[UPDATE: I originally misread the story and thought the law had been enacted; but, as a commenter pointed out, the bill just passed the National Assembly, and still requires consent by the Senate — I’ve revised the post accordingly.]
According to the AP,
French lawmakers easily passed a measure Thursday to make it a crime to deny the mass killings of Armenians in 1915 by Ottoman Turks amounted to genocide….
An estimated 500,000 Armenians live in France and many have pressed to raise the legal statute regarding the massacres to the same level as the Holocaust by punishing denial of genocide….
France formally recognized the killings as genocide in 2001, but provided no penalty for anyone denying that. The bill sets a punishment of up to one year in prison and a fine of euro45,000 ($59,000) for those who deny or “outrageously minimize” the killings by Ottoman Turks, putting such action on a par with denial of the Holocaust….
Turkey insists the mass killings of Armenians — up to 1.5 million, historians estimate — occurred during civil unrest as the Ottoman Empire collapsed, with losses on both sides. Historians contend the Armenians were massacred in the first genocide of the 20th century….
So denying the Holocaust has been a crime. Now this bill would make it a crime to state that the killings of Armenians weren’t genocide, apparently by analogy to the Holocaust denial laws. If this bill passes, what other claims about history, and characterizations of historical events, could be criminalized in the future, by analogy to this new prohibition? (For an example of an earlier case in which historian Bernard Lewis was held civilly liable in France for his statements about the killings of the Armenians, see here.)
Thanks to Ed Grinberg for the pointer.