Thursday, 19 November 2015
Paris, 5 November 2015
Our organization, Liberté pour l’histoire, our Association has welcomed with great satisfaction the judgement held by the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights, on the 15th of October 2015 on the so-called Perinçek case condemning the Swiss government for violation of freedom of expression for Dogu Perinçek.
During a conference in Switzerland, this Turkish citizen had denied that the Armenian massacres perpetrated in Turkey in 1915 and 1916 could be described as genocide and legally regarded as such. This judgment puts an end to any possibility of further appeal.
As historians and citizens, the members of Liberté pour l’histoire recall that they find perfectly legitimate to qualify the massacres committed by the Turks against the Armenians as genocide. What they have always rebelled against is the legal definition of genocide, with all the judiciary consequences it entails for historical research.In a free and democratic State, neither the Parliament nor the judicial courts have the right to define historical truth and restrict the freedom of research and expression under the threat of criminal penalties.
This judgment of an international court upholding the conclusions of the French Constitutional Council of 2012 seems to put an end to the attempts of intervention by the executive or legislative powers into characterizing the past. It is a victory for freedom on which our association can be proud to have largely contributed.