No take-down website Turkish consulate
On 15 November a Paris court (Tribunal de Grand Instance) rejected a
demand from the Comité de Défense de la Cause Arménienne (CDCA) to
take-down a website from the Turkish consulate in France. The Turkish
consul was accused by the CDCA of denying the 1915 genocide on Armenians.
Both the complaint against hosting provider Wanadoo as well as the
complaint against the Turkish consul failed.
The Court found that no provision in the French law specifically considers
the denial of the Armenian genocide illegal, not as part of the general
penal code provisions on genocide-denial, nor as a result of the specific
French law from 2001 acknowledging the existence of the genocide of the
Regarding the complaint against the Turkish consul, the Court concluded he
was protected by diplomatic immunity, following the Vienna Convention of
1963. Therefore the complaint against him was found irrelevant.
The CDCA is considering an appeal to the decision. Reporters Without
Borders point out in a press release issued on 17 November that this case
is the first to be heard under the new legal regime for provider liability
defined in the Loi sur la Confiance dans l’économie numérique (LEN). This
law demands content has to be ‘manifestly unlawful’ in order for a
provider to risk liability. On 13 June 2004 the French Constitutional
Council modified the LEN, after huge protests from numerous digital rights
organisations, from ‘apparently’ to ‘manifestly’ unlawful. Under French
jurisprudence only very specific content can be considered ‘manifestly
illegal’, like (holocaust) denial, pedophile images and war-crime
Still, the definition causes many problems in practice, according to RSF.
The Paris court only decided the website from the Turkish consulate wasn’t
‘manifestly’ unlawful after studying 2 French legal texts and 3
CDCA press release (15.11.2004)
RSF press release (in French and English, 17.11.2004)
EDRI-gram 2.21 ‘Armenian group demands take down website Turkish
(Thanks to Meryem Marzouki, EDRI-member IRIS)