Framework Decision on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law

The purpose of this Framework Decision is to ensure that certain serious manifestations of racism and xenophobia are punishable by effective, proportionate and dissuasive criminal penalties throughout the European Union (EU). Furthermore, it aims to improve and encourage judicial cooperation in this field.

ACT

Council Framework Decision 2008/913/JHA of 28 November 2008 on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law.

SUMMARY

As a follow-up to Joint Action 96/443/JHA, this Framework Decision provides for the approximation of laws and regulations of EU countries on offences involving certain manifestations of racism and xenophobia. Certain serious manifestations of racism and xenophobia must constitute an offence in all EU countries and be punishable by effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalties.

This Framework Decision applies to all offences committed:

Hate speech

Certain forms of conduct as outlined below, are punishable as criminal offences:

Instigating, aiding or abetting in the commission of the above offences is also punishable.

With regard to these offences listed, EU countries must ensure that they are punishable by:

With regard to legal persons, the penalties must be effective, proportionate and dissuasive and must consist of criminal or non-criminal fines. In addition, legal persons may be punished by:

The initiation of investigations or prosecutions of racist and xenophobic offences must not depend on a victim’s report or accusation.

Hate crime

In all cases, racist or xenophobic motivation shall be considered to be an aggravating circumstance or, alternatively, the courts must be empowered to take such motivation into consideration when determining the penalties to be applied.

REFERENCES

Act

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Framework Decision 2008/913/JHA

6.12.2008

28.11.2010

OJ L 328 of 6.12.2008

RELATED ACTS

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the implementation of Council Framework Decision 2008/913/JHA on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law [ COM(2014) 27 final of 27.1.2014 - not published in the Official Journal].

The report highlights the fact that a number of EU countries have not transposed fully and/or correctly all the provisions of the Framework Decision, in particular in relation to the offences of denying, condoning and grossly trivialising certain international crimes.

The majority of EU countries are equipped with provisions criminalising public incitement to racist and xenophobic violence and hatred but a number of them do not fully transpose the offences covered by the Framework Decision. Gaps also remain in relation to the approach taken on racist and xenophobic motivation, the liability of legal persons and jurisdiction.

The Commission is engaging in bilateral dialogues with EU countries in the course of 2014 with a view to ensuring full and correct transposition of the Decision.

Last updated: 15.06.2014