Germany wants EU law on Holocaust denial

15th January 2007, Comments 0 comments

16 January 2007, Dresden (dpa) - Germany voiced confidence that it can push through new rules which would make denying the Holocaust a crime in the European Union. "One or the other member states has serious concerns about it, but I am hopeful that we will make progress," German Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries told reporters ahead of an informal meeting of EU justice and interior ministers. Germany currently holds the rotating EU presidency. Zypries said that she wants the bloc's 27 member states to adop

16 January 2007

Dresden (dpa) - Germany voiced confidence that it can push through new rules which would make denying the Holocaust a crime in the European Union.

"One or the other member states has serious concerns about it, but I am hopeful that we will make progress," German Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries told reporters ahead of an informal meeting of EU justice and interior ministers.

Germany currently holds the rotating EU presidency.

Zypries said that she wants the bloc's 27 member states to adopt the proposed legislation "as soon as possible."

"While preserving the freedom of expression we have to prevent inciting hatred," said EU Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini who also attends the two-day meeting in Dresden.

However, it would be up to national governments to decide on the length of jail sentences for people inciting racism and xenophobia, Frattini said.

The German proposal also seeks to criminalize racist declarations that are an incitement to violence against a specific person or group.

While unanimous in their condemnation of those who deny the Holocaust, EU leaders are split over whether to criminalize such acts.

Germany views a common EU law as a moral obligation but countries like Britain, Italy and Denmark have resisted common rules as violating the civil liberties.

Two years ago, Luxembourg tried to use its EU presidency to push through legislation to unify legal standards for Holocaust denial, but was blocked by Italy on the grounds that the proposed rules breached freedom of speech.

The Luxembourg blueprint, which Germany is studying with a view toward copying it, says that racist declarations or Holocaust denial will not be prosecuted if they are expressed in a way that does not incite hatred against an individual or group of people.

Laws against denying the Holocaust already exist in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany and Spain.

DPA

Subject: German news

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