It has become axiomatic that for a society to move forward after experiencing mass atrocity, it must acknowledge the “truth” of what happened, through trials, truth commissions, and other methods. In reality, however, many societies have dealt with mass atrocities in the opposite manner: they have denied that the atrocities happened or the society’s part in committing such acts. In response to instances of historical denial, some countries have turned to criminal and international law.
These efforts raise serious questions for any liberal democracy about free speech and the limits of historical debate Can forbidding genocide denial be justified in the context of freedom of speech and anti-discrimination laws? What should states do in the face of racist rhetoric that deploys denial as a tool of racist argument threatening annihilation of a group? Limits on speech are not the only means of countering denial. States have mandated educational programs to promote historical memory and combat denial of mass crimes. These programs raise further questions about defining history. What is historical truth? Who decides its contours? Similar questions can be asked of the truth commissions many countries have implemented to acknowledge past crimes and create repositories of information to prevent future denial.
Experts from a variety of fields, including Deborah Lipstadt, Slavenka Drakulic, Paul van Zyl, Taner Akcam, and other distinguished guests, will address the questions raised by both denial and the methods used to counter it.
Dates: DECEMBER 3-4, 2006
Location: Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law-- 55 Fifth Avenue at 12th Street-- New York, NY 10003
For more information, please visit
Registration is free, but advance registration is required by November 27.
To register, please call 212-790-0455 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name, telephone number, e-mail address, and whether you will be seeking CLE credit.
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