Application Number 25096/94
European Commission of Human Rights
The applicant wrote several publications in which he argued that the gas chambers during the Nazi regime did not exist and that groups such as asylum seekers constituted a source of problems for Germany. The EComHR found that his application was manifestly ill-founded on the grounds of Article 17.
Theme(s): Genocide Denial (Holocaust), Ethnic Hatred
Date: 6 September 1995
Description of applicant(s): Citizen (Retired general)
Brief description of facts: The applicant was convicted of incitement to hatred and sentenced to one year and ten months’ imprisonment and some of his publications were confiscated. He was the editor of a publication ‘Remer Depeschen.’ The publication contained articles which suggested that the gas chambers during the Nazi regimes never existed. Other articles condemned the German policy regarding Israel, complained about the preferential treatment of asylum seekers, “gypsies” and drug traffickers as compared to German nationals, and spoke of the destruction of Germany as a result of the immigration of foreigners.
(Alleged) target(s) of speech: Jews, foreigners, Roma
The Commission’s assessment of the impugned speech: The Commission referred to the role of Article 17 and then noted that speech related to the promotion of National Socialist ideas, is not protected speech under Article 10. A clear cut distinction between the use of this article is not particularly apparent in this case. The Commission found the application to be manifestly ill-founded.
Important paragraph(s) from the judgment:
The Commission finds that the applicant’s publications ran counter one of the basic ideas of the Convention, as expressed in its preamble, namely justice and peace, and further reflect racial and religious discrimination. The public interests in the prevention of crime and disorder in the German population due to incitement to hatred against Jews, and the requirements of protecting their reputation and rights, outweigh, in a democratic society, the applicant’s freedom to impart publications denying the existence of the gassing of Jews in the concentration camps under the Nazi regime, and the allegations of extortion
ECHR Article: Article 17
Decision: Manifestly ill-founded
Use of ‘hate speech’ by the Commission in its assessment? No