On 15 October 2015, the Grand Chamber delivered its judgement in Perinçek v. Switzerland case. Notwithstanding some minor variations in reasoning, the outcome in the Grand Chamber is practically identical to the lower chamber. The Swiss criminal provision applied in the context of the denial of Armenian genocide was, thus, again found irreconcilable with freedom of expression under Article 10 ECHR. I have previously commented on the lower chamber judgement in a blog post entitled “Armenian Genocide versus Holocaust in Strasbourg: Trivialisation in Comparison”. On the one hand, I have overall welcomed the Court’s decision to protect freedom of speech against state censorship and instrumental memory politics. On the other hand, I have expressed scepticism about the unconvincing way the Court has coined a hierarchy between the Holocaust and the Armenian genocide. Such a hierarchy inevitably echoes sense of the symbolic injustice towards Armenian communities and schizophrenic governance of memory within the Council of Europe, where only Holocaust denial is exempted from the free-speech paradigm. Yet several aspects of the Grand Chamber’s judgement make the reasoning in Strasbourg even more controversial and require further scrutiny. In this short commentary, I offer a brief factual summary of the Perinçek case followed by a criticism of central findings by the Grand Chamber.
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