February 2, 2007 - 16:40 AMT PanARMENIAN.Net
- People who question the official history of recent conflicts in Africa and the Balkans could be jailed for up to three years for "genocide denial", under proposed EU
legislation. Germany, current holder of the EU's rotating presidency, will table new legislation to outlaw "racism and xenophobia" this spring.
"How will we determine precisely what is denial? Will history be decided by historians or in a courtroom?" European officials censure the EU initiative. Berlin's draft EU directive extends the idea of Holocaust denial to the "gross minimisation of genocide out of racist and xenophobic motives", to include crimes dealt with by the International Criminal Court. The ICC was set up in 2002 following international outcry about war crimes and alleged genocides in the former Yugoslavia and in Africa.
European Commission officials insist that the legislation is necessary: "racism and xenophobia can manifest themselves in the form of genocide denial so that it is very important to take strong action". But the legislation faces stiff opposition from academics who fear it would stifle debate over some of the biggest issues in contemporary international relations. Prof Lipstadt has an international reputation for challenging Holocaust denial. She was sued unsuccessfully for libel in 2000 by David Irving, the British historian, after exposing his misrepresentation of historical evidence and association with Right-wing extremists. But she does not believe denying the Holocaust or genocide should be a crime, reports The Daily Telegraph.
It's worth reminding here that late 2006 the French parliament passed a bill criminalizing the Armenian Genocide denial and providing for a big fine or a year in prison.