France: Denial of Armenian genocide may be a crime

October 12, 2006 12:44

French lawmakers on Thursday approved a bill making it a crime to deny that mass killings of Armenians in Turkey during and after World War I amounted to genocide. Deputies in the National Assembly voted 106-19 for the bill, which has prompted outrage in Turkey and embarrassed the French government. The issue has become intertwined with Turkey's efforts to join the European Union. The bill, which was introduced by the opposition Socialists, must still be passed by the Senate and be signed by President Jacques Chirac. France's minister for European affairs, Catherine Colonna, said just before the vote that the government did not look favorably on the bill. "It is not for the law to write history," she said in parliament. The French bill would recognize the killings of up to 1.5 million Armenians from 1915 to 1919 as genocide, and those who contest genocide would risk up to a year in prison and fines of up to €45,000 (US$56,000).

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