Memory Laws

    • Memory Laws and Security

      Security concerns are rarely openly invoked for the justification or in the preambles of memory laws – laws endorsing certain narratives about the past, often aimed at strengthening the collective identity of a nation or community. However, the notion of ‘security’ is invoked in broader debates over the legal governance of collective memory.

      Verfassungsblog- 88 Leser -
    • Law and Historical Memory: Theorising the Discipline

      Western history is largely a history of writing its own history. From Thucydides, Livy and Tacitus to our own time, most of what we call ‘History’ consists of ‘histories’ – events situated in time and place to instruct contemporaries and posterity. With the Enlightenment, however, questions start to arise as to whether ‘History’ is something more.

      Verfassungsblog- 74 Leser -
    • The Right to the Truth for the Families of Victims of the Katyń Massacre

      In recent decades, the jurisprudence of international human rights tribunals has aimed at crystallising the “right to the truth”. This concept was developed in the context of enforced disappearances in South American countries but has also been invoked in dealing with the past in Europe, for instance in the case of accounting for the crimes of the Franco regime.

      Verfassungsblog- 71 Leser -
  • Final Thoughts on Mnemonic Constitutionalism

    … in light of its parallel rehabilitation of the “good tsar” killed by Bolsheviks and revival of religious Orthodox obscurantism, once successfully supressed by the same communists. Why Ukrainian Memory Laws Stand Out as Possibly Only Justifiable at the Moment? In this respect, Ukrainian de-communization laws were clearly adopted as an attempt…

    Verfassungsblog- 66 Leser -
  • Memory Politics and Academic Freedom: Some Recent Controversies in Greece

    … or grossly trivializing crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes” (Article 1(1)(d)). In a number of EU Member States, similar legislation precedes this decision. Legislation of this kind expresses our collective malaise towards atrocities committed by mankind. Nevertheless, it inevitably leads to imposing an official version…

    Verfassungsblog- 61 Leser -


  • The Kundera Case and the Neurotic Collective Memory of Postcommunism

    … in the present only reaffirms them and confirms the unjust status of their victims. Not to contend with the past injustices thus compromises the legitimacy of the present system of positive law. To deal, or not to deal with the past, indeed, is an important question. However, it is also inseparable from questions of which past is to be dealt…

    Verfassungsblog- 51 Leser -
  • Memory Wars of Commercial Worth – The Legal Status of the Red Star in Hungary

    … affairs in defense of national historical memory. The proposition presents serious complications to one of the fundamental freedoms of the European single market – the free movement of goods. Although the provision is not in force yet, if it ever makes it through parliament, its implementation will be problematic at best. Not only would several…

    Verfassungsblog- 45 Leser -
  • Memory Politics in Hungary: Political Justice without Rule of Law

    …. This new article, passed after 23 years of solid democracy and a working system of the rule of law, revisits the settlements made during the immediate transition from communist dictatorship to democracy by reopening possible cases against former communist officials. While the law could potentially serve the aim of accountability, in the only case opened…

    Gábor Halmai/ Verfassungsblog- 58 Leser -
  • Memory Laws: Historical Evidence in Support of the “Slippery Slope” Argument

    … tendency, for it openly protects the memory of an oppressive regime against that of its victims. The only similar legislation is Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code, which, in 2005, criminalized insults to the Turkish state and which is normally used against those who recognize the extermination of the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as a genocide…

    Verfassungsblog- 39 Leser -
  • Law and Memory

    … Hanna Arendt warned that the fragile truth of historical facts was vulnerable not only to being forgotten but also to manipulation (Arendt, Human Condition, Chicago University Press 1958, p. 232). However, she was probably not referring to a necessity to introduce so-called memory laws, which represent an attempt by governments to legally…

    Verfassungsblog- 58 Leser -
  • Rule of Law in Poland: Memory Politics and Belarusian Minority

    … In recent years, the Verfassungsblog has commented extensively on the decline of the rule of law in Hungary and Poland. While most of the contributors have unfolded the dramatic changes regarding judicial independence in these countries, two facets of this decline, in my view, have not received sufficient attention in light of the ongoing…

    Verfassungsblog- 85 Leser -
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