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Criminalizing History

Legal Restrictions on Statements and Interpretations of the Past in Germany, Poland, Rwanda, Turkey and Ukraine

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Edited By Klaus Bachmann and Christian Garuka

Why do states ban certain statements and interpretations of the past, how do they ban them and what are the practical consequences? This book offers an answer to these questions and at the same time examines, whether the respective legislation was supply-or demand-driven and how prosecutors and courts applied it. The comparison between Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Rwanda and Turkey offers several surprising insights: in most countries, memory law legislation is supply driven and imposed on a reluctant society, in some countries they target apolitical hooligans more than intellectuals or the government’s political opponents. The book also discusses, why and how liberal democracies differ from hybrid regimes in their approach to punitive memory laws and how such laws can be tailored to avoid constraints on free speech, the freedom of the press and academic freedoms.

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List of graphs, tables and statistics

Extract

Graph 1: Cases of art. 130 StGB infringements as reported by the police between 1996 and 2018

Table 2: Interest over time for the incriminated versus the generally accepted notion on the Internet between 2004 and 2019 according to google stats (highest interest during the respective period = 100 %)

Table 3: Google results in 2019 for different incriminated and accepted phrases

Table 4: Number of registered crimes: production, propagation of communist, Nazi symbolism and the propaganda of communist and national-socialist (Nazi) totalitarian regimes (art. 436–1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine)

Table 5: Decisions issued by Ukrainian courts on instances of production, propagation of communist, Nazi symbolism and the propaganda of communist and national-socialist (Nazi) totalitarian regimes

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