Amal Clooney is taking on her next big case, which is representing Armenia’s interests in a historic trial before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France. The case is an appeal of a 2013 ruling by the Supreme Court of Europe, in which the court decided that a Swiss law prohibiting the public denial of the Armenian genocide is a violation of freedom of speech. Clooney will attempt to refute testimony from countries like Turkey who still deny the genocide that was committed by the Ottoman Empire between 1915 and 1923 and that caused the death of 1.5 million Armenians. Amal was recently representing the 3 Al-Jazeera journalists arrested in Egypt and risked arrest for her positions.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and it’s about time Turkey recognizes the genocide and pays for its crimes!
Here’s the full transcript of the first court session taken from the Telegraph:
Amal Clooney, the human rights barrister, has accused Turkey of double standards on freedom of expression for defending a Turkish Leftist who described the Armenian genocide an “international lie”.
Mrs Clooney, who is representing Armenia on behalf of Doughty Street Chambers along with Geoffrey Robertson QC, said Turkey’s stance was hypocritical “because of its disgraceful record on freedom of expression”, including prosecutions of Turkish-Armenians who campaign for the1915 massacres to be called a genocide.
She took on the case against Doğu Perinçek, chairman of the Turkish Workers’ Party and an MP, who was found guilty of genocide denial and racial discrimination in Switzerland in 2007, but had his conviction overturned by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) after being defended by Turkey’s government.
The ECHR upheld his right to question in a “debate of clear public interest” and questioned if it was possible to define as a genocide, a policy of deliberate extermination, the massacres and deportations of Armenians by the Turks a century ago.
The human rights lawyer, who married George Clooney her Hollywood film star husband last September, accused the Strasbourg’s court’s human rights judges of being “simply wrong”.
“It cast doubt doubt of the reality of genocide that Armenian people suffered a century ago,” she said
“Armenia must have its day in court. The stakes could not be higher for the Armenian people.”
Switzerland has laws against the denial of all genocide as part of its anti-racism laws but the ECHR ruled that Mr Perinçek’s right to freedom of speech was violated when he was convicted as a criminal by a Swiss court for his claims.
In a December 2013 judgement, the European court concluded that there was not a “general consensus” that the massacres of Armenians had constituted genocide and that only 20 countries out of 190 worldwide classed it as such.
Only three European countries, Greece, Slovakia and Switzerland, ban the Armenian genocide denial. A French law was overturned on free speech grounds in the country’s constitutional court three years ago.
Speaking in Lausanne in 2005, Mr Perinçek had said that the legal definition of Armenian genocide was an “international lie”, but did not dispute that the killings and deportations had taken place.
Four and half minutes into her evidence of the historical record concerning events in 1915, including Ottoman Empire admissions of war crimes, the barrister was asked to conclude by the judges.
“Mrs Clooney may I draw your attention to the fact that the Armenian government has gone over the time allocated, so I ask you to conclude,” said Dean Spielmann, the president of the court.
She went on to insist that Armenia did not want to limit free speech or historical debate and accused Turkey of having double standards because of it’s own poor record on freedom of expression.
“Armenia is not here to argue against freedom of expression anymore than Turkey is here to defend it. This court knows very well how disgraceful Turkey’s record on freedom of expression is,” she said.
“You have found against the Turkish government in 224 separate cases on freedom of expression grounds.”
The Lebanese lawyer made a reference to Hrant Dink, the Turkish-Armenian newspaper editor, who was prosecuted by Turkey for arguing that the 1915 massacres were genocide.
Mr Dink was then assassinated by a Turkish nationalist in 2007 for his views and ethnicity as an Armenian.
“Armenia has every interest in ensuring that its own citizens do not get caught in a net that criminalises speech too broadly. As the family of Hrant Dink know about all too well,” she said.
In his evidence to the court, Mr Perinçek denied any motivation to incite hatred against Armenians, telling judges that he had been imprisoned for speaking up for one of Turkey’s other ethnic minorities, the Kurds.
“We are here for the liberty of Europeans,” he said. “Liberty for those who criticise the established status quo.
“I share the pain of Armenian citizens, you can not find a word of mine that expresses antagonism against them. I hold the great powers responsible for what happened in 1915. There should be no taboos for the right to speak.”
His arguments were dismissed by Armenia’s legal team which was supporting Switzerland in defending the “unshakable” conviction.
Geoffrey Robertson QC accused Mr Perincek of being an admirer of Talaat Pasha, one of the organisers of the Armenian genocide, a man he said was the “Ottoman’s Empire’s Hitler”.
Mr Robertson argued that the Turkish Left-wing nationalist had travelled Europe deliberately trying to provoke a conviction for genocide denial in order to “arouse his supporters in Turkey”.
“It was made by a man who only came to Switzerland in order to be convicted. That was his purpose. He went to Germany, France, at the end of the day he tried to go Greece to expostulate but was turned away. He is genocide denier forum shopper,” he said.
“He is an incurable genocide denier, a criminal and a vexatious litigant.”
Asked by the Telegraph about fevered speculation about what she would be wearing for the court appearance, Mrs Clooney laughed and pointed to her black barrister’s robes.
“I’m wearing Ede and Ravenscroft,” she joked, in a reference to the famous English company of legal robe makers and tailors since 1689.
Mr Robertson said he was was surprised at the rows of photographers when legal teams entered the court, which does not generally excite press attention or attract packs of photographers.
He said he was pleased that coverage of the case would focus attention on Mrs Clooney’s career as a lawyer rather than her private life as the wife of a film celebrity, Hollywood actor and director.
“It is not about white gloves or yachts. It puts the record straight, she is a human rights lawyer,” he said.
The best Shawarma place in Lebanon is going to the UAE and will open 6 outlets between 2015 and 2017. Boubouffe has signed an agreement with Addmind, the management group behind White, Indie, Iris and Caprice and will start by opening 3 outlets, 2 in Dubai and 1 in Abu Dhabi in third quarter of 2015.
I’ve been going to Boubouffe for more than 10 years now and it’s still the best Shawarma you can have in Lebanon, even though it’s a bit expensive. I prefer the Chicken over the Meat Shawarma and I advise you to try their “Lebanese” burger.
Sagesse was playing against Champville on Thursday and the score was 104-104 with 6 seconds left. Hekmeh player Terrell Stoglin took the ball and was dribbling towards the Champville basket when he was clearly fouled by a Champville player, but the referee somehow didn’t see the flagrant and obvious foul and gave the ball back to Champville with 3 seconds left. As a result, the game went to overtime and Champville ended up winning 138-130 after two overtimes.
Sagesse coach Fouad Abou Chakra was furious after this call and posted on Facebook that referee Adel Khoueiry is probably the only referee in the world that could deny such a foul, and he is somehow right because that’s the worst call and the worst-timed call I’ve seen in years.
Regardless whether Hekmeh won or lost the game, they have every right to file a complaint and the federation should investigate the bad call and keep this referee away from close and decisive games.
The judge in charge of Yves Nawfal’s murder has recommended the death penalty for six people and sentences ranging from three to 20 years for the others, before referring the case to the Criminal Court in Baabda. I know it’s still a bit early for the court’s final judgment but Yves’ killers will probably get the death penalty for what they’ve done.
Personally speaking, I’ve always been against capital punishment and I wish they would abolish it in Lebanon and replace it with a sentence for perpetuity. Taking away someone’s life as a punishment should not be a legal option, even if the murderer is a ruthless bastard. Killing Yves’ murderers won’t bring him back to life but instead give them publicity that they don’t deserve. Moreover, applying the death penalty can be arbitrary and politicized and you can’t undo a mistake once you discover a man has been executed for a crime he did not commit. Last week, a wrongly jailed man accused of the rape and murder of mother of four in the US got $6M award after he had spent 21 years in jail. All in all, I am sure there are many arguments against capital punishment, mainly ethical and religious one, but for me, killing should not be a way of punishment and that’s about it. Also, jailing someone for 20-30 years is a tougher punishment in my opinion that taking away his life.
A video spotted on Facebook showing a father beating his children violently – However I don’t understand how death penalty could be an answer to such an act.
Of course some may argue that there’s corruption everywhere in Lebanon, specially in prisons, and the only way to make sure murderers stay in prison or get punished is by executing them, but I am sure there are other means to do so. In all cases, Yves’ murderers deserve to stay in prison for a very long time and I hope they do.
A survey was conducted by Sakker el Dekkene in order to evaluate the attitude of Lebanese citizens towards corruption and their willingness to compromise on their principles and bribe officials. 7810 doors were knocked and 4873 persons were contacted to obtain a sample of 1200 respondents across the entire country and the results were as follows:
– 62% of the Lebanese population would not wait in line
– 25% of the population would certainly compromise on values and principles to reach material objectives.
– 38% of the population would go around a queue.
Corruption and Age:
– Youth are more willing to make compromising choices than older generations.
– 30% of those aged 55 and above admit that they would seek outside interference against a police officer doing his job.
– 62% of those aged 18 to 24 would call for interference against a law enforcement officer on duty.
Corruption and income level/political identity:
– 38% of the higher income level respondents say they will sure bribe to get a public servant’s signature to avoid delay (vs 16% of lowest income level).
– There’s no difference between political sides with regard to corruption
Perceived Corruption levels in public institutions:
– Only 14% of the population fully trusts the judiciary. When asked why, 64% of the respondents mentioned spontaneously political interference, and 49% mentioned corruption.
– 93% of the respondents consider corruption widespread at the port and 86% in the cadaster.
– The least corrupt institution is the Lebanese Army.
– Public opinion locates corruption in Port, Vehicle Registration, Cadaster, Ministry of Finance and the legal sector as top targets.
All in all, half the citizens are willing to report corruption, as long as it does not backfire on them, and as long as it leads to results. I think the most worrying figure is the fact that the younger generation is more willing to compromise on its principles. It is our duty to report bribes and put an end to corruption and Sakker el Dekkene is providing a platform to do so.
Check out their [website] and make good use of it.
I am sure you all opened that post to check out how someone can dance and smoke arguile at the same time, but the aim was to shed the light on a Facebook page “Sa2afetna” launched recently and aimed at bringing back our true culture and encouraging people to make a difference and share the stories that matter most. Of course it doesn’t hurt to share fun videos from time to time but the problem is when media rely on such videos and clickbaits to boost their views instead of creating proper content and sharing fun and silly videos from time to time.
Simon Badaoui dedicated his life to helping people since his early age and was a Lebanese Red Cross volunteer. Unfortunately, he was diagnosed with leukemia five years ago and an online fundraising campaign was started last year to cover all the expenses needed for his surgery and treatment. All of Lebanon supported Simon and the expenses were covered in few days only, but unfortunately Leukemia is not easy to fight and Simon died two days ago.