Application Number 12194/86

European Commission of Human Rights      

The applicant had prepared and disseminated various publications in the framework of an organization allegedly attempting to reinstitute the National Socialist Party. He was sentenced to over three years in prison for preparing and disseminating material of an unconstitutional organization. The Commission relied on Article 17, holding the application to be manifestly ill-founded.


Theme(s): Totalitarianism

Date: 12 May 1988

Description of applicant(s): Journalist

Brief description of facts: The applicant held a senior position in “ANS/NA,” an organization allegedly attempting to reinstitute the National Socialist Party (NSDAP) which was prohibited in Germany.  In this context, the applicant prepared and disseminated various publications.  For instance, in one entitled “Frankfurt Appeal,” he advocated the fight for an independent, socialist Greater Germany. Another pamphlet stated “We are called ‘Neo-Nazis’! So what! … We are against: bigwigs, bolshevists, Zionists, crooks, cheats and parasites. We are against: capitalism, communism, Zionism, estrangement by means of masses of foreign workers, destruction of the environment.” He was convicted of preparing and disseminating propaganda material appertaining to an unconstitutional organization and sentenced to 3 years and 4 months’ imprisonment.

(Alleged) target(s) of speech: Jews, immigrants

Commission’s assessment of the impugned speech: The Commission held that the speech ran counter to the values of the Convention and in seeking to exercise his freedom of expression, the applicant would be destroying the rights and freedoms set out therein.

Important paragraph(s) from the judgment:

The Commission considers that the applicant’s proposals thus ran counter to one of the basic values underlying the Convention as expressed in its fifth preambular paragraph, namely that the fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Convention “are best maintained … by an effective political democracy The Commission accordingly considers that the applicant’s policy clearly contains elements of racial and religious discrimination.

ECHR Article: Article 17

Decision: Manifestly ill-founded

Use of ‘hate speech’ by the Commission in its assessment? No