Frontmatter, incl. Table of contents

Memory and Punishment: Historical Denialism, Free Speech and the Limits of Criminal Law - International Criminal Justice Series

February 2018 Author: Dr. Emanuela Fronza , Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna, Italy



  • Published: February 2018
  • Pages: ca. 200 p.
  • Publisher: T.M.C. ASSER PRESS
  • Distributor: Springer

This book gives an overview of the introduction and evolution of the crime of denialism from synchronic as well as diachronic perspectives. The analysis includes different normative and judicial levels; it draws clear distinctions between potentially overlapping terms and combines a large interdisciplinary spectrum with a strict criminal law methodology.
The author does not investigate denialism as phenomenon, instead she concentrates rigorously on the criminalisation of denialist practices as a speech crime in Europe and discusses the implications of protecting historical institutional memory through criminal law. In doing so, the book goes beyond mere description; it also highlights problematic issues, i.e. those related to freedom of speech and the relation between criminal law and historical memory. Of great interest is the manner in which the criminalisation of denialism is related to major legal dynamics of the present time, namely the pivotal role of criminal law in the construction of a collective memory and the proliferation of ‘new’ speech crimes.
The book demonstrates the importance of a comparative study on denialism in a time of post-truth where the border between truth and false is hard to distinguish. It paves the way for a broader discussion about freedom of expression in a digital world, about fake news and post-truth scenarios, and ultimately about the need  to protect ascertained and verified facts from the pollution of misinformation and the tools with which to do so. In the so-called post-truth era, it becomes paramount to define the principles of what can and cannot be told, and to draw a line between the two areas. Historic denialism and the related jurisdiction represent a key step in exploring this complex field.

The book is primarily aimed at academics, practitioners and researchers who wish to deepen their knowledge and understanding of subjects such as Historical Denialism, remembrance laws, speech crimes and freedom of expression.
Emanuela Fronza is Senior Research Fellow in Criminal Law and Lecturer in International and European Criminal Law at the School of Law, University of Bologna. She is Principal Investigator within the EU research consortium “Memory Laws in European and Comparative Perspective” financed by HERA.

- Contains comparative legal analysis, a study of the dynamics of criminalization and an in-depth analysis of the trade-off and tensions between memory and oblivion, punishment and forgiveness, and between national and universal (international) dimensions.
- Offers a large and complete comparative description of the criminalisation of denialism.
- Combines a large interdisciplinary spectrum with a strict criminal law methodology.

Download more information

Frontmatter, incl. Table of contents