International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

Perinçek v. Switzerland

Currently in Strasbourg, France at the European Court of Human Rights Doğu Perinçek, a political activist from Turkey, is on trial against the government of Switzerland. In 2007, Perinçek was found guilty by a Swiss court for repeatedly denying the Armenian Genocide. This violates Switzerland’s anti-racism legislature. Perinçek brought the case to the European Court of Human Rights with the charges that the Swiss ruling infringed on his right to freedom of speech. In 2013, it was ruled 5-2 that Switzerland had violated Perinçek’s rights. The Swiss government appealed this decision and the court accepted the appeal. The trials are ongoing.

In class we decided that justice is so important partially because it recognizes the victims and perhaps bring peace to them. This is a contributing factor to why many European countries have outlawed genocide denial, particularly pertaining to the Holocaust. For the ECHR to allow Perinçek and others like him to deny the existence of a genocide that killed so many seems to be harmful to the process of reconciliation. Do you think that the denial of genocide should be illegal or is the ECHR correct in its ruling that freedom of speech should be protected?

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