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Gayssot Act

gayssot action, gayssot act registration
The Gayssot Act or Gayssot Law French: Loi Gayssot, enacted on 13 July 1990, makes it an offense in France to question the existence or size of the category of crimes against humanity as defined in the London Charter of 1945, on the basis of which Nazi leaders were convicted by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg in 1945-46 art9

Communist deputy Jean-Claude Gayssot proposed the law It is one of several European laws prohibiting Holocaust denial Its first article states that "any discrimination founded on membership or non-membership of an ethnic group, a nation, a race or a religion is prohibited" The law also requires the Commission nationale consultative des droits de l'homme National Consultative Commission on Human Rights, created in 1947, to publish an annual report on relations between ethnicities in France


  • 1 Previous legislation
    • 11 Marchandeau Decree 1939
    • 12 Pleven Law 1972
  • 2 Legal challenges
  • 3 See also
  • 4 References
  • 5 External links

Previous legislationedit

Marchandeau Decree 1939edit

At the request of the International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism, Paul Marchandeau, center-right Justice Minister in the 1938-1939 third and fourth Daladier governments, issued the decree of 21 April 1939 amending the Law on the Freedom of the Press of 29 July 1881 by providing prosecution "when defamation or insult committed against a group of persons, by their origin, race or religion, will have been designed to arouse hatred among citizens or residents" translated This decree was repealed by the law of the Vichy collaborationist government of 16 August 194012 The decree came again into force after the Liberation of France in 1944 by an ordinance of 9 August 1944 repealing most of the Vichy legislation34

Pleven Law 1972edit

René Pleven, center-right5 Justice Minister in the Chaban-Delmas and Messmer governments in 1969-1973, proposed in 1972 a new law against racism, which was unanimously adopted by the National Assembly, the 72-546 1st July 1972 Law pertaining to the fight against racism This law came as a requisite after France's ratification in 1971 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination It differed considerably from the 1939 decree which gave to the sole prosecutor's office the right to initiate a procedure, whereas the 1972 law allowed any representative organization to initiate a legal procedure

Legal challengesedit

After Robert Faurisson was removed from his university chair under the Gayssot Act, he challenged it as a violation of his right to freedom of expression under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ICCPR The Human Rights Committee upheld the condemnation of Faurisson, but mentioned that the Gayssot Act may be too broad6

The French Constitutional Court's ruling that the Gayssot Act is constitutional but that the 2012 Armenian Genocide Denial Law was unconstitutional because it violated freedom of speech, has been challengedcitation needed

See alsoedit

  • Historical revisionism negationism
  • Robert Faurisson
  • Laws against Holocaust denial
  • Expulsion of Romani people from France


  1. ^ Liauzu, Claude 1999 La société française face au racisme French Society Face to Face with Racism in French Editions Complexe p 190 ISBN 978-2870277423 
  2. ^ "Abrogation du décret-loi interdisant les insultes raciales", Loi du 27 août 1940, portant abrogation du décret-loi du 21 avril 1939 modifiant la loi du 29 juillet 1991, Journal officiel, 30 August 1940
  3. ^ Gilles Devers, "Vichy: L'antisémitisme légalisé", Actualité du droit, 25 July 2010
  4. ^ "Ordonnance du 9 août 1944 relative au rétablissement de la légalité républicaine sur le territoire continental", Journal officiel
  5. ^ former leader 1947-1953, before François Mitterrand, of the centrist Democratic and Socialist Union of the Resistance, then affiliated to various center-right splinter parliamentary groups
  6. ^ Communication No 550/1993 : France 16/12/96 CCPR/C/58/D/550/1993, Human Rights Committee, Fifty-eighth session, 21 October - 8 November 1996

External linksedit

  • Text of the law, Légifrance in French

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