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Transitional Justice in Post-Euromaidan Ukraine

Swimming Upstream


Igor Lyubashenko

The book focusses on transitional justice policies implemented in Ukraine since the beginning of 2014. The author covers investigations and trials, vetting, historical justice, as well as two issues that only partially refer to the «transitional justice toolbox»: attempts to deal with the consequences of the armed conflict in Donbas and elements of institutional reforms that supplement transitional justice efforts. He explains constrains faced by each of the mentioned policies and interrelationships between them. The author comes to the conclusion that the Ukrainian case presents both similarities and significant differences in comparison to other post-communist countries, which implemented such policies much earlier. Furthermore, there is no evidence supporting the thesis that the implementation of these policies provides visible effects in terms of democratisation of the country.

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3. Vetting


3.1. Theoretical background

Any transition between political regimes is a mixture of change and continuity. In particular, one should expect that in the aftermath of transition there will always be a part of society that represents values upon which the ancien regime was based. This problem may constitute a dilemma for the newly established regime claiming to respect the basic principles of democracy. On the one hand, equal rights is fundamental for democracy; yet on the other hand, there is a risk that the bearers of the abandoned values can “infect” the newly established democratic regime by introducing informal patterns of behaviour that do not correspond with the principles of democracy and the rule of law. All post-communist countries faced this dilemma in the early 1990s and most of them answered it by introducing vetting policies, also known as lustration.

Generally, lustration can be defined as an official policy aimed at revealing the truth about collaboration with or a position in the institutions of the ancien regime among certain categories of public officials and/or the ones applying for office under the new regime. An affirmative outcome of lustration usually results in the loss of position and/or limitation in access to public office for the screened individual. The scope of lustration policies may be different. Cynthia M. Horne proposes one of the clearest classifications that helps understand the diversity of lustration policies: (1) a wide and compulsory institutional change that resulted in expansive and obligatory...

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