YEREVAN. – Armenia to have a strong team of attorneys in Strasbourg at the appeal of Perincek vs. Switzerland case before the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights on Jan. 28, Armenian News – NEWS.am reports.
The case involves the conviction by Swiss national courts of a minor Turkish political party leader Dogu Perincek, who had traveled to Switzerland in 2005 with the explicit intent of denying the truth of the Armenian Genocide.
In Strasbourg Armenia will be represented by Amal Ramzi Alamuddin, wife of prominent actor and human rights activist George Clooney, a highly regarded London attorney specializing in international law, criminal law, human rights, and extradition. Eminent British lawyer Geoffrey Robertson QC, who is the joint head of Alamuddin’s Doughty Street Chambers, will also represent Armenia in vs. Switzerland case.
Amal Ramzi Alamuddin has been involved in several major court hearings such as defending Julian Assange of WikiLeaks and former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. She has also worked with the Prosecutor of the UN Special Tribunal for Lebanon, and the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia. Alamuddin was born in Lebanon to a Druze father and Sunni Muslim mother in 1978. At the age of two, her family moved to the Britain. She received her law degree from New York University School of Law and clerked at the International Court of Justice. After returning to London in 2010, she became a barrister at the Doughty Street Chambers. She served as advisor to Kofi Annan, UN Special Envoy on Syria, and as Counsel to the 2013 UN Drone Inquiry team.
Geoffrey Robertson QC, a founder and joint head of Doughty Street Chambers, has had a distinguished career as a trial and appellate counsel, an international judge, and author of leading textbooks. He has argued many landmark cases in media, constitutional and criminal law, in the European Court of Justice, the European Court of Human Rights, British Supreme Court, the UN War Crimes courts and the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).
Note that in 2008, Perincek appealed the Swiss ruling to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). A majority of five out of seven ECHR judges ruled in 2013 that Switzerland had violated Perincek’s right to free expression. According to experts, the ruling was an unfair and unacceptable double standard, as the court considered denial of the Jewish Holocaust a crime, while Armenian Genocide denial an infringement on free speech. Azbarez noted that the five judges who ruled against Switzerland made countless judgmental and factual errors, misrepresenting Perincek’s allegations, misinterpreting Switzerland’s laws and court rulings, lacking basic knowledge of the Armenian Genocide, and repeatedly contradicting themselves. Two of the seven judges disagreed with the majority’s ruling and submitted a comprehensive 19-page report on the Armenian Genocide, siding with the Swiss court.
On March 17, 2014, Switzerland decided to appeal the ruling to ECHR’s 17-judge Grand Chamber, to defend the integrity of its laws and the country’s legal system. Specifically, the Swiss government challenged the court’s decision on three grounds:
1. ECHR had never before dealt with the juridical qualification of genocide and the scope of freedom of expression;
2. The undue restriction of “the margin of appreciation” available to Switzerland under ECHR’s jurisprudence;
3. The establishment of ‘artificial distinctions’ – in the absence of an international verdict, ECHR should have considered the Turkish Court’s 1919 guilty verdicts against the masterminds of the Armenian Genocide as evidence related to World Court’s jurisprudence.