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International Legal Rulings on Lustration Policies in Central and Eastern Europe: Rule of Law in Historical Context

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 December 2018

Abstract

The transitional justice literature highlights various trade‐offs involved in the choice and implementation of lustration as a transitional justice measure in Central and Eastern Europe. This article examines how international legal body rulings on lustration laws have interpreted rule‐of‐law versus justice concerns. The European Court of Human Rights and the International Labour Organization have explored possible information problems, due process violations, employment discrimination issues, and bureaucratic loyalty concerns within the context of lustration. Three findings emerge from their legal rulings. First, contrary to popular notions, international legal bodies are not antilustration. The institutions are engaging with questions regarding the fair implementation, not the legality, of lustration laws. Second, the prioritizing of justice concerns during the transition efforts is highlighted as a way to lay a strong democratic foundation. Third, the organizations have emphasized the importance of placing rule of law in historical context, thereby situating post‐Communist societies within other posttotalitarian regime‐building narratives.

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Articles
Copyright
Copyright © American Bar Foundation, 2009 

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