Gideon Polya, “Genocide Denial. No-penalty Criminalization Required Now”, MWC News, 10 February 2007.
Genocide Denial. No-penalty Criminalization Required Now
GENOCIDE DENIAL is wrong and utterly repugnant for 3 major reasons: (1) it is falsehood; (2) it is profoundly offensive to the memory of the victims, survivors of such atrocities, their loved ones and indeed to all of decent humanity; and (3) it increases the probability of repetition of such awful crimes – history ignored and history denied yields history repeated. Indeed it is for these sorts of reasons that Germany (currently in a leadership position in the EU) has controversially proposed a measure that would criminalize not only those who deny or diminish the Holocaust but those belittling ANY genocide, mass murder, war crimes and other crimes against humanity.
According to German Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries: "Historically proven facts must not be denied. When an international court determines that such crimes have taken place, then you should no longer be able to say: “You're making that all up”” (see: HERE ).
However this proposal has alarmed academics and others who believe that such legislation would criminalize free speech and constrain critical scholarly research into such crimes against humanity.
The current debate about the German Genocide Denial proposition – and indeed about present Jewish Holocaust Denial criminalization in many Western European countries - presents only 2 conflicting possibilities - (1) total free speech about anything ( thereby preserving a fundamental human right and protecting critical scholarly research) versus (2) criminalizing holocaust denial with custodial and/or financial penalties for those convicted (thereby exposing and punishing Genocide Deniers but with serious constraints on general free speech and compromising of scholarly research).
However there is a Third Option, that of “No-penalty criminalization of Genocide Denial” which exposes, arraigns, tries and convicts Genocide Deniers – but preserves free speech by applying no penalty other than the public disgrace of conviction for the crime of Genocide Denial.
Indeed there is no reason why authoritative citizens of the world cannot set up Genocide Denial Tribunals after the fashion of the distinguished World Tribunal on Iraq that was headed by outstanding Indian writer Arundhati Roy (see MWC News ) or the equally distinguished BRussells Tribunal (the Advisory Committee of which I am a member).
Further, just as scientific and other scholarly journals have editorial boards with expert associated reviewers to determine the quality, veracity and philosophic correctness of submitted research papers, so editorial boards of Mainstream media or of Alternative media (such as MWC News) could set up distinguished, expert scholarly panels to arbitrate on whether a Crime Against Humanity had indeed occurred and the magnitude of the crime e.g. authoritative estimates of the number of violent deaths or the number of associated excess deaths (avoidable deaths, deaths that did not have to happen) – and thence to consider cases of Genocide Denial..
However there would be a much greater public impact if such a No-penalty Genocide Denial Criminalization (NGDC) system were operated by individual countries, groups of countries (such as the EU) or indeed by the International Community as a whole. The latter possibility is a weak option in the light of the selectivity and timidity of the International Criminal Court. Thus politicians from Bush America, Bush-ite UK and Racist Zionist Apartheid Israel are excellent candidates for war crimes prosecutions before the ICC because the post-invasion excess deaths in the Occupied Palestinian, Iraqi and Afghan Territories now total 0.3, 1.0 and 2.2 million, respectively – unambiguous evidence of gross violation by the Occupiers of the Geneva Conventions which unequivocally demand that an Occupier should do everything “to the fullest extent of the means available to it” to provide life-sustaining requisites to Conquered Subjects (see Articles 55 and 56 of the Geneva Conventions Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War. However the US and Israel reject the authority of the ICC and the ICC has not bothered to act against Bush and Blair – even though it has received formal complaints (e.g. see MWC News ).
The most important aspect of a No-penalty Genocide Denial Criminalization (NGDC) system would be the public, judicial examination of the evidence for gross human rights abuses. As with the Milosevic and Nuremberg War Crimes Trials, it is PUBLIC EXPOSURE of Genocide and Human Rights Abuses that will help to protect humanity in a Rational Risk Management sense. However compromising Free Speech by punishment of Genocide Deniers by anything more than the public disgrace of conviction will INCREASE the risk to humanity as outlined below..
Free speech is absolutely vital for scholarly research and for Rational Risk Management to minimize risk to Humanity. Indeed Rational Risk Management is what has made passenger aviation extremely safe - and can be generally applied to situations from child safety in schools to operating nuclear power stations. Rational Risk Management successively involves (a) accurate information; (b) scientific analysis; and (c) systemic change to minimize risk - but is typically perverted (with the US Bush Administration’s conduct being an appalling example) by (a) lies, slies (spin-based untruths), deceit, intimidation and censorship; (b) anti-science spin involving selective use of asserted facts to support a partisan position; and (c) cover-up or blame and shame, with the latter in its most appalling realization involving WAR.
The post-invasion deaths in the Bush War on Terror now total 3.2 million in the Occupied Iraqi and Afghan Territories and the number of refugees total 7.4 million, this constituting Genocide as defined by the UN Genocide Convention, Article II sections (a) –(d) but Mainstream media and politicians are involved in appalling Genocide Denial in relation to this carnage.
In October 2006 a top US medical epidemiology research group from the World’s top Public Health Department (the Bloomberg School of Public Health) in a top US university (Johns Hopkins) published a peer-reviewed paper in a top medical journal (The Lancet) that was endorsed by 27 top Australian medical experts and in which they estimated 655,000 (0.7 million) post-invasion excess deaths in Occupied Iraq (as of July 2006). This estimate was in good agreement with 3 other estimates from 3 other data sets yielding post-invasion excess death estimates that ranged (at that time) from 0.6 million to 0.8 million. As of February 2007, the Johns Hopkins estimate is 840,000 but if one uses the UN-derived "annual death rate" figures for Iraq's impoverished but peaceful neighbours Syria and Jordan as a baseline, the post-invasion excess deaths in Occupied Iraq total over 1.0 million.
However Bush, Blair and Australia’s Howard all baldly rejected the expert US research findings – this constituting explicit, unequivocal Genocide Denial.
Bush and Blair and their confrères need to be arraigned and tried for war crimes before the International Criminal Court (ICC) as recommended by UK Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter but the US, like Apartheid Israel, rejects the authority of the ICC. However under No-penalty Genocide Denial Criminalization (NGDC) Bush and Blair could be immediately tried (in absentia if need be) and publicly disgraced by being proven guilty of Genocide Denial.
Consult UNICEF and you will quickly find that 0.5 million under-5 year old infants are dying every year in the Occupied Iraqi and Afghan Territories – but this is resolutely ignored by Mainstream media and politicians (but, however, see morally respectable MWC News).
Do YOUR bit against the Bush and Bush-ite War on Women and Children - write your local media, Congressmen or Members of Parliament. The World urgently needs No-penalty Genocide Denial Criminalization (NGDC) - NOW.