TIMELINE - (Reuters) -
Vatican says Holocaust-denying bishop's apology not enough
The Vatican said on Friday that an apology by a traditionalist bishop who denied the Holocaust fell short of meeting the Holy See's demand for a full and public recanting of his position.
The Vatican issued its statement a day after British Bishop Richard Williamson apologised for the pain his comments had caused.
Brussels - Germany could demand the extradition of British bishop Richard Williamson to try him for Holocaust denial, Berlin's justice minister said Friday. "In principle, the offence falls under the rules of the European Arrest Warrant. That means that Germany could indeed issue such a warrant," Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries told journalists in Brussels after a meeting with EU counterparts.
This is because an interview in which Williamson questioned the scale of the Holocaust, broadcast in Sweden, was recorded in Germany, giving the German courts jurisdiction, she said. The bishop is already under investigation in Germany for his comments.
Holocaust denial is a crime in Germany. It is not a specific crime in Britain, where laws limiting hate speech focus rather on instigation to hatred or violence.
If Germany were to issue an arrest warrant in his name, it would not automatically force the British government to extradite him, but would certainly force the authorities to take a very close look at the case.
Those comments were "unacceptable" and an "attack on reality," EU Justice Commissioner Jacques Barrot said on Friday.
But the EU does not yet have concerted rules in place which would allow for his prosecution, leaving the response in the hands of individual governments, he pointed out.
EU member states agreed a law criminalizing hate speech and incitement to violence in November, but "it is unfortunately too early to apply it, because it has not yet been written into national laws," Barrot said.
The justice ministers of the Czech Republic and Sweden - current and future holders of the EU's rotating presidency - said that any decision to prosecute Williamson for his comments would have to come from the courts in individual member states, not politicians.
That's all good for my petition still online