French Supreme Court Strikes Down Law Criminalizing Genocide Denial

This image shows Nicolas Sarkozy who is presid...

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The French Supreme Court has struck down a law prohibiting denial of the Armenian genocide and reaffirmed the French commitment to liberty.

The law would have punished a denial with up to a year in prison and a maximum fine of roughly $60,000.

The French council has concluded that such a law “infringed unconstitutionally on the exercise of the liberty of expression and communication.”

French President Sarkozy has vowed to redraft the law. The Constitutional Council suggested that some limitations could be placed on speech to protect privacy and public order, but that such limitations must be “necessary, adapted and proportional.” Pres. Sarkozy’s office seemed to latch on to the language and stated that, “The President of the Republic considers that (genocide) denial is intolerable and must therefore be punished.” What is intolerable, however, is using the criminal code to combat anti-historical speech as defined by the government. If government can define the “correct” history for citizens to recite, they can rewrite history.

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Filed under Crime and Punishment, International Justice, World

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