Holocaust denial is illegal in a number of European countries: Austria
(article 3h Verbotsgesetz 1947), Belgium
(Belgian Negationism Law
), the Czech Republic
under section 261, France
130 (3) of the penal code) also the Auschwitzlüge law section 185, Lithuania
, The Netherlands
under articles 137c and 137e, Poland
(article 261bis of the Penal Code). In addition, under Law 5710-1950 it is also illegal in Israel
The following punishments are used with regards to Holocaust Denial Laws: Austria (min: six months, max: twenty years (violent), ten years (non-violent)), Belgium (min: fine, max: one year), Czech Republic (min: six months, max: two years), France (min: fine/one month, max: two years), Germany (min: fine/six months max: five years), Israel (min: one year, max: five years), Lithuania (min: fine/two years, max: ten years (violent)), Poland (min: fine/three months, max: three years), Romania (min: six months, max: three years (public offender), five years (public servant offender)), Slovakia (min: fine/one month, max: three years) and Switzerland (min: fine/one year, max: fifteen months).
Many of these countries also have broader laws against libel or inciting racial hatred, as do a number of countries that do not specifically have laws against Holocaust denial, such as Canada and the United Kingdom. The Council of Europe's 2003 Additional Protocol to the Convention on Cyber Crime
, concerning the criminalisation of acts of a racist and xenophobic nature committed through computer systems includes an article 6 titled Denial, gross minimisation, approval or justification of genocide or crimes against humanity
, though this does not have the status of law.
Of the countries that ban Holocaust denial, a number (Austria, Germany, Romania and Slovakia) were among the perpetrators of the Holocaust
, and many of these also ban other elements associated with Nazism, such as Nazi symbols. Additionally, scholars have pointed out that countries that specifically ban Holocaust denial generally have legal systems that limit speech in other ways, such as banning hate speech. In the words of D. Guttenplan, this is a split between the "common law countries
of the US, Britain, and former British colonies from the civil law countries of continental Europe
. In civil law
countries the law is generally more proscriptive. Also under the civil law regime the judge acts more as an inquisitor, gathering and presenting evidence as well as interpreting it"