Hungary makes Holocaust denial a crime


(WSJ) Hungarian President Laszlo Solyom signed Wednesday the amendment to the criminal code that now considers Holocaust denial illegal. As mentioned in our previous post on the matter, the new law raises certain issues and Mr. Solyom signed the bill into law despite his concerns.

The law doesn’t infringe the constitution, Mr. Solyom said in a release after signing the document. Denying the Holocaust has now become similar to the use of prohibited autocratic symbols, such as the red star, the hammer and sickle, or the swastika, which are already among a narrow pool of symbols that don’t belong under the umbrella of freedom of speech and freedom of opinion, Mr. Solyom said. He pointed out, however, that the timing of the parliamentary approval of the amendment wasn’t right, as the election campaign period—ahead of April’s parliamentary elections—isn’t the proper time for deciding on such weighty matters.

The greatest problem with the amendment—besides that it’s too vague in the aspect of defining the deniers as well as the victims—is that it might have a snowball-effect. In France, in addition to holocaust denial, questioning Rwandan and Armenian genocides, as well as communist terrors are also unlawful. Hungarian online news agency Index quotes civil liberties union TASZ expert Eva Simon, who sees opposition party Fidesz, the likely winner of the elections, expanding the scope of the Hungarian law in a similar way, including the victims of genocides by the communist autocracy.

Based on comments from readers on the subject, Index also calls attention to a number of curious facts. One is that the denial of holocaust is now illegal but its approval (i.e. it was the right thing to do) isn’t. Another one is whether the police should go after holocaust deniers who don’t seem to have hurt anybody’s dignity? The list could go on, and all this is the controversial result of some good intentions. But forget ye not, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

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