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Amal Clooney Comments on European Court of Human Rights’ Armenian Genocide Decision 16.10.2015

Geoffrey Robertson QC and Amal Clooney of Doughty Street Chambers represented the Republic of Armenia intervening as a third party in the case Perincek v Switzerland before the European Court of Human Rights. In an interview with the Public TV of Armenia, Amal Clooney comments on the importance and scope of the Grand Chamber’s ruling in that case and explains why this constitutes a victory for Armenia.

“We are very happy for the judgment. This is a victory for Armenia. Armenia was neither a plaintiff, nor a defendant in this case. Armenia was a third party that intervened in the case and did so for one reason – because the low court judgment had in three paragraphs cast doubt on the reality of the Armenian Genocide. It cast doubt on whether the massacres of 1915 constituted genocide, and used language insulting the Armenian community,” Amal Clooney said, adding that they went to the court to ensure that that Grand Chamber not repeat it.

“Those were the arguments and we won. The Court said that the findings of the lower court were inappropriate. Ten of the judges said they should never have discussed the point at all, as it was out of the Court’s jurisdiction. Another seven judges said that the ‘Armenian Genocide is a clearly established historical fact.’ That’s why the judgment is a victory for Armenia,” she added.

“What the European Court actually decided is that “Perincek’s speeches should not be criminalized, because they didn’t rise to the level of speech, inciting racial hatred and violence in the county they were made, which is Switzerland. This is an encouraging decision from the perspective of the freedom of expression, because the court should be concerned with any country’s laws that make speech a crime. It’s understandable that the Court wants to be very careful about ensuring that states only criminalize a speech in the most extreme circumstances. This is not a finding Armenia needs to be concerned with. People who talks about the Armenian Genocide are not being prosecuted in the courts of Yerevan. They are, however, being prosecuted by courts in Turkey. And it is interesting that in the aftermath of the judgment Turkey’s former Foreign Minister said to Al Jazeera that “Oh, Turkey celebrates the judgment, because it respects freedom of expression.” The reality is that in all the cases that have come before the European Court up to 2014 there have been 591 findings of violation of expression and almost half of them are violations by Turkey. What we hope for is that Turkey is paying close attention to the judgment. We hope Turkey embraces this high standard for freedom of expression that has been set so that journalists like Hrant Dink are no longer prosecuted by the Turkish court for insulting Turkishness or insulting the Turkish state,” the lawyer said.

In conclusion, Amal Clooney said it was a true honor to represent Armenia in this case. “Looking back I’m sure Armenians don’t really care much about what Perincek has to say. If we look at the issue as a whole, we can say that Armenians care about what the Pope will say, and we know that the Pope has come out to say this was genocide. We know that President Obama, before he became President, said it was genocide. So, you may have Turkey continue to deny that reality, but they can no longer after today’s judgment point to the decision of the European Court of Human Rights to support that view,” Mrs. Clooney concluded.

Transcripts by Public Radio of Armenia.

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35 thoughts on “Amal Clooney Comments on European Court of Human Rights’ Armenian Genocide Decision 16.10.2015

  1. The interviewer looks lovely, appropriately dressed, demure and respectable. Amal in contrast is inappropriately dressed (though I do really like the whole look, dress, hair, makeup and colour nail polish – it is just out of context).

    I sincerely wish she would stop bopping about when she speaks and avoid the nail polish when in professional capacity. And either choose to look at the camera or not. I had to smile at the props that she is holding to stop her from fingering her hair.

    I was hoping her interview skills would’ve improved by now.

    But gorgeous outfit – to be worn elsewhere.


  2. it’s interesting she chose such a backdrop to this serious interview – one where you clearly see personal family photos. Given how carefully she ought to separate the line between professional and celebrity – I found this choice odd. Surely she has a home office, or could have chosen a more neutral background. Filmmakers could have bought in a backdrop for example. Is she oblivious to the scrutiny she is under? I found it jarring. And holding a pen and a folder in her lap like a good girl giving a school report – can you see Geoffrey Robertson doing that? As this is a blog that pays such attention to what she does, wears, eats, etc – I’d be interested to know What other people think.


    1. I partly agree.
      The background irritated me. Why showing private/or not fotos? Sometimes cables appeared.
      But AC looks nice and does a good job.


    2. Agree. It’s bizarre. Bad call on the people who set this up. The lighting, angle, backdrop, is all amiss! Lighting, background, props….all create a mood & tone….and this one is all off.
      Even the distance between and the angle of the interviewer looks quite odd. I’m not sure what tone they were trying to achieve , but it didn’t work.


  3. I never realized how badly Amal slouches until I looked at this video. In the still shot, she is making an effort to sit tall – so it can be done.


    1. Choice of venue most bizarre. I too am surprised by her profuse use of filler words – but I have said it before, advocacy does not come naturally to Amal. She speaks as though she spends little time on her feet, surprising given her year of call especially at a courtroom heavy set like Doughty Street. As my pupil master used to say ‘the only way to learn advocacy is to do.’


  4. I just came across this site and I looked of many comments and now I have one burning question for Nat
    How come you know all these details like that she fell hard in the car, that she wears hair extensions, which house the video has been shot etc. How come you know all these details that are not published anywhere?
    I get the feeling that this website is moderated by Nati, who is some relative or friend of Ms Clooney and that for two reasons:
    First she performs some sort of “market research” for Ms Clooney in order for her to better understand how she is perceived in the public eye and second and even more important to get some direct advice on how to improve her appearance and to dress and behave more appropriate and according to the situation. Something she got completely wrong in the first place.
    Suddenly she seems to dress differently for business at least, which is a good thing of course but certainly makes me wonder whether this is a coincidence or not ….


    1. I don’t know her. It is only a research job. About the pictures in the car, only Amal and the photograph know the real story and it is not what it was written in the press.


      1. I don’t get the logic there. If only Amal and the photographer know the real story, how come you know the truth, writing who is wrong (the press as you say) and who is not?


      2. Well, of course we don’t KNOW about a contract / deal, but we may use our brains and apply some logic, Nati! It’s all over the internet that this particular photographer had the exclusive rights of these photos – which must have earned him a small fortune. You can see his name mentioned along with them and / or printed on them. (had these rumours proved false – they certainly would have been corrected, since Mrs Clooney is a lawyer).

        On a side note: i personally do highly appreciate that you seem to have favoured as of late a bigger variety of comments and the inclusion of non-sartorial topics reg. Mrs Clooney, replacing those utterly sugarly ones that for quite some time made this blog a place to be shunned (and transfer the task of reading it to one’s assistant). IMO, the right decision.


    2. bibi I enjoyed your observations – i think the reason this Clooney scenario is of such interest is that it doesn’t feel organic or authentic – and yet you can’t quite put your finger on why you feel that way. Is this what you mean? So Nati – will you publish my comment?


      1. I would have to agree with those comments Casual Observer. There’s something quite off kilter and I’m just not getting what it is either. I am becoming increasingly perplexed by some of Amal’s preventable clothing mishaps (see through Ibiza dresses, ‘falling in the car’ panties showing photos etc etc), partying before international court events, high fashion choices, media chasing behaviours etc etc. It’s too flamboyant and erratic to be able to create a consistent narrative – I keep coming back to the same thought: this is an educated, professional woman, with a very serious, high profile and important job – why does she repeatedly belittle and undermine herself in this way when she has the full capacity, ability and control to do otherwise…


  5. A lot of things lately seems “staged”. In other words, “let’s call our people, let’s call our photographers, and we decide and proof what photos are released to show all that she is doing”. Getty Images, etc. Props (note pad, pen in hand). It’s getting a bit much. Overkill to publicize what Amal is doing & working on. It looks like celebrity turned self promotion. I’m starting to notice, after hearing her talk now for “all of these interviews” that she really says the same thing in all of them, essentially. She uses a lot of the same words over and over in the way she is tring to describe things. The interviews are starting to blur and blend together with the manner she chooses and choice words she selects to describe the issues. Redundent. I still don’t see her practicing law for the long term. That’s just been my hunch all along. Time will tell.


    1. I waited a long while to hear her speak and have found her public speaking skills to be quite poor – I have heard junior high school debaters speak with more conviction, clarity, less fillers, varied intonation and more persuasively than Amal. She is repetitive, tangential, verbose, requires a script to work from, plays with her hair etc and most disappointing, is her tendency to jeer and make fun of others in a sarcastic, dismissive and condescending manner – to hear a lawyer mock and belittle courts and judges’ decisions is off-putting, even when she may be right – she has the intelligence, wit and training to be far more professional and evoke admiration and respect in people.


    2. I fully agree with you on Amal’s statements but had assumed as possible explanation it was based on me not being a lawyer. I must say that those comments from the likes of ESR and OxRed to me seem a lot more professional, factual and informative than what Amal Clooney states in her interviews in more or less a rather similar manner / choice of vocabulary. Hers’ sound more like the superficial comments a PR representative would release to the press. Just my observation and personal reception, of course. Mrs Clooney should re-consider her way of doing interviews on that low and rather general level and either cut down on the quantity or increase on the quality.

      This blog proves that statements from lawyers CAN be both informative, insightful, entertaining and hence highly appreciated.


      1. To be fair to Amal, she has a singular disadvantage when talking to the media – she does not have the privilege of anonymity. I have been criticised in the past on this blog for being an unreliable commentator because I am anonymous. But it is anonymity which allows one to speak frankly.

        Her second disadvantage is that she really ought to have been a solicitor. That was her initial training, and it is what she is best suited to. She was offered her job at Doughty Street by Geoffrey Robertson – she did not apply to a specific vacancy, which means she did not go through the rigorous interview process which involves sifting through about 600 applications and whittling the numbers down to 2 after you have put the applicants through several rounds of gruelling exercises. Amal avoided this harsh interviewing process that identifies intellectuals with strong public speaking skills, which is why her colleagues outperform her.

        You are right to be surprised that her public speaking is poor – barristers are one of the few ‘voice’ professions, they spend their days persuading others through speech to agree with them (and this is particularly the case in Amal’s area of law). But there is a very simple reason for why her public speaking is poor – she rarely does any. If you take a close look at her CV with a trained eye, you see a junior barrister who has shied away from taking on her own work. By her own work I mean a case upon which she is sole counsel. These are usually relatively minor cases, but they allow the advocate to ‘cut their teeth’ – to improve. What Amal seems to have spent the last five years doing is being a junior on cases led by other silks, where she has not had a chance to stand up in front of a judge herself. The rest of the time she does advisory work. This is what I mean by the fact that she has not spent much time ‘on her feet’.These are not criticisms – they are explanations for her interview performances and for her poor performance at the ECtHR. Her strengths simply lie elsewhere and I suspect she knows this.


      1. HaHa I was wondering also how you knew. I can’t tell by the pictures. I just assumed it was her own full head of hair, instead of extensions. Good eye, Nati! 🙂


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