Roland Henri Theofiel Raes
4 September 1934
Roland Henri Theofiel (Roeland) Raes (born 4 September 1934) is a Belgian politician, a former senator for and vice president of the political party Vlaams Blok. Raes took a dr. iur. (J.D.) at Ghent University.
He became politically active in 1955, when he became a member of the Volksunie. He was senator for Vlaams Blok from 1995 until 2002. At the moment he is Vlaams Belang chapter leader of Lovendegem, member of the Vlaams Belang party board of the district Gent-Eeklo and (as a former senator) member of the national party council of the Vlaams Belang. He works at the party headquarters in Brussels as an archivarian.
Holocaust denial trial
Roeland Raes stepped down as senator and party vice president after accusations of Nazi sympathies. He was charged with Holocaust denial in accordance with the Belgian Holocaust denial law after saying on Dutch television: "I doubt the systematism of the extermination of the Jews and I also doubt the number of deaths, [...] and also whether camps such as Auschwitz were all meant to be extermination camps" During the interview, Raes however had no doubts about the systematic persecution and deportation of Jews by the Nazis.
The original complaint goes back to 2001. Meanwhile, the mother video tape with the full interview, which could have shed light on the context, got lost, so the evidence that can be used in the trial is limited to the parts of the interview that have been broadcast.
Early 2006, at the Public Prosecutor's request and after a hearing in chambers, the charges were dropped, but after an appeal by the Forum of Jewish Organisations, the case was resumed. In December 2008, he was given a suspended sentence of 4 months imprisonment. The Forum of Jewish Organisations and the Centre for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism received 1,000 EUR damages.
The Brussels court of appeal on 15 September 2010 confirmed Raes was guilty of negationism, and awarded 1,800 EUR damages to each organisation. He did not receive a sentence, because the court decided the case had taken unreasonably long.
- (in Dutch) Oud-senator Roeland Raes schuldig aan negationisme (Former Senator Roeland Raes guilty of negationism), De Standaard, 15 September 2010.
- Ben-Moshe, Danny, "The State of Holocaust Negation" (pp. 143–144) in Kwiet and Matthaus (eds), Contemporary Responses to the Holocaust (Praeger Series on Jewish and Israeli Studies, pp. 139–176. Westport: Praeger, 2004. ISBN 0-275-97466-9.
- Annemie Dillen; Didier Pollefeyt (2006). God overal en nergens?: theologie, pastoraal en onderwijs uitgedaagd door een "sacraal reveil". ACCO. p. 337. ISBN 978-90-334-6239-9.
- Andrew Osborn, 'Belgium's far right party in Holocaust controversy ', The Guardian, Friday 9 March 2001
- (in Dutch) Centrum-Leman dient klacht in tegen Raes ("Centre-Leman files complaint against Raes"), De Standaard, Friday 16 March 2001
- (in Dutch) Humo, No. 3429, 23 May 2006, pg. 56
- (in Dutch) Roeland Raes krijgt 4 maanden met uitstel wegens negationisme (Roeland Raes gets 4 months suspended for negationism), De Standaard, 12 December 2008.
- (in Dutch) 'Veroordeling Raes krachtig signaal' (Conviction Raes powerful signal), De Standaard, 12 December 2008.