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(Jan 02, 2008) On December 10, 2007, President Viktor Yushchenko of Ukraine introduced amendments to the Criminal Code of Ukraine that were supported by the legislature. The new provisions added to the Criminal Code establish criminal responsibility for denying that the 1932-1933 famine was a genocide of the Ukrainian people and for denying the Holocaust of World War II as genocide of the Jews. Reportedly, between five and ten million people died in Ukraine in 1932-33, from a famine instigated by the anti-peasant policies of Soviet Communist authorities. According to the new amendments, a "wrong interpretation of history" will be punished with a fine of from 100 to 300 times the minimum monthly wage (approximately US$90-$270) or imprisonment for a period of up to two years. The repeated denial of the Ukrainian famine or the Holocaust as facts of a genocide or the distribution of related materials will be punished with deprivation of freedom for up to four years.

Even though the year 2008 has been declared the year of remembering famine victims, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) did not recognize the Ukrainian famine as a fact of genocide against the Ukrainian people, because Russian and Belarusian nationals were also victims of this catastrophe. Opponents of the amendments argue that they violate the constitutional right of freedom of speech and thought. ( Ukrainskii President Predlozhil Sazhat v Tiurmu Za Nepravilnoe Ponimanie Istorii ( Ukrainian President Will Imprison for Incorrect Understanding of History, in Russian), NEWSRU.COM, Dec. 10, 2007.)

Author: Peter Roudik More by this author
Topic: Crime and law enforcement More on this topic
Jurisdiction: Ukraine More about this jurisdiction

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Last updated: 01/02/2008