Agence France Presse
December 27, 2011 Tuesday 6:02 PM GMT

Denial of Armenian genocide should be punishable: Dodik

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Dec 27 2011

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

"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.