ISTANBUL (Daily Sabah) — The Supreme Court of Switzerland has overruled its judgment of Dogu Perinçek, a prominent Turkish politician and leader of the Vatan Party, over his conviction for denial of the Armenian genocide in 2005 in Switzerland. The decision came after the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled in favor of Perinçek in October 2015, denying allegations of racial discrimination and evaluating his comments about the 1915 event surrounding Armenians within the framework of “freedom of speech.”
The court also reversed his judicial fine and ruled that he will receive compensation in the form of 2,500 Swiss Francs ($2,560) from the Federal government and Switzerland-Armenia Association.
“This is victory won after an 11-year struggle,” Perinçek said to Daily Sabah, mentioning his long struggle with the Swiss Federal government that started after his denial of Armenian Genocide claims in 2005.
Perinçek said that the most important point of the court’s decree over the decision is the statement that cites the ECHR’s decision and says “The state’s court cannot rule for such a genocide case. This kind of verdict can only be given by either the International Criminal Court (ICC) or by the court of the state where the crime is committed.” Perinçek mentioned this statement as a possible landmark for other countries that accepted the claims of “Armenian genocide.” “Since the beginning, the issue has been discussed incorrectly worldwide as well as in Turkey, and that is whether the genocide really took place or not. This is a wrong perception. The important thing is, any court, like the Swiss Supreme Court ruled, cannot serve as a verdict for such a decision. This is an issue that can be discussed by historians alone,” Perinçek added.
He said that even though the judicial process is over, now another important political process is starting. “As the Patriotic Party (VP), we will be following up for the lifting of the decision taken by the Swiss Federal Parliament,” Perinçek said. He added that the first initiation was taken by Yves Nidegger, a deputy of the Swiss People’s Party, as he motioned the parliament for an amendment to Article 261, which rules criminal conviction for the denial of Armenian claims. “The motion by Nidegger differentiates between the holocaust and other genocidal claims and urges the courts to avoid making any decisions about those claims. If this motion is passed, we will also win the political phase of the process,” Perinçek concluded.
Perinçek was convicted by a court in Switzerland, where denying “Armenian genocide” is criminalized, for his remarks branding the genocide “an international lie” in that country. He had argued that the denial was in line with his freedom of speech and took the case to the ECHR.