In December 2013, the ECHR ruled that Swiss government violated the freedom of expression of Doğu Perinçek in a case opened by a Swiss local court due to 'conscious violation of Swiss laws against genocide denial.'
The case was a result of Perinçek's description of the Armenian genocide as an 'imperialist lie' at a demonstration in Lausanne on 25 July 2005.
The ECHR had finally ruled in favor of Perinçek in October 2015, denying allegations of racial discrimination and evaluating his comments about the 1915 events surrounding Armenians within the framework of 'freedom of speech.'
Perincek speaking at the press conference highlighted the outcomes of these decisions in the aspect of the legislation activities in Europe and particularly in Switzerland.
Highlights from Perinçek's speech in the Consulate General of Turkey in Zurich
Dear Representatives from the Swiss and European Media,
First, we would like to thank General Consulate of the Republic of Turkey in Zurich for giving us the opportunity to address the media here.
Dear Members of the Media,
We became acquainted in the 11 years we passed through. At the end of this long process, we have now met at a common point that we all share. The European tradition of freedom, especially the Freedom of Expression has prevailed. This victory is also approved by the recent final decree of the Swiss Federal Court that removes the conviction verdict on me. This is a common success for all of us.
Second Chamber of ECHR, Grand Chamber of ECHR and the Swiss Federal Court have stated the following in a short statement with their binding decisions:
1. Genocide is a crime.
2. The crime of Genocide has been defined clearly on the United Nations Convention of Genocide in 1948.
3. Only the courts of jurisdiction may decide on existence of the crime of genocide. These courts are the authorized courts of the country where the related crime occurred, or the International Court of Justice at the Hague.
4. There is no court decision stating the crime of genocide is committed in the incidents of 1915.
5. The incidents of 1915 cannot be considered in the same context with the Jewish genocide called the Holocaust. Because the existence of the Holocaust is determined by a court verdict.
6. The Supreme Court decisions stated above have determined indirectly that the incidents of 1915 cannot be legally interpreted as a genocide as well as securing the freedom of expression.
7. Doğu Perinçek has made the statement "Armenian genocide is an imperialist lie" repeatedly while taking care not to offend the Armenians, therefore he has not engaged in hate speech.
Let us emphasize this once again:
These seven points reflect the summary of the ECHR and Swiss Federal Court decisions. The international legal precedence that is formed by these decisions are now well-accepted in academic circles as well.
Thanks to the decisions of the supreme courts, a consensus is formed in academic platform. Post-graduate lectures, seminars are presented, stimulating studies are produced and published on the Perinçek-Switzerland Case in Swiss universities, mostly in University of Zurich and University of Fribourg, German universities like Augsburg, Frankfurt Viadrina, Bonn and Dresden, French universities like Paris and Champaigne and other academic circles of Europe. These studies evaluate the court precedences positively.
It is now time to fulfill political duties.
In this context, we salute the initiative brought in the agenda of Switzerland for success of the State of Law. The motion of Member of the Swiss National Assembly, Geneva MP Mr. Yves Nidegger and his colleagues contribute positively to the process we are going through. Mr. Nidegger and his colleagues made a motion to the National Assembly for annulment or amendment of paragraph 4 of Article 261 of the Swiss Criminal Code referring to the Perinçek - Switzerland Case of ECHR. According to the motion:
"The statement of genocide must be removed completely or amended as follows: 'The act of genocide sentenced by a decision of the Authorized International Supreme Court is punished'."
Therefore, no court in Switzerland will be able to produce arbitrary decisions stating that the crime of "denial of genocide" is committed. Since there is no "genocide" verdict on the incidents of 1915, no one can be blamed anymore claiming "denial of Armenian genocide".
This whole process proved that the decision taken by the Swiss National Assembly on December 16, 2003 has no legal basis. That decision, as can be remembered, recognized the Armenian Genocide.
The said Decision of the National Assembly conflicts with the United Nations Genocide Convention of 1948. Because, according to the Convention,parliaments cannot decide on existence of the crime of genocide, only the authorized courts can.
On the other hand, that decision casts a shadow over the traditional friendship between Switzerland and Turkey.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The success we achieved with the decisions of ECHR and the Swiss Federal Court belongs to all of us. This legal achievement belongs to all enlightened Europeans who are loyal to reality.
Europe's legacy of Human Rights is alive and valid.
We would like to take this opportunity to wish a happy new year to our friends, the Swiss nation and we also wish for new achievements in Swiss-Turkish friendship.
Click on the image to read the statement in German
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