Albania parliament adopts controversial decommunization law
Albania parliament adopts controversial decommunization law

[JURIST] The Albanian Parliament [official website, in Albanian] on Monday adopted a law banning former members and affiliates of the nation's Communist-era secret police force from holding public office. The so-called lustration law will employ a 5-person commission to screen from political candidacy [Reuters report] all associates of the Sigurimi [LOC backgrounder] secret service during Albania's Communist regime from November 1944 to December 1990. The bill passed in a 74-2 vote, with one abstention and 63 members of parliament boycotting the vote. Minority parties including the Socialists expressed fears that the law will be used as a political tool to suppress their faction. Several international parties, including the US Embassy in Tirana [press release], the Council of Europe [press release], and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe [press release], urged Albania to proceed with greater care to ensure that the law meets international standards of constitutional protection. At least two dozen sitting judges and prosecutors face termination without a hearing under the law. Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha, a supporter of the law [press release], defended the text as a "moderated version" [press conference transcript] of the Czech lustration law of 1991 [ICTJ backgrounder], which has been upheld as legal.

Poland passed its own lustration law in 2006, and though portions were found to be unconstitutional [JURIST report], provisions remained in force authorizing the disclosure of names of public officials who worked with the secret police. Last year, Poland's Institute of National Remembrance began officially publishing a list of public officials [JURIST report] who worked with or were spied on by the country's Communist-era secret police. Similar measures also exist in Bulgaria [HRW report] and other former eastern bloc nations.