The Darkness that Surrounds the Lustration Law
Albanian Daily News
Published January 19, 2015

Albanian society, despite the economical problems, the unemployment and the price hike, must come out of its torpor and prove itself even in front of a decisive test in relation to the communist past, although in this matter it is more delayed than all other former communist societies of the camp

By Agron Tufa

In March of 2013, a group of specialists from the Research Institution of Crimes and Consequences of Communism, with the aid and the mediation of German foundation "Konrad Adenauer", made a several-day visit in the institutions of Memory of the Dictatorships in Berlin and other German cities, getting familiar with the concrete experience on facing the crimes and the heritage of both types of dictatorships, the Nazism and communism. On the last day, a meeting was reserved to the Albanian group with two German MEPs in the Bundestag. Albanian representatives, among others, issued the concern of the recidivist revival of dictatorship nostalgia by political and academic segments, who, in the absence of some lustration law, have taken courage for some brutal behavior and provocative gestures. European MPs was asked that among the duties that EU appoints to Albanian Parliament in the road towards European integration, it should be also appointed as main duty the cleaning of the communist past and the interruption of its legacy, the disclosure of files and the lustration law, together with a clear operational strategy and platform for the decommunistization of Albanian society and its institutions.

The answer of the European MPs was that the Albanian society should expose this particular issue, through its movements and NGOs. There should be some internal movement of the civil society in order for EU to react on this matter, and here lies the condition according to them.

Is there such healthy civil society in Albania? Are there in Albania such associations that have established as the main pillar in every democratic vision and action the issue on the hygiene of consciousness? Or have all the NGOs operated based on the predefined scheme of building a "kiosk", while in its foundation they were baptized by the satanic trinity: a former officer of the Secret Service, a politician and businessman that keep sponsoring activities, until their profile is made public? The outcome is obvious, after a long apprenticeship in the name of alleged human rights and civil liberties, the NGO removes its mask in order to touch the "destination" set by the Baptists, in other words, the participation in the Parliament as a political party.

No one could tell this to German MEPs. There was the risk of not being understood.

But during the last year there was an initiative of the Albanian Group for Human Rights, which asked the support of the stakeholders on a new platform for the lustration law, a movement which directly "awakened" some other "interested" individuals, who rushed to proclaim some lustration platform on their own. In this way some other parallel initiators were advertized, independent institutions, who were particularly troubled by cleaning the society from the dictatorship crimes. Obviously, nothing was finalized as in all other cases of these two decades.

Again this month a persistent debate was issued, now in another level with a wider alliance: Albanian Group for Human Rights in cooperation with two lawmakers, Mrs. Mesila Doda and Mr. Shpetim Idrizi, officially undertook a concrete step, filing in Albanian Parliament the platform of the lustration law, with the request on including it in the parliamentary discussion agenda. The first opinions on the necessity of finding a solution were expressed by renowned writers, who have consistently treated this public sensitivity.

But again the executive rushed with projects to emulate this initiative, with the idea that this (lustration) law is being adapted from the German one, as if the previous law that was rejected on 2009 wasn't. A repeated situation as in déjà-vu.

The most recent development during the last ten days is the gathering of Albanian Group for Human Rights and the group of "Students of December", which in a broader presence of renowned journalists and representatives of the association of political prisoners discussed on a structured and organized motion not only on the lustration law, but also for a political platform of the decommunistization of the society from the criminal heritage of communist dictatorship.

During this quarter-century after the fall of the dictatorship, there has never been a more courageous, clear and complete appeal to get separated once and for all from the legacy of communism. The camps, as always, in the beginning of this movement are divided in two parts: the skeptics and the optimists. The skeptics are divided in two parts: one part that says that the purification of the society can't be carried out by the political force that is the descendant of those responsible for the crimes during the dictatorship and the other part, the governmental one, embraces the mentality that this law represents the violation of human rights and it is anti-constitutional, although this answer needs to be given by the Constitutional Court. On the other hand, the optimists hope that the society, despite its configuration, will support their right civil cause and with the political will, same as what happened in several former communist countries, such as: Germany, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Romania, every constitutional obstacle can be surpassed, in full analogy with the abovementioned countries. 

 It is predicted a hot start in the first months of 2015. Albanian society, despite the economical problems, the unemployment and the price hike, must come out of its torpor and prove itself even in front of a decisive test in relation to the communist past, although in this matter it is more delayed than all other former communist societies of the camp. Because now it isn't only about the lustration, but also about a wide enterprise of a full exorcism on removing the shackles that keep it hostage to the mentality, nostalgia and action of some dark characters, which were recycled in the post communist era by all political, economical, cultural and academic instances of Albanian society.

If the movement will be sincere and determined (forgive me for my skeptical assumptions) and the intellectual support of society will be widely the same, Albanian society has the chance to give an end, like the writer Ismail Kadare cites, "to its past histories that so far have ended badly." Then the present and the future of this society will be finally cleansed by the ugliest element of dictatorship that is its active heritage. But in order for this movement to find wide support in the public, its supporters should be clearly clarified on what it is about, starting from the lustration law up to the essence of the decommunistization platform. Important should be the transparency of the law before its approval in the Parliament, in order that the movement, its supporters and those interested know what kind of law is being approved and how consulted this law is with the experts.

Given that for me personally this issue has been, since the fall of communism, a permanent state of thinking and doing with plenty of disappointments and experiences of skepticism, I would be willing to present some precursory concerns, for the authorities to keep in mind the organizers of the movement on the purification of society from the past and the decommunistization of Albania, without putting in doubts my natural support.

First it has to do with facing the expertise of the argument in public debate on the lustration law and for this reason there must be a group of legal experts, who know to legally articulate the clarity of this approach, but there must be those kinds of experts that had this issue "a permanent state of thinking and doing". Secondly, I am convinced that the biggest barrier on the lustration won't be Albanian parliamentary parties, but the Albanian justice that represents a bad record, given that the judiciary in the Constitutional Court will move heaven and earth to abolish the law, same as in the year 2009, for the simple reason that it didn't want to put a bomb under its feet. If in Europe the justice system represents the side effect of political parties in the power and the Parliament, in Albania it is exactly the opposite: political parties are the side effects that the judicial system produces. The Constitutional Court, regarding the lustration issue, represents an incarnation in spirit and will of their predecessors of the communist judiciary.

How will the movement for lustration and decommunistization confront this obstacle? 

The third, but not the last concern, that I would like to raise for the initiators of this movement is the pleasant fact (if it will be accepted), that in case of overcoming the first two obstacles, then how trustworthy will be the Lustration Authority, at a time when it is being rumored that in its composition "will be selected individuals with moral integrity, who enjoy the trust of the society?"

Who are those that propose, decide and guarantee for this process? In what way? This question, although the last, is of a decisive importance, given the state of the damaged files.

And what if these individuals of the Lustration Authority will not have this cause "a permanent state of thinking and doing"?

(Panorama, January 7, 2015) 

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