The criminalisation of genocide denial in Europe: a growing threat for freedom of expression? : the case of the Armenian genocide

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Platteau, Sandrine
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This paper will explore the criminalisation of genocide denial by European states and the dangers this phenomenon poses to freedom of expression. To assess the legitimacy of those controversial laws, it will first present the concept of freedom of speech and its limits according to the different legal models and national historical backgrounds, as well as the academic debate on the need for anti-denial provisions. Then, it will investigate the normative framework on this issue, namely the national laws and case-law existing on the denial of the Holocaust and the Armenian genocide, as well as the other legal provisions used to prosecute such denials. Subsequently, it will explore the position of the European Court of Human Rights on genocide denial laws, through a study of its existing case-law on convictions for Holocaust denial and the evaluation of its hypothetical position on those concerning the Armenian genocide. Finally, it will consider the position of the European Union on the issue of genocide denial and more specifically concerning Turkey’s accession conditions and the planned Framework decision on the fight against racism. As a conclusion, it will be argued that even if anti-denial laws can be necessary in some specific traumatic historical contexts, their proliferation threatens the fundaments of freedom of expression.
Second semester University: Eotvos Lorand University, Budapest.
armenian genocide, European Court of Human Rights, freedom of expression, genocide