Holocaust Denial Legislation

jeudi 29 mai 2008 par Jonathan D. Josephs

There have been relatively few works focusing on the denial of the Holocaust from a purely legal perspective.

Examining different laws banning Holocaust denial from an internationally comparative legal perspective will be an interesting and challenging task. Even though each individual law banning Holocaust denial is nationally distinct, they all bear common ground in terms of being an infringement to freedom of speech.

The inclusion and analysis of the relevant legislation in Germany and Austria would have been indispensable had this essay focussed solely on a comparison of laws banning Holocaust denial.

However, this paper seeks to tackle the question as to the justification of such legislation, and not the individual merits of each law. It was therefore decided that it would be more challenging to examine issues outside of this more predictable perspective.

For this reason, the analysis of state legislation against Holocaust denial will be limited to Spain and France, two countries with particularly interesting case law concerning Holocaust denial (A).

By the same token the approach of countries which have not banned Holocaust denial – notably the United States and the United Kingdom will be examined (B).

The spotlight will then be turned to a detailed examination of the renowned Irving v Lipstadt trial, because this case exposes the true face of Holocaust deniers and will give a better idea of whether laws are indeed necessary to ban the phenomenon of Holocaust denial (C).

Laws banning Holocaust denial obviously entail an infringement of freedom of expression, but after examining legal arguments both for and against such legislation, the question this work will focus on is whether this infringement is legally justifiable (D).


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