Purging the Past: The Current State of Lustration Laws in the Former Communist Bloc

Lustration laws, though controversial, remain the most commonly used device for screening and prosecuting former Communist leaders, candidates for office, and selected public employees. These laws, which generally rely on information contained in Secret Police files, are used to determine whether suspected individuals collaborated with the former state security service. The international community has generally opposed the lustration process. This article presents a brief overview of the status of such laws and regulations in the former Communist Bloc as of 1997.