Policy Paper – April 2013
In 2012, the European Parliament adopted a Written Declaration supporting the establishment of a European Day of Remembrance for the Righteous, a legislative initiative which once again stresses the importance of remembrance and which therefore constitutes a welcome addition to the existing apparatus of steps taken to ensure the memory of past atrocities on one hand and a means to counter deniers’ claims on the other. Although mass violence and genocide have both been the object of legal concern in the post- Nuremberg era, as largely exemplified by the ever-increasing adoption of United Nations Resolutions, declarations, treaties and conventions, the issue of how to ensure the remembrance of such atrocities so as to prevent their repetition in the future however remains unsolved. The falsification of history and the distortion of the truth to trigger debates on an issue where precisely there is no debate or, in the words of Deborah Lipstadt, no ‘other side’ (Ibid.): denying genocide is not an opinion, it is a lie. Can a lie be effectively countered by a legal prohibition? This is precisely the question which this Policy Paper of Caroline Fournet will try to address.