April 19, 2007

EU agree to new "free speech" rules

EU nations agree to new racism rules

LUXEMBOURG - European Union nations agreed Thursday on new rules to combat racism and hate crimes across the 27-nation bloc, including setting jail sentences against those who deny or trivialize the Holocaust.

[...]The proposed rules, which still have to be vetted by national parliaments, calls for up to three-year prison sentences for those convicted of denying massacres defined as genocide by the International Criminal Court, including the Holocaust and the mass killings in Rwanda in the 1990s.

EU justice and interior ministers said the rules call for criminalizing "incitement to hatred and violence and publicly condoning, denying or grossly trivializing crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes."

The mass killing of Jews during World War II was the only genocide specifically mentioned in the rules. Demands from Baltic nations that major Stalinist atrocities be included were rejected.

What I want to know is, just how carefully defined is the charge of "crimes against humanity"?
[...]Member states can opt out of criminalizing massacres not defined as genocide by the international court.
Ohhh. I see.

Why can't most EU nations* handle free speech? (And I classify "free" as in to the same degree American's do.)

What is so weak in the pan-Europa societal fabric that they are seemingly incapable of socially self-regulating (ie: shun, frown upon, ostracize, etc.) those wingnuts who actually believe for a second such an event as the Holocaust was nothing but an act of Allied propagation to garner sympathy for the Jews et. al?

Are European societies so fragile that a beer hall putsch can break out with only a mere racially-tinged whisper?

So weak are they, that they must limit free speech (however idiotic or hate-ridden) under penalty of legal prosecution?

(Hey, tit-for-tat, if some Zeropeans think they know American culture well enough that Charlton Heston should be held culpable for the Virginia Tech massacre, pan-European societal critique is fair game.)

*In all fairness, according to the article, Great Britain, Italy, Denmark several unnamed nations were concerned the rules would undermine freedom of expression.

Posted by Kyer at April 19, 2007 04:15 PM | TrackBack