European Court to deliver Grand Chamber judgment in case of Perinçek v. Switzerland

The case has been considered intermittently for about 10 years

Baku. 12 October. REPORT.AZ/ Forthcoming Grand Chamber judgment in the case of Perinçek v. Switzerland The European Court of Human Rights will be delivering a Grand Chamber judgment in the case of Perinçek v. Switzerland (application no. 27510/08) at a public hearing on Thursday 15 October 2015 at 11.45 a.m. in the Human Rights Building, Strasbourg.

Report informs citing the official site of ECHR, the case concerns the criminal conviction of a Turkish politician for publicly expressing the view, in Switzerland, that the mass deportations and massacres suffered by the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire in 1915 and the following years had not amounted to genocide. Principal facts and complaints The applicant, Doğu Perinçek, is a Turkish national who was born in 1942 and lives in Ankara (Turkey). He is a doctor of laws and chairman of the Turkish Workers’ Party. In 2005 Mr Perinçek participated in three public events in Switzerland, in the course of which he expressed the view that the mass deportations and massacres suffered by the Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire from 1915 onwards had not amounted to genocide. 

The Switzerland-Armenia Association lodged a criminal complaint against Mr Perinçek on account of the statement made at the first event. The investigation was later expanded to cover the two other statements as well. On 9 March 2007 the Lausanne District Police Court found him guilty of the offence under Article 261 bis § 4 of the Swiss Criminal Code, holding in particular that his motives appeared to be racist and nationalistic and that his statements did not contribute to the historical debate. The court ordered him to pay 90 day-fines of 100 Swiss francs each, suspended for two years, a fine of 3,000 Swiss francs, which could be replaced by 30 days imprisonment, and 1,000 Swiss francs in compensation to the Switzerland-Armenia Association for non-pecuniary damage. Mr Perinçek appealed against the judgment, seeking to have it set aside and additional investigative measures taken to establish the state of research and the positions of historians on the events of 1915 and the following years. 

The Criminal Cassation Division of the Vaud Cantonal Court dismissed the appeal on 13 June 2007. The Federal Court dismissed a further appeal by Mr Perinçek in a judgment of 12 December 2007. Mr Perinçek complains that his criminal conviction and punishment for having publicly stated that there had not been an Armenian genocide was in breach of his right to freedom of expression under Article 10. He also complains, relying on Article 7 (no punishment without law), that the wording of Article 261 bis § 4 of the Swiss Criminal Code is too vague.

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