Lustration Laws and the Passage of Time

Lustration laws, which have been passed in nearly all the countries of the former Eastern bloc, have been perceived as an extraordinary measure, necessary during the phase of consolidation of the democratic political system. More than twenty five years after the transition, it is necessary to ask whether such measures can be justified in a stable democracy. Taking into account domestic legislation, judgments of Polish and foreign constitutional courts and transitional justice literature, the article argues that Polish lustration, seen as a historical clarification measure, can still promote important values, such as transparency of public life, truth about the past and ethical standards crucial for participation in the public sector. However, the passage of time makes it necessary to temporary reexamine the indispensability of such instruments, as well as to consider potential modifications thereof, which could lead to lesser interference with the rights of the citizens under scrutiny.

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