Denial of Armenian genocide should be punishable: Dodik

27th December 2011, Comments 0 comments

Bosnian Serb political leader Milorad Dodik, who has staunchly denied the 1995 Srebrenica genocide, on Tuesday said he would seek to make denial of the disputed Armenian genocide illegal in Bosnia.

Dodik, the president of Republika Srpska, the Serb-run entity in Bosnia, said his party would "propose a law that would ban denial of the genocide committed against Armenians" in 1915, Fena news agency reported.

"We would like to enter into the circle of civilised countries, European and others, who have denounced this genocide. We will submit the draft to the (central) parliament in the coming days," Dodik said.

In 1915 and 1916, during World War I, many Armenians died in Ottoman Turkey. Armenia says 1.5 million were killed in a genocide. Turkey says around 500,000 died in fighting after Armenians sided with Russian invaders.

The issue has become an obstacle in Turkey's relations with western countries, notably France.

Paris had recognised the 1915 killings of Armenians as genocide and moved last week to adopt a law that would impose a jail term and a 45,000 euro ($60,000) fine on anyone in France who denied it, sparking a stormy reaction by Ankara and a deterioration in diplomatic relations with Turkey.

Dodik said "the genocide against Armenians was committed without a doubt and one-and-a-half million people were massacred."

However, the Bosnian Serb leader has staunchly denied that the July 1995 massacre in Srebrenica, in which some 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed by Bosnian Serb forces, could be qualified as a genocide.

The International Court of Justice, the highest judiciary body of the United Nations, ruled in February 2007 that the Srebrenica massacre was genocide.

Since the end of the war, Bosnia has been divided along ethnic lines into two entities, Republika Srpska and Muslim-Croat Federation.

© 2011 AFP

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