Nov 23 2015
Posted by Vugar Seidov in Uncategorized
No mentioning of the “Armenian genocide” in the Penal Codes of Slovakia, Switzerland and Italy

Wikipedia, mass-media and other non-academic resources often mention Slovakia, Switzerland and Italy among the countries allegedly having outlawed the denial of what some people call the “Armenian genocide”. Quite often, authors fail even to see the difference between Slovakia and Slovenia, confusing them almost like Switzerland with Sweden, Austria with Australia, India with Indonesia. It is hard to expect such people to work with primary sources and avoid relying on rumors. When asked to provide reference, they usually quote another person, who in turn refers to someone else and then to the fourth, fifth, sixth element in the chain of falsehood, to the grandmother, the great-grandmother, and so on, so forth. Efforts to track and establish the origin of the (mis-)information never bring to the document that should normally be the first and only resource every professional researcher must turn to and work with. For example, the article in Wikipedia mentions Slovakia among those states and refers to “Russia Today”, which mentions Slovenia…

Anyone can make inadvertent mistakes, but when informed about the mistake no further action is being taken to correct the error, it becomes a deliberate lie. And this is how the lie gets viral and spreads from one website to another without anyone being bothered to check the primary source – the Penal Codes of the countries in question.

Meanwhile, those of Slovakia, Switzerland, Italy, to name just a few, contain no mentioning of the Armenian case whatsoever. Moreover, the specific sections of the Slovak and Italian laws are very clear as to what is illegal to deny in the country, leaving no room for the flexible interpretation of the law.

Below are the quotations from the Slovak, Swiss, Italian and, just in case, the Slovenian Penal Codes, which defeat the Armenian propaganda lie and prove that these countries have never adopted any amendment criminalizing the public disagreement with the Armenian “1915 genocide” narrative. One can deny the opinion, but it is hard to deny the clear content of the documents.

Section 424a of the Penal Code of Slovakia

Incitement, Defamation and Threatening to Persons because of their Affiliation to Race, Nation, Nationality, Complexion, Ethnic Group or Family Origin

(1) Any person who publicly
a) incites to violence or hatred against a group of persons or an individual because of their affiliation to any race, nation, nationality, complexion, ethnic group, family origin or their religion, if they constitute a pretext for the incitement on the aforementioned grounds, or
b) defames such group or individual, or threatens them by exonerating an offence that is deemed to be genocide, a crime against humanity or a war crime under Articles 6, 7 and 8 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, or an offence that is deemed to be a crime against peace, a war crime or a crime against humanity under Article 6 of the Statute of the International Military Tribunal annexed to the Agreement of 8 August 1945 for the Prosecution and Punishment of the Major War Criminals of the European Axis, if such crime was committed against such group of persons or individual, or if a perpetrator of or abettor to such crime was convicted by a final and conclusive judgement rendered by an international court, unless it was made null and void in lawful proceedings, publicly denies or grossly derogates such offence, if it has been committed against such person or individual, shall be liable to a term of imprisonment of one to three years.
(2) The offender shall be liable to a term of imprisonment of two to five years if he commits the offence referred to in paragraph 1 by reason of specific motivation.

Source: http://www.legislationline.org/documents/id/15761
Original Slovak wording with parallel English translation is provided also in the following document: http://legislationline.org/download/action/download/id/3763/file/Slovakia_CC_2005_en.pdf (page 211)

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The Report of the European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) on Slovakia (2014):
“In line with GPR No. 7, Section 422d of the Criminal Code, amended in 2011, criminalises the public denial, doubting or approval of the Holocaust, as well as public denial of other criminal offences committed on the basis of fascist, communist or violent ideologies that encourage the suppression of fundamental rights and freedoms. Another recent amendment provides that hatred based on sexual orientation constitutes an “extremist bias” and is an aggravating circumstance for a criminal offence (section 140 g) of the Criminal Code).”
Source: https://www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/ecri/Country-by-country/Slovakia/SVK-CbC-V-2014-037-ENG.pdf (page 13)

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Foreign Ministry of Slovakia:
“Amendment of the Code of Criminal Procedure No 262/2011 Coll., effective from 1 September 2011, established as penal and penalizes public denial, doubting, approval of, or an effort to, excuse Holocaust, fascist-ideology-based crimes, communist-ideology-based crimes, or crimes of another similar movement which use violence, violence threat, or the threat of a different serious harm in order to suppress the basic rights and freedoms of persons (Article 422d of the Penal Code).”
Source: http://www.foreign.gov.sk/App/wcm/media.nsf/vw_ByID/ID_B747DB37D74A7A9FC1257EAB007B0AE6_EN/$File/150824_Committee_on_the_Elimination_of_Racial_Discrimination_9_10_periodic_report.pdf (page 9)

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Article 261 bis of the Penal Code of Switzerland:

Schweizerisches Strafgesetzbuch
vom 21. Dezember 1937 (Stand am 1. Januar 2015)

Art. 261 bis 218
Wer öffentlich gegen eine Person oder eine Gruppe von Personen wegen ihrer Rasse, Ethnie oder Religion zu Hass oder Diskriminierung aufruft,
wer öffentlich Ideologien verbreitet, die auf die systematische Herabsetzung oder Verleumdung der Angehörigen einer Rasse, Ethnie oder Religion gerichtet sind,
wer mit dem gleichen Ziel Propagandaaktionen organisiert, fördert oder daran teilnimmt,
wer öffentlich durch Wort, Schrift, Bild, Gebärden, Tätlichkeiten oder in anderer Weise eine Person oder eine Gruppe von Personen wegen ihrer Rasse, Ethnie oder Religion in einer gegen die Menschenwürde verstossenden Weise herabsetzt oder diskriminiert oder aus einem dieser Gründe Völkermord oder andere Verbrechen gegen die Menschlichkeit leugnet, gröblich verharmlost oder zu rechtfertigen sucht,
wer eine von ihm angebotene Leistung, die für die Allgemeinheit bestimmt ist, einer Person oder einer Gruppe von Personen wegen ihrer Rasse, Ethnie oder Religion verweigert,
wird mit Freiheitsstrafe bis zu drei Jahren oder Geldstrafe bestraft.

Source: https://www.admin.ch/opc/de/classified-compilation/19370083/201501010000/311.0.pdf (pages 101-102)

English translation:

Racial discrimination
Any person who publicly incites hatred or discrimination against a person or a group of persons on the grounds of their race, ethnic origin or religion, any person who publicly disseminates ideologies that have as their object the systematic denigration or defamation of the members of a race, ethnic group or religion,
any person who with the same objective organises, encourages or participates in propaganda campaigns,
any person who publicly denigrates or discriminates against another or a group of persons on the grounds of their race, ethnic origin or religion in a manner that violates human dignity, whether verbally, in writing or pictorially, by using gestures, through acts of aggression or by other means, or any person who on any of these grounds denies, trivialises or seeks justification for genocide or other crimes against humanity,
any person who refuses to provide a service to another on the grounds of that person’s race, ethnic origin or religion when that service is intended to be provided to the general public,
is liable to a custodial sentence not exceeding three years or to a monetary penalty.

(Inserted by Art. 1 of the Federal Act of 18 June 1993, in force since 1 Jan. 1995 (AS 1994 2887 2888; BBl 1992 III 269)).
Source: https://www.admin.ch/opc/en/classified-compilation/19370083/index.html

The explanatory note of the Council of Europe states that the denial of genocide under Article 261 bis refers to the Holocaust:
http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/ecri/legal_research/national_legal_measures/Switzerland/Switzerland_SR.pdf
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Amendment to the Italian law adopted by the Senate on February 11, 2015.

Modifiche all’articolo 3 della legge 13 ottobre 1975, n. 654, in materia di contrasto e repressione dei crimini di genocidio, crimini contro l’umanità e crimini di guerra, come definiti dagli articoli 6, 7 e 8 dello statuto della Corte penale internazionale, e modifica all’articolo 414 del codice penale

Art. 1.
1. All’articolo 3 della legge 13 ottobre 1975, n. 654, e successive modificazioni, sono apportate le seguenti modificazioni:
a) al comma 1, lettera a), dopo le parole: «ovvero istiga» è inserita la seguente: «pubblicamente»;
b) al comma 1, lettera b), dopo le parole: «, in qualsiasi modo, istiga» è inserita la seguente: «pubblicamente»;
c) dopo il comma 3 è aggiunto il seguente: «3-bis. Per i fatti di cui al comma 1, lettere a) e b), e al comma 3, la pena è aumentata se la propaganda, la pubblica istigazione e il pubblico incitamento si fondano in tutto o in parte sulla negazione della Shoah ovvero dei crimini di genocidio, dei crimini contro l’umanità e dei crimini di guerra, come definiti dagli articoli 6, 7 e 8 dello statuto della Corte penale internazionale, ratificato ai sensi della legge 12 luglio 1999, n. 232».
2. All’articolo 414, primo comma, numero 1, del codice penale, la parola: «cinque» è sostituita dalla seguente: «tre».

Source: http://www.senato.it/service/PDF/PDFServer/DF/310236.pdf (see also description in http://www.senato.it/3381?comunicato=48762)

The above Italian amendment is also very specific, as it mentions only the Holocaust (Shoah) and the genocides within the scope of the ICC’s Rome Statute, which the Armenian story is no part of.

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Article 297 of the Penal Code of Slovenia:

Public Incitement to Hatred, Violence or Intolerance

(1) Whoever publicly provokes or stirs up ethnic, racial, religious or other hatred, strife or intolerance, or provokes any other inequality on the basis of physical or mental deficiencies or sexual orientation, shall be punished by imprisonment of up to two years.
(2) The same sentence shall be imposed on a person who publicly disseminates ideas on the supremacy of one race over another, or provides aid in any manner for racist activity or denies, diminishes the significance of, approves, disregards, makes fun of, or advocates genocide, holocaust, crimes against humanity, war crime, aggression, or other criminal offences against humanity.

Source: http://www.legislationline.org/download/action/download/id/3773/file/Slovenia_CC_2008_en.pdf

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The only state in the world which can documentally be proved to have banned the denial of the “Armenian genocide” is Greece. The PDF file from the Greek parliament’s website refers to the amendment to the country’s penal code:

Άρθρο 2

Το άρθρο 2 του ν. 927/1979 αντικαθίσταται ως εξής:

«Άρθρο 2 Δηµόσια επιδοκιµασία ή άρνηση εγκληµάτων

1. Όποιος µε πρόθεση, δηµόσια, προφορικά ή δια του τύπου, µέσω του διαδικτύου ή µε οποιοδήποτε άλλο µέσο ή τρόπο, επιδοκιµάζει, ευτελίζει ή κακόβουλα αρνείται την ύπαρξη ή τη σοβαρότητα εγκληµάτων γενοκτονιών, εγκληµάτων πολέµου, εγκληµάτων κατά της ανθρωπότητας, του Ολοκαυτώµατος και των εγκληµάτων του ναζισµού που έχουν αναγνωριστεί µε αποφάσεις διεθνών δικαστηρίων ή της Βουλής των Ελλήνων και η συµπεριφορά αυτή στρέφεται κατά οµάδας προσώπων ή µέλους της που προσδιορίζεται µε βάση τη φυλή, το χρώµα, τη θρησκεία, τις γενεαλογικές καταβολές, την εθνική ή εθνοτική καταγωγή, το σεξουαλικό προσανατολισµό την ταυτότητα φύλου ή την αναπηρία, όταν η συµπεριφορά αυτή εκδηλώνεται κατά τρόπο που µπορεί να υποκινήσει βία ή µίσος ή ενέχει απειλητικό ή υβριστικό χαρακτήρα κατά µίας τέτοιας οµάδας ή µέλους της, τιµωρείται µε τις ποινές της παραγράφου 1 του προηγούµενου άρθρου.

2. Αν η πράξη της προηγούµενης παραγράφου τελέστηκε από δηµόσιο λειτουργό ή υπάλληλο, κατά την άσκηση των ανατεθειµένων σε αυτόν καθηκόντων, επιβάλλεται φυλάκιση έξι (6) µηνών έως τριών (3) ετών και χρηµατική ποινή δέκα χιλιάδων έως εικοσι πέντε χιλιάδων (10.000 – 25.000) ευρώ.»

Source: http://www.hellenicparliament.gr/UserFiles/bcc26661-143b-4f2d-8916-0e0e66ba4c50/%20t-l328-pap.pdf (pp.1-2).

This amendment refers to the acts of genocide established not only by international tribunals, but also recognized by the Greek parliament.

One can notice that all the references provided here are exclusively of the official nature. Nothing of “the neighbor told”, “heard in the bus”, etc., kind.

P.S. The most interesting part is that the dismissal of the story of the “Armenian genocide” is not outlawed even in Armenia. The country’s Penal Code says nothing on the matter: http://www.legislationline.org/download/action/download/id/1655/file/bb9bb21f5c6170dadc5efd70578c.htm/preview

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