Polish President Andrzej Duda signed Poland’s controversial new Holocaust bill late Tuesday ahead of it being assessed by the country’s Constitutional Tribunal.
The law would make it illegal to accuse the nation of complicity in crimes committed by Nazi Germany, including the Holocaust.
It would also ban the use of terms such as “Polish death camps” in relation to Auschwitz and other such camps located in Nazi-occupied Poland.
Violations will be punished by a fine or a jail sentence of up to three years.
Duda’s spokesman, Krzysztof Lapinski, confirmed the bill had been signed.
The President’s office says the majority of the legislation will take effect 14 days after it appears at the country’s Journal of Laws – which could happen as early as Wednesday. The rest of the legislation will come into force within three months.
The bill will also be reviewed by the country’s Constitutional Tribunal to ensure it doesn’t breach the Polish constitution.
The decision to sign the bill into law has already attracted criticism from the US, Israel and France.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the law “adversely affects freedom of speech and academic inquiry.”
In a statement, he added: “The United States reaffirms that terms like ‘Polish death camps’ are painful and misleading. Such historical inaccuracies affect Poland, our strong ally, and must be combated in ways that protect fundamental freedoms. We believe that open debate, scholarship, and education are the best means of countering misleading speech.”
On Tuesday, Duda told a news conference that he was aware of the “sensitivities” around this bill, including a “fear that it will not be possible to tell the truth – that it will gag the survivors.”
The decision is likely to anger Israel, which has been vociferous in its criticism of the bill, accusing Poland of trying to rewrite history.
Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Tuesday it would continue to discuss the bill with Poland.
“We hope that within allotted time until the court’s deliberations are concluded, we will manage to agree on changes and corrections,” the spokesperson said.
“Israel and Poland hold a joint responsibility to research and preserve the history of the Holocaust.”
While there is a consensus among historians that certain Polish individuals and groups did collaborate with the Nazi occupiers, recent Polish governments have sought to challenge that narrative.
At least 3 million Polish Jews and 1.9 million non-Jewish citizens were killed during the Holocaust, according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust overall.
In a statement released Tuesday, Yad Vashem, the world Holocaust remembrance center based in Jerusalem, labeled Duda’s decision to sign the bill “unfortunate.”
CNN’s Simon Cullen contributed to this report.