Communication No. 953/2000
UN Human Rights Committee
The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal found that the author exposed Jews to hatred and contempt on his website. The tribunal refused to permit the author to raise a defence of the truth. The author booked the Canadian Parliament’s press facilities to hold a press conference. After protests, he was denied its use. The Human Rights Committee found the case to be inadmissible ratione materiae.
Theme(s): Genocide Denial/Holocaust
Date: 27 July 2003
Description of applicant(s): Publisher
Brief description of facts: The author’s communication originated from a case before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal in which he was held responsible, under the Canadian Human Rights Act, of exposing Jews to hatred and contempt on an Internet website known as the “Zundelsite”. From the materials submitted to the Committee by the parties it transpired that, for instance, one of the author’s articles posted on that site entitled “Did Six Million Jews Really Die?”, disputed that six million Jews were killed during the Holocaust. The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal initiated an inquiry into the complaint. During the hearings, on 25 May 1998, the Human Rights Tribunal refused to permit the author to raise a defense of truth against the complaint by proving that the statements on the “Zundelsite” are true. The author obtained a booking to use the Canadian Parliament’s press facilities to hold a briefing for a press conference in which he would discuss the ruling of the Human Rights Tribunal and its refusal to consider the defence of ‘truth.’ After several Members of Parliament had been contacted by opponents of the author’s views who had protested against the author’s use of the Charles Lynch Press Conference Room and, after the Press Gallery had refused to cancel the booking of the room, the House of Commons passed the following unanimous motion: “That this House order that Ernst Zundel be denied admittance to the precincts of the House of Commons during and for the remainder of the present session”.
(Alleged) target(s) of speech: Jews
The Committee’s assessment of the impugned speech: Inadmissible for reasons discussed below.
Important paragraph(s) from the decision:
8.5 Although the right to freedom of expression, as enshrined in article 19, paragraph 2, of the Covenant, extends to the choice of medium, it does not amount to an unfettered right of any individual or group to hold press conferences within the Parliamentary precincts, or to have such press conferences broadcast by others. While it is true that the author had obtained a booking with the Press Gallery for the Charles Lynch Press Conference Room and that this booking was made inapplicable through the motion passed unanimously by Parliament to exclude the author’s access to the Parliamentary precincts, the Committee notes that the author remained at liberty to hold a press conference elsewhere. The Committee therefore takes the position, after a careful examination of the material before it, that the author’s claim, based on the inability to hold a press conference in the Charles Lynch press Conference Room, falls outside the scope of the right to freedom of expression, as protected under article 19, paragraph 2, of the Covenant.
ICCPR Article: Article 19
Decision: Inadmissible ratione materia