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050521 - judicial definition of the crime of genocide, which would not specifically


Brussels, Belgium - In the next few days, the Belgium Senate will examine
draft law #51/1284, which would expand the genocide denial offence.
The draft law approved earlier by the House of Representative is based upon
a judicial definition of the crime of genocide, which would not specifically
sanction the denial of the Armenian Genocide. The House version was enacted
prior to the establishment of the relevant international jurisdiction. The
issue has come to prominence recently due to the numerous instances of
Armenian Genocide denials taking place in Belgium.

Responding to these Armenian Genocide denials, nearly half of the members
of the Senate are seeking to consider this law and examine amendments aimed
at extending penalties to the denial of genocides recognized Belgium
federal legislative bodies and by European legislative institutions. In
this context, we firmly denounce the openly denialist position publicly
taken by the Socialist Party (PS).

The PS, hiding behind the past recognition by the Senate of the Armenian
Genocide, has indirectly indicated that its will not support these
amendments, "it is out of question to disrepute in a penal law the
important notion of genocide."

The PS argued that "to take legal actions in our courts, a consensus is
required among the international community on the qualification of
incriminated facts. This consensus of the international community has to
go beyond resolutions without juridical significance taken by national or
European Assemblies. If not, we would take the risk to trivialize the
horrible meaning of the Jewish genocide undertaken by a modern State."

This statement cynically concluded that the House of representative draft
law could be applied "to the Armenian Genocide when it is recognized by an
appropriate body."

It appears to us that the PS position was imposed by the Turkish state, in
furtherance of its policy of questioning the reality of the Armenian
Genocide through the use of trivialization and rationalization.

We also hold that the PS, in making comparisons to the Holocaust, has
reduced itself to the base level of arranging a hierarchy of suffering,
spuriously ranking victims in order importance. In sharp contrast to the
views of the PS, we reaffirm the fraternal solidarity between the victims
of all genocides.

We consider moreover that the PS position, in seeking to neutralize the
decisions of Belgium's democratic institutions, undermines our democratic
process, especially within the Belgium Senate. We blame, as well, the
schizophrenic attitude of the PS, which discredits itself by repudiating
its previous positions on this very issue.

We denounce the transparent demagoguery and narrow motivations of the PS,
which has become obsessed with chasing the Turkish vote in the Brussels
areas, and has been infiltrated at the highest level by notorious
deniers. In this regard, we denounce the efforts to the PS to protect its
ability to engage in genocide denial by seeking to block the enactment of
legislation that would outlaw this hateful practice.

Finally, we believe that the PS is wrong in reducing a profound moral issue
to crass electoral considerations by enlisting the support of a fringe
element of genocide deniers that have have neither respect for Belgium or

We call upon human rights organizations, the Centre pour l’égalité des
chances, the members and the organization of the Common Socialist Action,
the organization representing the victims of genocide, and especially the
Jewish, Armenian and Tutsi organizations and civil society to demand that
PS issue a public apology and adopt a position consistent with its
socialist legacy and European values.

For immediate release
May 20, 2005
Contact :Talline Tachdjian
Tel :+322 732 70 26


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