memory laws

  • The European Court of Human Rights on Nazi and Soviet Past in Central and Eastern Europe

    The article demonstrates how references to Nazi and Soviet past are perceived and evaluated by the European Court of Human Rights. Individual cases concerning Holocaust and Nazism, which the Court has examined so far, are compared here to judgments rendered with regard to Communist regime. The article proves that the Court treats more leniently state interference with freedom of expression when memory about Nazism and Holocaust is protected than when a post–Communist state wants to preserve a critical memory about the regime. The authors of the article agree with the attitude of the Court which offers a wide margin of appreciation to states restrictively treating references to Nazism and Holocaust, including comparisons to the Holocaust, Nazism or fascism used as rhetorical devices. At the same time they postulate that other totalitarian systems should be treated by the Court equally. 

  • “Right to Truth” and Memory Laws: General Rules and Practical Implications

    The “right to truth” relates to the obligation of the state to provide information about the circumstances surrounding serious violations of human rights. Despite its increasing recognition, the concept raises questions as to its scope and implementation as well as its existence as a free-standing right. Similarly, “memory laws” relate to the way states deal with their past. However, there are certain „memory laws” that, while officially serving as a guarantee for accessing historical truth, lead to its deformation. As a result, an “alternative” truth, based on the will of the legislators, is being imposed. In this article, the authors elaborate on the general nature of the new legal phenomenon of the „right to truth”, as a tool of transitional justice, in particular in the context of both providing and abusing historical truth by the legislators, through the instrument of “memory laws”.

     

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