“Armenian genocide is a great international lie” is one of the ideas repeatedly and respectfully pronounced by Doğu Perinçek, Swiss-based Turkish politician. For denying the historically established fact, he was accused under the Swiss law in 2007. He, being a lawyer, eventually applied to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) to appeal his judgement and the case was launched in 2015. During the court hearings, Amal Clooney, a barrister specialized in international law, became the representative of the third party, Republic of Armenia, as the case, according to the established order, proceeded between Perinçek and Switzerland.
For the notice of the reader, I would like to mention that ECtHR is divided into two parts, the Lower Court and the Grand Chamber, where the case of Perinçek v. Switzerland was transferred to. At the first instance, the Lower Court ruled in favor of Perinçek saying that Switzerland has violated his right of freedom of speech and that Armenian genocide is a matter without an opportunity to be proved or declined. However, Switzerland transferred the case to the Grand Chamber. Although the decision made was again in favor of Perinçek, Armenia, being represented by Amal Clooney, had its victory, as a third party, as well. Not only the court recognized that Armenian genocide is not a issue approved or disqualified by court, but also noted that Armenia and Armenian people should hold their right of protection against hate speech concerning their history, thus emphasizing the dignity of victims and of modern Armenians (Akkoc, 2015).
So, why should we care for this. Recently, I have conducted a small survey asking my relatives and friends whether they knew what had connected Armenia and Amal Clooney. Majority of them admitted being heard of such a connection, but only a few could recall the exact reasons for that. Taken this example and data, I thought that there are other people as well, who know something about Armenia and Amal Clooney but are never certain about what happened exactly. Undoubtedly, this is the case we should know, because it concerns our, nowadays Armenians’ dignity, refers to the interpretations Armenian genocide receives and clarifies how Western authorities and power structures accept and treat this fact. We should be aware of all the proceedings and activities held, somehow involving a denial or approval of Armenian genocide, because we are the people who get upset and offended when someone dares to say something inappropriate concerning our historical reality, but on our behalf, we are silent and “deaf” when real actions and decisions are taking place. I hope that the position of ECtHR will be an example for other authorities, lacking the necessary status, for considering their expressions and statement denying Armenian genocide and for us to know what is taking place to restore the justice in our history and in our Armenian society.
- Akkoc, R.(2015, Oct 15). Right to deny Armenian genocide upheld by European court in blow to Amal Clooney. The Telegraph. Retrieved from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/armenia/11933115/Right-to-deny-Armenian-genocide-upheld-by-European-court-in-blow-to-Amal-Clooney.html