PARIS (RFE/RL) — The French Senate has effectively rejected a bill that would make it a crime to publicly say the World War I-era mass killings of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey did not constitute genocide.
The bill — which was drafted by lawmakers from the opposition Socialist Party — was adopted by the French lower house, the National Assembly, in 2006 amid vehement protests from the Turkish government. But it also needs to be passed by the Senate, parliament’s upper house, in order to become law.
The French-Armenian community has for years been trying to push the bill through the Senate, which is dominated by supporters of President Nicolas Sarkozy. The effort has faced tacit resistance from the government.
Spokesman Francois Baroin said on May 4 that the government did not support the draft law co- sponsored by three dozen Socialist senators.
He said existing French legislation already allowed the state to counter public denials of what it has declared was a genocide against Armenians.
Baroin said France recognized the Genocide with a special law adopted in 2001. “France continues to believe that [genocide] denialism is unacceptable in any form,” armenews.com quoted him as saying.