Poland’s Long Search for Justice
Poland took nearly a decade to put in place a series of policies for dealing with its legacy of communist era crimes. The country’s negotiated transition to democracy in 1989 is key to understanding why the government chose not to pursue transitional justice in the months after the first elections. When the regime and opposition negotiate the conditions for holding free elections, the regime demands velvet treatment. The opposition, eager for the opportunity to measure its popularity in the electoral process, is willing to accommodate. The result is a democracy where members of the old regime and its collaborators retain the right to hold public office and comfortable civil service jobs.1 However, the issue of past crimes did not evaporate after Poland’s first free elections. In fact, the issue proved to have a remarkable ability to endure.
KeywordsLiberal Democracy Round Table Transitional Justice Parliamentary Election Secret Police
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