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Serbia: The Lustration Law

As time goes by, the issue of lustration in Serbia is becoming more and more interesting. The country's parliament passed the Lustration Law in 2003 – but it has still not been implemented.

The Serbian public knows that the Serbian Radical Party and the Social Party of Serbia are against the implementation of the Lustration Law, while the liberal Democratic Party continues to be in its favor. What the Serbian public does not know is why the Serbian government, which, naturally, has to carry out an order of the parliament, does not put the Lustration Law into effect.

Goran Miletic, a Serbian blogger, wrote (SRP) this at his B92 blog on June 1:

[…]

[The government representatives’] today’ s statements have shown one of these three things:

1. They don’t know what lustration is.
2. They do know what lustration is, but they are trying to lead us to believe it is not the best option.
3. They do know what lustration is, but they will repeal the Lustration Law for the sake of a compromise with [Vojislav Kostunica’s Democratic Party].

For the uninformed, Božidar Đelić [Vice-president of Government of Serbia] said [the quote in English is from this B92 story]:

“The law is one thing, the other thing is that we have elements that deal with the legislature and many other services. Commonly, when we speak about lustration, we speak about people who have criminally or morally done wrong, and we have a series of laws that can and must be implemented.”

His [Democratic] party colleague, the new justice minister Dušan Petrović, made a statement that the former minister Stojković would have agreed with:

“We will do everything possible to improve public life in Serbia, for the nation to be healthier than before, that is why we entered the government. If we can apply the laws in practice, we will apply, if we cannot apply the laws in the practice, we will change them. We want to change life in Serbia, because Serbia has to be a civilized European country.”

I don’t know what we can conclude from their statements. From the first, I concluded that they attempt to introduce criminal responsibility instead of lustration – which is not same. Crimes are dealt with according to the Criminal Law. Those politicians who had an opportunity to violate the elementary human rights (and who had done it), have to by judged according to the Lustration Law and they have to be excluded from politics for a certain period. Those people could work but they should not be allowed to go into politics. If some of those people participated in the election fraud, they would not serve as judges. If some of them gave notice to the policemen who refused to carry out orders and did not go into Kosovo, they would not be engaged with the police. The intelligence services are a special story.

The second conclusion is very simple. From the statement of the justice minister, I think that the ruling coalition will repeal this law. That is really the greatest shame for the Democratic Party.

The Lustration Law was passed in the parliament at the only time possible – after the assassination on Zoran Đinđić. […] It's a shame that [the Democratic Party] is playing with it.

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