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