Penalization and human rights

N. Lygeros

Translated from the Greek by Evi Charitidou

The general subject issue of recognizing a genocide enriches human rights domain. The reason for this is simple. The notion of genocide is juristically abstract. This means that whereas the simplistic approach of genocide is self-evident, rarely do we know the criteria on the international level. By itself this reason creates comprehension problems to the non-experts who arbitrarily generalize the framework or isolate it in order to make it function according to their personal criteria.

Recognizing a genocide is not an aim by itself. It belongs to a complex and complicated legal process of correction. Therefore, it merely constitutes the first stage of a strategy functioning in favor of the victim and against the executioner; because genocide is a crime against humanity. Consequently, humanity itself is the victim, even though this is expressed only by a part of its population. Unfortunately, this general mental schema neither is nor can be comprehensible to all. Moreover, each one of us has racial reflections hindering us to see the entire structure of a process integrating recognition and penalization. The latter is a normal legal continuation of the former and not an exception to juristic given. As more powerful since based on recognition, penalization rather than recognition invokes more reactions by mass media. However, these reactions are pretexts. They are created to ostensibly protect freedom of expression, but they essentially infringe fundamental human rights. And this is very well known by the human rights experts; because it is also skillfully used by the fanatics of oblivion, who do not recognize the notion of genocide even. Their argument is simplistic. There may be a law on recognizing genocide, but since there is no law penalizing the offence of non-recognition, they can easily attack people claiming recognition. It is in this framework that a battle for peace takes place, where those indifferent do not help victims. Their ideological reflections block the whole process.

In Greece, the issue of recognizing the genocide of the Pontiacs is still in its beginning and from now we can imagine the problems provoked by penalization, when we reach this point. We bear the least knowledge on human rights domain and this is the reason why we have not efficiently used the European Court of Human Rights and we have not yet filed appeals en masse. But, when this time arrives, our stance towards other genocides should have been beforehand considered. For, the tactics of the Turkish propaganda is simple. It will hit every weak point of our strategy. Consequently, we have to activate an allying framework, disarming this tactics from the outset and this may take place in one way only.

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