December 8, 2021 — New York
American Jewish Committee (AJC) today expressed deep concern about the efforts of some political factions in Bosnia-Herzegovina to remove the country’s legal ban on denial of the Holocaust and other genocides.
The country’s criminal code was appropriately amended in July by Valentin Inzko, an Austrian diplomat who served as the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina from 2009 to 2021, to impose penalties on those who engage in genocide denial. The measure, intended to sanction those who would deny the Holocaust or other genocides, such as what befell Bosnian Muslims during the Yugoslav wars, is in line with legislation in many other European states.
In recent days, however, Croat and Serb nationalist leaders in Bosnia-Herzegovina have joined forces to vote for removing this ban from the criminal code.
AJC, cognizant of the different legal traditions in Europe and the United States, considers this to be a misguided and dangerous measure that will embolden those who would willfully distort and deny these tragic historical facts and threaten to upend the ethnic balance of the country that has been in place since the 1995 Dayton Accords.