Thirty years ago, Czechoslovakia faced international criticism for the first time since the fall of the communist regime. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has accused the Czechoslovak parliament of violating the prohibition of discrimination in the workplace.
Due to the so-called “lustration”, which came into force in October 1991. All former employees of the StB State Security Service and members of the Communist Party were excluded from executive positions. The ban applied to about 9,000 jobs in the state administration, the military and security services, state-owned companies and the media, universities and the judiciary.
Despite criticism, Prague maintained the law even after its separation from Slovakia. The Czechs acted faster, stricter and more consistently than their neighbours: Hungary implemented the relevant laws three years later, and Poland only in 1997. Effective lustration was not carried out in any of the countries. This also affected the judiciary. Czechs’ radicalism was mainly due to the fact that the communist regime in Czechoslovakia was much stricter than in Hungary and Poland.
When the Czech Republic joined the EU, there were very few judges and prosecutors left who served the communist regime. Further purges were no longer necessary. One of the consequences of this is that the EU does not condemn the Czech Republic today for not respecting the independence of the judiciary. During the 15 years that the Czechs spent in the EU waiting room, they were able to take all the measures they deemed necessary to drain the communist swamp on their own and without outside interference.
In Slovenia, as in all former Yugoslav republics, there was no lustration, the Old Networks are not only predominant in politics and the economy, but also in the judiciary.
Conservative Prime Minister Janez Janša is a victim of their machinations. In 1988, a military court sentenced him to 18 months as a journalist for “high treason” for daring to criticise the Yugoslav People’s Army (YPA). In 2014, three weeks before the parliamentary elections, he landed in prison for the second time as a politician.
On the basis of allegations for which there was no evidence, politically motivated prosecutors and judges organised a trial against him that did not respect the rule of law. The judges found him guilty of accepting, “at an indefinite time, in an indefinite place and in an indefinite manner”, an offer of a bribe in an unknown amount offered to him by a Finnish arms company for the supply of armoured vehicles.
In the end, Janša spent six months in prison. Red cabinets dominated the courts all the way to the Supreme Court. The president, former communist Branko Masleša, publicly found Janša guilty before the appellate proceedings, in which he himself participated as a judge. In June 2015, the Constitutional Court overturned the judgment. As Prime Minister, Janša must now listen to how he is undermining the independence of the judiciary.
Source: Die Presse