Already convicted in France on numerous occasions for racial insults or incitement to hatred, Dieudonné M’Bala M’Bala had been sentenced in July 2021 at first instance in Geneva for “racial discrimination, defamation and insult”. This was his first conviction in Switzerland.
According to information obtained by the Tribune de Genève, the Geneva Criminal Appeal and Review Chamber confirmed this sentence, namely the payment of 180 day-fines at 170 francs per day, or 30,600 francs (28,200 euros).
At issue in this case, the denial remarks on the gas chambers that Dieudonné made one of his characters make in his show between January 4 and 6, 2019, at the Théâtre de Marens in Nyon, and the 28 and 29 June 2019, at the CAC Voltaire Cinema Animation Center in Geneva.
During his trial, Dieudonné claimed that it was not he who said the phrase during the show, but his “character”. The argument had been swept away by the president of the Geneva police court, and the court of appeal has just done the same.
According to this court, quoted by the Tribune de Genève, the artist expressed “his contempt for the victims of the Shoah and his desire to create controversy” and undermined “human dignity and public peace”. .
“It cannot be held that he was parodying a Holocaust denier, like Charlie Chaplin parodying Hitler (…) in the absence of any verbal or clothing element going in this direction”, writes the judge of the court Vincent Fournier , still quoted by the newspaper.
– “A victory for the Cicad” –
The court of first instance had also found him guilty of “insulting” towards the Swiss Intercommunity Coordination against Anti-Semitism and Defamation (Cicad), for remarks made with regard to this non-profit association. lucrative during the performance on June 28, 2019.
The polemicist had also been convicted of “defamation” for remarks made on November 22, 2019 concerning the secretary general of the Cicad, Johanne Gurfinkiel, during an interview given on a YouTube channel in Geneva.
According to the newspaper, the polemicist will also have to pay the appeal costs (2,195 francs). But also the defense costs (2,638 francs) of the Cicad and those of its secretary general.
The decision of the Criminal Appeal and Review Chamber against Dieudonné was handed down on April 28, Mr. Gurfinkiel told AFP on Sunday.
“By this decision, the Court of Justice confirms the entirety of the first instance judgment and declares Dieudonné guilty of racial discrimination, defamation and insult”, he said. “It’s a victory for Cicad”.
He underlines, however, that recent information on performances in Switzerland does not fail to challenge the Cicad, before specifying: “With his Dieudobus, he should survey French-speaking Switzerland in June, in particular Geneva, Lausanne and Neuchâtel”.