France’s President Francois Hollande has instructed his government to draft a new law that would make it a crime to deny the 1915 Armenian genocide in Ottoman Turkey, a senior French diplomat said on Wednesday.
“In accordance with the president’s instruction, the French government … is working on the new bill that would address objections made by the Constitutional Council,” Jean-Francois Charpentier, the new French ambassador to Armenia, told a news conference.
Charpentier said the bill is being drafted by the French Ministry of Justice. But he could not say when it will be approved by the government and sent to the French parliament.
The parliament’s two houses already passed such a law in December 2011 and January 2012, a move that was orchestrated by Hollande’s predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy. France’s constitutional court subsequently struck it down as unconstitutional, however.
Hollande pledged to criminalize public denial of the Armenian genocide when he ran for president in 2012. He told leaders of France’s influential Armenian community at the time that the new bill should be drafted with “utmost legal security” that would satisfy the French Constitutional Council.
Charpentier noted that Hollande reaffirmed that pledge in Paris last April while commemorating the 99th anniversary of the deaths of some 1.5 million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. The envoy also confirmed that the French president will visit Armenia next April to attend official ceremonies marking the 100th anniversary of the genocide.