One way in which states attempted to bring about justice on an international
for a was through processes of "lustration". It is related to the process of
"vetting", which is, in general terms, evaluation and examination process in
order to eliminate abusive and corrupted officials through due procedure. As a
rule vetting is used as the tool in post-conflict situations in order to rebuild
the society based on democratic values.
Lustration (from Latin lustratio
- "purification by sacrifice") is
presently being used as the "term meaning the "purification" of state
organizations from their "sins" under the communist regime and it is mainly used
in the context of public life of post-communist Central and Eastern Europe".
To define lustration very broadly, it is a measure barring officials and
collaborators of a former regime from positions of public influence in a country
after a revolutionary change of government. Various states adopted various laws
relating to lustration in Central and Eastern Europe some of which were
significantly stricter than others, and all of which were adopted at different
times in the early to mid-90s. Few of the most important issues relating to the
most recent acts of lustration are in Poland which have been highly problematic
from a human rights standpoint.
In spite of the fact that there were a few plans to embrace a lustration law
amid the 1990s , the political atmosphere was to such an extent that the
enactment never experienced. In the early post-socialist years, the
administration's way to deal with history was to draw a "thick line" between the
socialist past and the new time, focusing on the future and the monetary circle.
Poland's first lustration act, in this way, was not embraced until 1997.
This Lustration Act 1997 was in consistence with the Resolution 1096 gone by the
Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on measures to destroy the
legacy of previous socialist authoritarian frameworks. The Council of Europe
Parliamentarians expressed in their 1996 goals that "the key to peaceful
coexistence and a successful transition process lies in striking the delicate
balance of providing justice without seeking revenge".
Despite the fact that the Resolution is non-authoritative, it has affected the
"spirit" of the Lustration Act 1997 in Poland demonstrating the adherence of the
Polish state to the qualities perceived and shared by the part conditions of the
Council of Europe. Lustration Act 1997 arranged formally with the human rights
arrangements in the Polish Constitution and worldwide instruments approved by
It necessitated that abnormal state chose authorities present an affirmation
pronouncing regardless of whether they had worked together with the mystery
police in past years. The law was planned to center around retribution with the
past, and there were no lawful outcomes aside from the individuals who were
thought about lustration liars, implying that they had lied in their sworn
statement and that this lie had been confirmed by the Commissioner of Public
Interest and they had been condemned.
The significance of the previously mentioned legitimate arrangement lies in the
way that the "correctional" impact of the law would be pertinent just to those
individuals who had lied in their affirmations. On the off chance that the
individual had honestly announced his/her joint effort with the past
administration, none of the approvals would be material in that circumstance and
it could be loaded just with open judgment towards exercises of the individual
The attention was made on the admission itself instead of on any approvals
material for those teaming up with the socialist administration. Regardless, the
social outcomes of having been related with the past administration could be
There were a few protests to the law, in spite of the fact that Adam Bodnar from
the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights says:
"Many of the issues lay in the implementation of the law rather than in its
substance". In the case, Matyjek v. Poland
 , manage Article 6 of the
European Convention on Human Rights � the privilege to a reasonable preliminary,
and subsequently it was concerned fundamentally with procedural issues.
The Court has discovered the infringement of Article 6 of the Convention as the
"applicant's rights were seriously curtailed due to confidentiality of the
documents and the limitations of access to his case file placing an unrealistic
burden on the applicant in practice and respectively contributing to the breach
of the principle of equality of arms".
This case was likewise essential in light of the fact that the choice was made
amid a time of extraordinary open discussion about the dependability of the
lustration demonstration, at that point being considered by the Constitutional
Tribunal. The Matyjek case served to raise open attention to the issue and
turned into a piece of the discussion on the human rights ramifications of
The new bill set forward by the parliament in 2006 and changed in 2007
significantly modified the procedure of lustration in Poland. It widened the
extent of the individuals who were required to be lustrated to incorporate
countless. This new law included jury alia judges, legal advisors, charge
counsellors, guaranteed bookkeepers, court requirement officers, columnists,
ambassadors, city authorities, college educators, heads of open and private
instructive organizations, heads of state-controlled organizations.
And individuals from the administration and supervisory sheets of organizations
recorded on the stock trade. These people were obliged to present an oath about
regardless of whether they coordinated with state security organs of the Polish
People's Republic (PPR) from 1944 to 1990.
Moreover, under the new law, non-accommodation of an oath had indistinguishable
outcomes from being a lustration liar. In the two cases the outcome was the
prohibition from open life for a long time. While the past law had influenced
around 36,000 individuals, the new law was evaluated to influence somewhere in
the range of 400,000 and 700,000 individuals.
Human Rights associations, and also individuals from the media and people in
general have addressed whether the majority of the callings incorporated into
the law truly represent a noteworthy threat to human rights or vote based system
in contemporary Poland, particularly given the way that 18 years have gone since
the fall of the authoritarian framework.
This law incited a warmed contention both universally and among the Polish open.
There were grievances that it abused the privilege to work, "which incorporates
the privilege of everybody to the chance to pick up his living by work which he
unreservedly picks or acknowledges".
The incorporation of writers and researchers as classes of individuals who were
liable to lustration prompted contentions that the law debilitated the right to
speak freely which shapes the major premise of a vote-based system. In the end,
the law was brought before the Constitutional Tribunal and numerous arrangements
were announced to be unlawful.
Written By: Dr Farrukh Khan
- Application No. 38184/03, https://hudoc.echr.coe.int/fre?i=001-80219
- Draft on Lustration Act of October 18, 2006 prepared by Law and Justice
Member of Parliament Arkadiusz Mularczyk, that faced serious resistance from
is an Advocate and Managing Partner of Law
Firm- Diwan Advocates.
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