg court's 17-member Grand Chamber.

Mr Perincek, chairman of the Turkish Workers' Party, made his comments about the genocide of up to 1.5 million Armenians - a fact Turkey disputes as well as the number of those killed - in Switzerland in 2005.

A lobby group filed a criminal complaint against him as it is against Swiss anti-racism laws to deny the genocide. Mr Perincek was found guilty of racial discrimination in 2007 in Switzerland. He exhausted legal routes in Switzerland to appeal the judgment and in June 2008, he lodged an application to the ECHR complaining that his freedom of expression was breached.

In December 2013, the ECHR agreed with Mr Perincek and said his conviction was "unjustified".

In January, Armenia challenged the ECHR's verdict and was represented in the case by lawyers from Doughty Street Chambers in London. Lawyer Amal Clooney - who is married to Hollywood star George Clooney - presented Armenia's case.

Irish Independent

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