HE Mr Juraj Zervan
Embassy of the Slovak Republic
25 Kensington Palace Gardens
London W8 4QY
1 September 2011
AMENDMENT OF PENAL CODE:
‘CRIMES OF THE REGIME WHICH WAS BASED ON COMMUNIST IDEOLOGY’
We are writing to ask that you convey to the Government of the Slovak Republic the protest of the Communist Party of Britain at the amendment to the Republic’s penal code which comes into force on 1 September specifying prison sentences of up to three years for anyone who denies or tries to justify the “crimes of the regime which was based on the communist ideology.”
We would ask your government to note that this amendment contravenes the requirements of the European Convention on Human Rights regarding freedom of expression.
We would also ask your government to note the recent finding by the Polish Constitutional Tribunal regarding the parallel amendment of article 256 of Poland’s Penal Code which it judged to be violating the principle of freedom of expression and of acquiring and disseminating information on the grounds of its breadth and uncertainty of application.
The amendment to the Slovak Republic’s penal code would seem similarly to violate these principles and prevent any rounded assessment of the strengths and failures of the governments prior to 1989. It specifically links any crimes to ‘communist ideology’ in a way that is a direct denial of freedom of expression.
Your government will be aware that communist ideology was susceptible to many different interpretations in the years after 1945, still is today and that your government’s actions would appear to align it with extreme right forces across in Europe.