Laws against Holocaust denial

Laws Against Holocaust Denial

Laws against Holocaust denial

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Holocaust denial is illegal in a number of European countries. Many countries also have broader laws that criminalize genocide denial. In addition, the European Union has issued a directive to combat racism and xenophobia, which makes provision for member states criminalising Holocaust denial, with a maximum prison sentence of between one and three years. Also, the Council of Europe's 2003 Additional Protocol to the Convention on Cyber Crime, concerning the prosecution of acts of a racist and xenophobic nature committed through computer systems includes an article entitled Denial, gross minimisation, approval or justification of genocide or crimes against humanity, although this does not have the status of law. Of the countries that ban Holocaust denial, a number (Austria, Germany, Hungary, and Romania) were among the perpetrators of the Holocaust, and many of these also ban other elements associated with Nazism, such as Nazi symbols.

Overview and commentary

Scholars have pointed out that countries that specifically ban Holocaust denial generally have legal systems that limit speech in other ways, such as banning hate speech. According to D. Guttenplan, this is a split between the "common law countries of the United States, Ireland and many British Commonwealth countries from the civil law countries of continental Europe and Scotland. In civil law countries the law is generally more proscriptive. Also, under the...
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