The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that a Turkish politician had the right to deny that a massacre of Armenians during the Ottoman empire’s rule in 1915 was a genocide.
The court said that when Dogu Perincek said the “Armenian genocide is a great international lie”, he should not have been found guilty of racial discrimination in Switzerland.
The ECHR judges said that denying the genocide was not an attack on the dignity of individuals in the Armenian community, overruling an Armenian appeal presented in January by Amal Clooney.
Doğu Perinçek, chairman of the Turkish Workers’ Party, made his comments about the genocide of up to 1.5 million Armenians – a fact Turkey disputes as well as the number of those killed – in Switzerland in 2005.
Switzerland-Armenia, a lobby group, soon after filed a criminal complaint against him in July as it is against Swiss law to deny the genocide as part of the country’s anti-racism laws.
Mr Perinçek was found guilty of racial discrimination in 2007 in Switzerland because “his motives were of a racist tendency”, according to a later description of the case in an ECHR press release in 2013.