Saturday 15 June 2013

Karachayevo-Cherkessia Parliamentarians Demand Genocide Denial Be Designated a Criminal Offense

Regnum -- At the June 13 session of the National Assembly (Parliament) of Karachayevo-Cherkessia, deputies passed a resolution on submitting to the Russian State Duma a draft federal law "On Amendments to the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation", which prescribes penalties for denying  or trying to justify genocide, a correspondent for the REGNUM news agency reports.

Karachayevo-Cherkessia law-makers propose to add to Article 357.1 of the Criminal Code and introduce penalties for the public denial, justification, approval or understatement of the scale of acts of genocide (political repression) expressed at a meeting or other public event with the aim of defending those who committed these crimes, or with the aim expressing solidarity with them. It is proposed to introduce a penalty of up to 1 million rubles [$31,515, EUR 23,618], or compulsory works for a period of up to 320 hours. It is proposed to penalize the same acts committed via the mass media by a fine of up to 2 million rubles, or by imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years.

The legislative initiative was initiated by the chairman of the committee on nationality policy, foreign relations, local government and non-profit organizations of the Karachayevo-Cherkessia Legislative Assembly, Ahmad Ebzeyev. The parliamentarian explained in an interview with REGNUM that the bill must undergo the procedure of approval by the State Duma Council before State Duma deputies begin to review it.

Commenting to REGNUM on this initiative by regional deputies, the author of the idea of criminalizing denial of instances of genocide, head of the Department of History of the Fatherland at the Karachayevo-Cherkessia State University, Doctor of Historical Sciences Professor Rustam Begeulov noted that a legislative ban on the justification or denial in the media, scientific publications or during mass events of repressions on ethnic, race, religious or class grounds should in the first instance reduce the intensity of the discussion of such issues. “This should strengthen the realization in society that any attempt to justify such crimes is inadmissible. The discussions have long since gone beyond a purely historical framework and are continually acquiring emotional and political overtones, all of which simply hinders normal research by scholars and historians whom first one side then the other tries to accuse of bias and taking the side of a particular nation,” Begeulov thinks.

We would remind you that the idea of introducing a bill criminalizing denial or justification of genocide was publicly proposed on 17 May at an international conference in Cherkessk entitled "The Rights of Repressed Peoples in the World Today (a propos the 70th Anniversary of the Deportation of the Peoples of Southern Russia)." The plans to introduce this bill were announced at  the conference by the keynote speaker, Karachayevo-Cherkessia parliament deputy speaker Ruslan Khabov, who is the leader of the public organization Karachai Alan Halk that represents the Karachais. His report analyzed the extent to which the basic legal acts of the Russian Federation concerning the rehabilitation of repressed peoples have been implemented, and expressed the intention of the regional parliament to propose to the State Duma including in the Criminal Code provisions for liability for the public approval or justification of all kinds of repression on the basis of ethnicity.

This article was published by REGNUM and is translated from Russian.