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Post-Communist Transitional Justice at 25: Unresolved Dilemmas

[journal article]

Ciobanu, Monica

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Please use the following Persistent Identifier (PID) to cite this document:http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0168-ssoar-411772

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Abstract The main purpose of this article is to assess the relationship between transitional justice and democratization in post-communist Eastern Europe since the fall of communism in 1989. The analysis is focused on the role of lustration and the opening of communist secret police files in encouraging accountability and promoting the rule of law. An overview of these developments in the countries of the region – including Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia – emphasizes the different approaches undertaken in dealing with the abuses and crimes committed by previous non-democratic governments. These differences are examined in relationship to three interrelated variables: (1) the exit mode from communism; (2) the nature of the communist regime; and (3) the politics of the present. The second part of the article provides an extensive analysis of the Romanian case, whose specificity lies in its violent and abrupt exit from communism. The unfinished reckoning with the past in Romania leads us to two main conclusions. First, the nature of communist elites and the opposition to them are of equal importance in understanding how the politics of the present shapes the way in which the past is addressed. Second, in the absence of any real possible reconciliation through public exposure – at least symbolically – of those involved in repression, delayed transitional justice is ineffective.
Keywords post-communist society; transition; democratization; judiciary; constitutional state; coming to terms with the past; Romania; Eastern Europe
Classification Political Process, Elections, Political Sociology, Political Culture
Free Keywords lustration
Document language English
Publication Year 2014
Page/Pages p. 119-136
Journal Annals of the University of Bucharest / Political science series, 16 (2014) 2
ISSN 1582-2486
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works