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Lithuania: Denial of Soviet Occupation Criminalized

(Oct. 5, 2009) On September 30, 2009, the Parliament of Lithuania adopted amendments to the nation's Criminal Code that introduce criminal responsibility for denial or justification of crimes against humanity committed by the Soviet Union or Nazi Germany. These amendments were passed in order to meet the requirements of the European Council Framework Decision on Action to Combat Racism and Xenophobia, even though the opposition in the Lithuanian Parliament stated that the amended law will “politicize history.” (Prison for Justification of the USSR [in Russian], GAZETA.RU, Sept. 30, 2009, available at [based on an INTERFAX news report]; Texts Adopted: Framework Decision on Combating Racism and Xenophobia, European Parliament website, June 21, 2007, available at

According to the new amendments, punishment in the form of a fine or deprivation of freedom for a period of up to two years will be imposed on those who are found guilty of publicly expressing approval or denial of the Soviet or Nazi German aggression against Lithuania or who diminish the significance of these acts. Similar responsibility is also introduced for libeling or diminishing the role of participants in the Lithuanian resistance movement, who from 1944 to 1953 conducted an organized military resistance to the Soviet occupation. (GAZETA.RU, supra.)