The Denier’s Intent<sup>1</sup>

Thomas Hochmann

in Genocide Denials and the Law

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780199738922
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199895199 | DOI:
The Denier’s Intent1

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This chapter addresses the question of whether the proof of a “conscious lie” is relevant in sentencing a denier. Such an inquiry necessitates the acceptance of a rather counterintuitive hypothesis, namely the very possibility of a bona fide denier. The first part of the chapter is devoted to the psychology of denial. Do deniers really believe in the truth of their statements, or are they lying? Do they intend to stir up hatred or merely establish the truth? It distinguishes two issues: one of hate and the other of bad faith. It seems plausible that an individual denying mala fide a crime against humanity is driven by hate, whereas a hypothetical bona fide denier is not. It presents some hypotheses concerning the psychology of denial, which serve as avenues for the legal analysis which is developed in the second part of the chapter.

Keywords: denial psychology; racism; conscious lie; hate; bad faith

Chapter.  17524 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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