SARKOZY WILL REDRAFT GENOCIDE BILL IN CASE OF COUNCIL REJECTION
- President Nicolas Sarkozy will immediately submit a new draft of a law punishing denial of the Armenian Genocide if France's top judicial body rejects it, two ministers stated, according to AFP.
"The president told us in cabinet that he would immediately submit a new draft if there is a rejection by the Constitutional Council" of a bill approved recently by the French parliament, said one of the ministers, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Another minister said Sarkozy had also criticized those in cabinet who had opposed the bill, saying they "did not see past the ends of their noses." He said a rejection of the bill by the Constitutional Council could open the door to questioning a law that penalizes denial of the Holocaust.
After being approved by the National Assembly and Senate, the law was put on hold Tuesday, January 31 after politicians opposed to the legislation demanded that its constitutionality be examined.
Two separate groups of French politicians who oppose the legislation - from both the Senate and the lower house - said they had formally requested the Constitutional Council examine the law. The groups said they each had gathered more than the minimum 60 signatures required to ask the council to test the law's constitutionality. The council is obliged to deliver its judgment within a month, but this can be reduced to eight days if the government deems the matter urgent.
Turkey reacted furiously last week when the Senate approved the law, which threatens with jail anyone in France who denies that the 1915 massacre of Armenians by Ottoman Turk forces amounted to Genocide. Ankara has already halted political and military cooperation with France and was threatening to cut off economic and cultural ties if the law took effect.
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- 1786 Birth in Moscow of Hovhannes Nazaryan, a public and cultural figure of the 19th century. He was a member of the court of the Russian Empire, and a State Adviser. (Died 1858, in St Petersburg).
- 1920 Opening of Armenia's State University in Alexandropol (since there was no convenient building in Yerevan). The first rector was Yuri Ghambaryan, Professor of Jurisprudence, who was also known in Europe.
- 1921 At a conference in London, England and France proposed the creation of Armenian National centers. The idea remained on a paper.
- 1927 Birth of Lusine Amara (Armaghanyan). She is an American-Armenian opera singer and a laureate of international competitions.