While Turkey is well-known for prosecuting statements about the Armenian genocide, there are no laws stating those goals explicitly. This recalls the situation in Germany before 1994 and France before 1990 when there were prosecutions of Holocaust deniers without Holocaust denial laws. In both countries, such laws were eventually adopted. This raises a question: why doesn’t Turkey have a law explicitly banning certain assertions about the past? The presentation aims at answering this question.
The paper discusses conflict of collective memories between Russia and Ukraine, which until recently shared a similar vision of history. It discusses fundamental shifts in Ukraine’s understanding of the WWII and its Soviet past to explain origins of the conflict with Russia and political reasons behind it. Considering that the conflict of memories is reflected in memory laws and judicial practices, the paper overviews recent memory laws and legislative memorial initiatives in Russia and Ukraine in context of freedom of speech and interstate relations.
The paper tackles the questions: what are the aims and methods of memory policies in Russia and Ukraine? What are the historical narratives supported by these states? Why have they been selected as the ‘official’ truths? What are the reasons for Russia-Ukraine memory wars and perspectives for further development (escalation or reconciliation)?
The presentation discusses the point of interconnect between historical policy and human rights law standards on the example of a de-communization law enacted in Poland in 2016 that reduces retirement pensions and other benefits to individuals who were employed or in service in selected state formations and institutions in 1944-1990, amending the law adopted in 2009. The Act of 16 December 2016 is analyzed in the light of the standards of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) on reckoning with the past as an element of transitional justice as well as applicable constitutional standards. The examination concludes that there is a discrepancy between the rationale to adopt this legislation in Poland, namely to reckon with the communist past and as such increase social trust in state institutions, and the legal solutions contained in the 2016 Act.