Top French Court Throws Out Armenian Genocide Law

Posted February 28th, 2012 at 9:25 pm (UTC-5)
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France's top court has ruled that a controversial law making it a crime to deny the Armenian genocide at the hands of Ottoman Turks is unconstitutional.

The Constitutional Council wrote that the law violates freedom of expression.

French President Nicloas Sarkozy, who strongly supports the law, says he is disappointed. But he says he will draft a new bill that would take the court's decision into consideration.

Turkey is pleased with Tuesday's ruling. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu says it eases, for now, tensions between Turkey and France. He said he hopes France can contribute to a just settlement between Turkey and Armenia instead of deepening the rift.

The law would have brought a large fine and possible jail time to anyone who denied the Armenian genocide during World War One nearly 100 years ago.

Armenians and some historians say Ottoman Turks slaughtered more than 1 million of their ancestors in a deliberate campaign to wipe them out.

Turkey says the death toll is highly exaggerated. It says the Armenians and many others died during fighting between Turkish forces and Russian invaders.