Amal Clooney dodges fashion question at court

Amal Clooney, who is representing Armenia, was asked a light-hearted fashion question at the European Court of Human Rights

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While representing the Armenian government against a Turkish politician who denies a charge of genocide against their country that allegedly took place 100 years ago, Amal Clooney was asked a totally unrelated question by one of the journalists present.

Which designer was she wearing at the European Court of Human Rights?

Amal, the international human rights lawyer who married Hollywood star George Clooney last year, reportedly laughed and pointed to her robes.

She said: “I’m wearing Ede & Ravenscroft,” in reference to supplier of gowns for academic and legal occasions in Britain.

As well as dodging the trivial question in court, she left no room for mercy when it came to the case.

Clooney, who is representing Armenia on behalf of Doughty Street Chambers along with Geoffrey Robertson QC, accused Turkey of double standards when it came to freedom of expression for defending a Turkish Leftist who described the Armenian genocide as an “international lie.”

She described Turkey’s stance as hypocritical “because of its disgraceful record on freedom of expression,” including what she termed as prosecutions of Turkish-Armenians who campaign for the1915 massacres to be called a genocide.

“This court knows very well how disgraceful Turkey’s record on freedom of expression is,” she said.

Dogu Perincek

Dogu Perincek, chairman of the Turkish Workers’ Party, was convicted eight years ago in Switzerland for describing the Armenian genocide of 1915 as an “international lie.”

He says that was an attack on his freedom of speech and the ECHR agreed with him in a December 2013 ruling.

The Swiss authorities have appealed the decision, and have the backing of Armenia, which says 1.5 million people were killed by Turkey’s Ottoman rulers.

Clooney said the court’s 2013 decision “cast doubt on the reality of genocide that Armenian people suffered a century ago.”

Lawyers for Perincek and the Turkish government argue that the Armenian genocide is not a matter of “general consensus” like the Holocaust.

Turkey has always denied that the massacre of Armenians was a pre-planned attempt to wipe them out and says only 500,000 were killed.

Perincek “neither denied nor apologized for the massacres, nor did he incite hatred against the Armenians,” his lawyers argued, adding that he only denied a “genocidal intent” on the part of the Ottoman authorities who ruled Turkey at the time.

Turkey further argues that Perincek’s claims cannot possibly incite hatred since there is no widespread hatred towards the Armenians.

The controversy continued outside court where some 600 Turkish protesters had gathered, according to police, carrying Turkish flags and portraits of the country's modern founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. The crowd cheered Perincek when he emerged from the court.

Around 20 Armenians stood on the other side of the road with one placard reading: “No to denial -- Europe must react.”

(With AFP)

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