Lustration In Czech Republic And Slovakia Social Policy Essay

Twenty old ages after the Velvet Revolution ensuing in the alteration of government, common experiencing prevailing in both, Slovakia and the Czech Republic is disenchantment. Harmonizing to the latest polls of STEM bureau, forty old ages of communist subjugation would non deter 12.3 % Czechs to vote for the Communist Party in following election. In Slovakia, the Communist Party would bask merely 3.1 % support as FOCUS bureau discovered. However, it can non be concluded that Czechs excused leaders and confederates of former government whereas Slovaks did non.

These figures have to be seen in the visible radiation of attacks Slovakia and the Czech Republic pursued in get bying with their Communist past. Absence of the lustration jurisprudence in Slovakia caused that leaders and confederates of former government pervaded into new political system easy, and now can be found in many other parties throughout the political spectrum, apart from the Communist Party. Therefore, their existent support can non be verified. Whereas, the lustration jurisprudence in the Czech Republic disqualified leaders and confederates of former government from keeping public places.

This essay tries to reason that although attacks Slovakia and the Czech Republic pursued in get bying with their Communist past were wholly different, surprisingly, none of them led to satisfactory results. This essay chiefly nowadayss strengths and failings of the lustration jurisprudence adopted in 1991, as it applied to the Czech Republic and Slovakia together until its disintegration in 1993. Furthermore, with minor alterations, it has been valid since so in the Czech Republic. On the contrary, in Slovakia it expired in 1996. This essay describes unfavorable effects of absence of the lustration jurisprudence in Slovakia. However, it besides mentions harms its being and rigorous enforcement did in the Czech Republic.

While being a common province, Czechs and Slovaks pursued the same attitude in get bying with their Communist past. Its Federal Assembly passed the lustration jurisprudence as the first station communist authorities on October 4, 1991. This jurisprudence stated exactly who can and can non keep certain public places. A individual who was: “ member of State Secret Police ( hereinafter referred to as StB ) , occupant, agent, proprietor of “ confederacy level ” , betrayer, ideological or witting confederate of StB, high-ranked functionary of the Communist Party, member of People ‘s Militias, pupil, or researcher at one of the KGB universities for longer than three months, ” was excluded from public employment ( Act on Lustration 1991 ) . In add-on, this jurisprudence specified more exactly category witting confederate as “ individual recorded in StB files as confident or campaigner for coaction ” ( 1991 ) .

The lustration jurisprudence, valid until 1996, obliged everyone keeping a taking public place, including public endeavors, tribunals, media mercantile establishments and higher instruction establishments to necessitate the Interior Ministry for lustration certification, of 8-euro value ( Lustration Act 1991 ) . However, lustrations happened even before seting the lustration jurisprudence into life. The Federal Assembly already in January that twelvemonth passed a declaration in conformity with all members of parliament, curates, their deputies and civil retainers had to be screened for StB coaction.

It did non take long until the first ethical concerns were raised about both, the declaration and the lustration jurisprudence. Roman David references that the International Labour Organisation criticized them for being prejudiced towards the look of political sentiment and human rights groups for go againsting the right to show, tie in, be free from favoritism, and take part in public life ( 2004, 790 ) .

The headlines of internationally respected dailies called lustrations in Czechoslovakia “ Witch Hunts ” , “ Holman hunts for Villains ” ( New York Times 1991 ) or “ Grounds for New Injustices ” ( Le Monde 1992 ) , depicting them as menaces to democracy, delicate anyhow at that clip. Many bookmans mention that new policy shapers used precisely contrary statement, supporting lustrations as a mean to construct and beef up democracy. They believed if leaders and confederates with former government were given public employment, it would sabotage democracy. ( David 2004, 795 ; Williams 2003, 2 )

In this respect, it is hard, if non impossible to make up one’s mind who was incorrect and right. However, it is possible to specify the strengths and failings of the lustration jurisprudence from 1991.

First, the unfavorable judgment of the lustration jurisprudence based on the want of political rights does non keep the H2O. It prevented leaders and confederates of former government from public employment, but as Roman David argues “ the right to public employment was intentionally omitted from the European Convention of Human Rights ” ( 2004, 797 ) . Furthermore, he adds that the Communist Party in Czechoslovakia from 1948 to 1989 “ was a massive administration which excluded resistance, prohibited treatment and did non let free elections ” ( 2004, 799 ) . It can non be considered standard political party as it does non carry through general standards of a political party recognized in democracy. Therefore, it “ can barely claim the same legal protection which is given to other parties. ” ( 2004, 799 )

Furthermore, public employment is identified with certain values. Roman David uses an illustration of USA where “ the Supreme Court has confirmed several makings for public employees, such as ‘trust ‘ , ‘integrity and competence ‘ , ‘fitness and trueness ‘ and ‘impartiality ‘ , ‘fairness and effectivity ‘ ” ( 2004, 797 ) . This shows that the public employment demands model behavior. Can person who contributed to subjugation of others be an illustration for others? Does he keep these values?

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When placing former government and its histrions, its offenses should non be overlooked. Harmonizing to the Czech Office for the Documentation and the Investigation of the Crimes of Communism, from 1948 to 1989, 205 486 individuals were imprisoned and 248 individuals were executed for political grounds, 282 individuals died when seeking to traverse western boundary lines, and 21 440 individuals were placed in forced labor cantonments from 1948 to 1953. Besides, these figures do non include amendss of those, who were deprived from possibility to analyze, work in their field, and were exposed to changeless chase of StB and regular questions, during which StB members were non loath to utilize violent patterns.

The Communist Party non merely gave consent to these patterns carried out by the People ‘s Militias that was armed forces of the Communist Party and by StB, it encouraged them to utilize them. Would non their former members be a menace to unstable democracy in Czechoslovakia, if they were given a opportunity to take part in public determinations? Knowing the context, is non surprising that after 1989 new policy shapers took uncompromising stance towards leaders and confederates with former government and dismissed them from political life.

However, while one ethical concern was solved, another popped up. If a dismissal from public employment was legitimate, so who to disregard was in inquiry. As nil is black and white, simple division on ‘bad ‘ and ‘good ‘ proved to be impossible for a whole assortment grounds. Surely, 1000s of people collaborated with former government voluntarily for personal additions, to the full cognizant of injuries their actions caused to others. However, with new lustrations going public, new life narratives disclosed proved it was non ever the instance. Some people seemed to be forced to hold on coaction. Simply, they had no other pick if they wanted to protect their households and friends, maintain their employment, survey at universities or even if they wanted to go on dissenting against government. Who could state s/he was in such state of affairs and decided non to join forces? A smattering could.

The political party Public against Violence ( hereinafter referred to as VPN ) , created after 1989 largely from dissenters was one of the number ones that decided to verify whether their campaigners ranked to this smattering and screened them for StB coaction. “ If they were positive ( intending, they had records in StB files as confederates ) , either they resigned or we withdrew them from their place. These were awful yearss. We saw life narratives of people who were broken in prisons, uranium mines, during their travels abroad or merely at work. Some of them were our long-time friends, ” Fedor Gal, Slovak dissenter and co-founder of VPN callbacks ( tyzden 2009 ) . It turned out some of leaders of the Velvet revolution had records in StB files as hostile individuals, but as confederates at the same clip. The state of affairs got complicated. Be it right to utilize the same step for everyone? Furthermore, when the definition of classs excluded from public employment in the lustration jurisprudence proved to be imprecise.

However, no contention could be found in regard to high-ranked functionaries of the Communist Party, the same could non be said about StB confederates and members of People ‘s Militias. High places in the Communist Party were to be queued. Everyone who reached this hierarchal degree within the system non merely decided voluntarily, but besides had to set much attempt in order to make it. As Roman David argues, “ Merely devoted and loyal campaigners were granted rank. ” He stresses these were cognizant of illicit purposes of the Communist Party ( 2004, 802 ) . The StB confederates were besides witting members. However, in some instances StB members blackmailed them in order to do them subscribe the understanding on co-operation.

Still, the biggest loophole occurred in the class of People ‘s Militias members. As Roman David emphasises, even though People ‘s Militias helped to suppress the resistance during the Communist putsch in February 1948, they did non needfully cognize this was its intent when they entered the organisation. Later on, when they realized it, they could non disjoin the organisation, as it was about impossible with any communist administration. ( 2004, 802 )

Furthermore, non everyone who entered the People ‘s Militias even after the Communist putsch shared its intents. The fortunes varied from instance to instance. This essay would utilize the instance of Milan Kuta, published in the New York Times. Milan Kuta was respected oncologist when he was offered to take the Oncology Centre in non really favorite Czech town Chomutov in 1985. In order to acquire this employment, he had to come in the Communist Party and supply the People ‘s Militias with first-aid classs. Never being active in political life before, he decided to accept the offer, as he knew it was the lone manner for the Centre to acquire appropriate fundss and for him to acquire more interesting occupation. However, in 1991, after the lustration jurisprudence was enforced, he as the manager of state-owned medical Centre found himself in unpleasant state of affairs. Coming under the class inconsistent with public employment, he had to vacate from his place. ( New York Times 1992 ) Nowadays, Milan Kuta still works in the Oncology Centre in Chomutov and is considered celebrated specializer in his field.

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If a function of the lustration jurisprudence were simplified to being a mean bring downing penalty on confederates with former government for their past errors, it would be hard to state what Milan Kuta did incorrectly. Furthermore, in this instance, it would be besides hard to support the lustration as a mean to construct and beef up democracy. How would democracy be endangered if Milan Kuta stayed in his station? He was non active in the Communist Party, and he ne’er collaborated with StB. The lone unfavorable judgment could come from giving People ‘s Militias first-aid classs. First, was this inherently ‘bad ‘ ? Second, could this be compared to prosecuting people and suppressing their cardinal rights? It barely could. Thus, was non a load of corporate guilt excessively heavy for Milan Kuta? Not merely he loosed his station in the Oncology Centre, he had to confront a contempt of society. Furthermore, Milan Kuta was non the lone instance. Many people were harmed by imprecise definition of some classs inconsistent with public employment harmonizing to the lustration jurisprudence and by the rule of corporate guilt, it imposed.

Finally, besides the credibleness of StB files was questionable. Political leaders, old every bit good as new, in both states rapidly realized these could be utile tools for political blackmailing. Pavel Zacek, the Czech historiographer from The Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes in Prague claims, StB files were manipulated and 1000s of them perchance destroyed by StB, but besides the Communist Party, People ‘s Militias, and ground forces instantly after the Velvet revolution ( SME 2009 ) . This intuition puts another inquiry grade behind the legitimacy of the lustration jurisprudence in Czechoslovakia.

The lustration jurisprudence passed in 1991 in Czechoslovakia was of import measure in forestalling leaders and confederates with former government from switching freshly built democracy back to absolutism. However, it was measure uncertain, unaware of way it wanted to take and of finish, it wanted to make. The classs of people affected by the lustration jurisprudence were excessively wide. The public employment covered important portion of the labor market after 1989. Therefore, excessively many people were deprived from public employment and the lustration jurisprudence did non distinguish among them. A physician giving first-aid classs to People ‘s Militias was in the same place as member of StB pursuing and interrogating guiltless people.

The lustration jurisprudence from 1991 was common footing for both states, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. However, Czechs were instigators and insisted on the lustration jurisprudence more than Slovaks, which proved to be true after the split of Czechoslovakia in 1993 as good. As Nadya Nedelsky references, while the Czech Republic kept the lustration jurisprudence, prolonged its cogency in 1995 and in 2000, though the president Vaclav Havel vetoed its protraction both times, Slovakia let the lustration jurisprudence expired in 1996 and ne’er enacted it once more. ( 2004, 76, 66 ) In the Czech Republic, the lustration jurisprudence was amended in 2000, allowing an freedom to individuals born after the 1st December 1972. These, if holding involvement in public employment were non obliged to subject either lustration certification or statutory declaration ( Amendment of Lustration Act 2000 ) .

There are several grounds explicating diverged attacks in covering with communist yesteryear. Most frequently, bookmans argue that the government was non every bit tough in both states. Nadya Nedelsky confirms it and adds to that that the chief ground why both states were non treated in the same manner was different degree of dissent. Harmonizing to her, low degree of dissent in Slovakia led to lesser subjugation of Slovaks, and accordingly after the Velvet revolution to “ lesser involvement in transitional justness ” every bit good. ( 2004, 81 ) After 1989, Slovak populace became divided non merely in this affair. Surely, there was a public support for lustration procedures. However, it was non so unite as in the Czech Republic. Significant portion of Slovak populace was already occupied with the thought of independent Slovak province. This 1 seemed to predominate.

Although, strength of government or disunity of public in the affair of transitional justness played of import function in make up one’s minding for and against the lustration jurisprudence, they do non supply with sufficient logical thinking of two contrary attitudes. The character of political scene of that clip in both states should non be omitted in this argument. Nadya Nedelsky references, even though Vaclav Klaus and Vladimir Meciar, Czech and Slovak political leader who gained their popularity from playing important functions in a split of Czechoslovakia, had several common characteristics, they led both states to wholly different waies. While the authorities of Vaclav Klaus got the Czech Republic closer to the western democracies, autocratic authorities of Vladimir Meciar, interrupting cardinal human rights got Slovakia to international isolation. Even though Vaclav Klaus several times expressed his belief that looking back into yesteryear can forestall from traveling frontward in the present and future, he ever voted for the lustration jurisprudence. On the contrary, Vladimir Meciar was strongly against the lustration jurisprudence, surprisingly mentioning to misdemeanor of human rights. Furthermore, sing Vladimir Meciar, he was accused of stealing and destructing StB files that could discredit him, as he was suspected to be confederate of StB.

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As Vaclav Klaus and Vladimir Meciar formed freshly created democracies for several old ages after the split to large extent, it is non surprising that the attitude toward lustration turned in the Czech Republic and Slovakia into wholly different waies merely because they had a different position on it. Nevertheless, surprisingly, different waies these two attacks took did non ensue in different terminals. Harms the lustration jurisprudence and its rigorous enforcement caused in the Czech Republic because of its loose definition were described above.

However, harms its absence caused in Slovakia are non fewer. Lack of public and political involvement in settling the yesteryear resulted in political relations, but besides church being riddled by former Communists. The most known is the instance of Jan Sokol, former Roman Catholic archbishop accused of join forcesing with former government. Even though, his name popped up in StB files several times, ne’er as of hostile individual, but as of campaigner for coaction, and subsequently on as of agent, and there was found a record unwraping about whom he informed StB, he ne’er admitted it or offered his surrender. ( Nation ‘s Memory Institute 2004-2009 ) Not holding the lustration jurisprudence, Slovakia did non hold any mechanisms to retreat Jan Sokol from his place. Again, likewise as in the instance of Milan Kuta, Jan Sokol is non an exclusion.

Slovakia ne’er to the full extricated from the influence of leaders and confederates of former government. In add-on, Slovak political development after 1989 is the instance in point, what important function the lustration jurisprudence plays in democratization procedures. Slovakia with its ‘do nil ‘ attack in covering with the Communist yesteryear, proved to be weak to protect its immature democracy, as Vladimir Meciar ‘s authorities seemingly did non follow with democratic rules.

Overall, 20 old ages passed since the lustration jurisprudence in the Czech Republic has been in force and 13 since in Slovakia it expired. Surely, it played of import function in beef uping democracy after 1989. A fright that leaders and confederates with former government could sabotage was apprehensible. However, is this jurisprudence tenable in the Czech Republic now being a portion of the European Union since 2004? Is non same fright groundless? Who will right all the amendss done to reputes of unjustly accused of coaction? Vice versa, who will right all the amendss done to dissenters in Slovakia who suffered from subjugation of the Communist government, and have to see now their oppressors doing public determinations? These unreciprocated inquiries did non hold to be posed if either the Czech Republic or Slovakia adopted more consistent attack in covering with their Communist past.


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