Only last year (2014.) 5000 people in Germany requested insight into secret files on them. So, 25 years later, people are still seeking access to the files, which indicates the necessity of The Lustration Law in Croatia, without any question of delay.
Croatia and Slovenia are the only post-communist EU member states which have not implemented lustration. This indicates a lack of political will for changes that are necessary, as well as considerable lack of interest in this important issue. It is sad that Germany started the process of lustration in Croatia at the moment when it requested the extradition of Josip Perković and Zdravko Mustać.
All state bodies and all private persons who have knowledge of the existence of such documents, records, films and others, are obliged to report it to the Office of the Federal Commissioner …
Clarification of the past is very good for the future. It is possible to find out many things; for example; who worked in the secret services of the former Yugoslavia, who really worked and who only cooperated; the way in which it happened, was it out of conviction or because of blackmail, who betrayed the person who ended up in prison and who did not. Very often these informers were people around the person who was imprisoned and persecuted. Therefore, lustration is not revenge; it is procedure which has to be carried out for a better and healthier future of this country. It is about a violation of human rights of persons deprived of the right to truth, therefore it is necessary to find out who betrayed them and by whose orders they were persecuted.
In all countries which have implemented lustration, economic growth was recorded what means that it is directly related. That is very important for Croatia, because it is in a very difficult economic situation. The Federal Republic of Germany, immediately after adopting agreement on unification in 1990, began to create a legal framework for lustration. This process lasted for two years, after which the Stasi Records Act is adopted, which made possible the opening of secret files of the former communist regime in East Germany, and in which 111 km of material was found. All state bodies and all private persons who have knowledge of the existence of such documents, records, films and others, are obliged to report it to the Office of the Federal Commissioner without delay and give them access to all the documents they possess and to waive the right to use them. The Stasi Records Act applies to the records of the State Security Office of the former GDR, which can be found in the possession of public authorities of the Federal State and its states, private individuals and other private bodies.” The law also regulates its purpose and scope:
“1. To facilitate individual access to personal data relating to a person which the State Security Department stored, so that an individual can clarify which influence had the State Security Department on his personal destiny;
2. To protect the individual from reduction of his rights to privacy, caused by the use of his personal data stored by the State Security Service;
3. To ensure and promote the historical, political and legal reconsideration of the activities of the State Security Service;
4. To provide to public and private bodies access to information, in order to ensure the purposes specified in this law. ”
Roland Jahn, Federal Commissioner for the Records of the State Security Service of the former German Democratic Republic, who had a lecture in Zagreb few days ago, said that only last year some 5000 people in Germany requested access to secret files about them. So, 25 years later, people are still seeking access to the files, which indicates the need for the adoption of the law on lustration in Croatia, without any question of delay. How much the Office of the Federal Commissioner for the records of the State Security Service of the former GDR is important in Germany is shown by the fact, that the former federal commissioner, who filled this duty for ten years, is the German president now. The Office receives from the budget 100 million Euros a year, which also speaks of its importance.
On the other hand, in the legal system of the Republic of Croatia, there is only a Declaration condemning the crimes committed during the totalitarian communist regime in Croatia from 1945 to 1990, but there is no prohibition of the exercise of public duties for people who had violated human rights in the Republic of Croatia in that period, or worked / collaborated with the secret services of the former Yugoslavia.
The Law on the Institute of National Remembrance of 1998 and the Law on disclosure of information of 2007 were voted in Poland, after the Constitutional Court overturned it twice and returned it back for changes. This procedure lasted for a long time, it was very difficult to open all the files, so they started preparing legal text in another way; anyone who works or wants to work in government bodies, judicial bodies, banks, then academics, journalists, members of management boards, researchers, professors, and those who were born before 1 August 1972, must submit vetting declaration, being subject of review, on the work of the state security services or cooperation with them, in the period from 22 July 1944 until 31 July 1990. If a person who has the obligation to make a declaration does not do that, or he/she does not state the truth, he/she will be punished with imprisonment from three months to ten years.
Before the adoption of that law, Institute of National Remembrance was founded in Poland in 1998, and its role was recording, collection, processing, archiving, managing and providing access to documents on crimes committed by state institutions against Polish citizens during WWII (Nazi and communist crimes), at the time of the German and Soviet occupation, as well as in the era of the Polish People’s Republic. The Commission for the prosecution of crimes against the Polish nation was established within the Institute. The Institute is funded from the state budget. For the president of the state, his deputy, members of parliament, for the European Parliament and representatives of local governments; means for the people who are chosen in the elections, that process is regulated by the provisions of relevant laws.
If such a law would be in force in Croatia for example, it could not lead to lawsuits and processes between Tomislav Karamarko and Josip Manolić, which will probably last for several years, about the alleged Karamarko’s cooperation with the Yugoslav secret service, because everyone would know who was working and who was not working for the Yugoslav secret service. Such a law would solve many things in Croatia through such statements. Also, Croatia has no institution for national memory in which the documents, acts, films and similar materials of Yugoslav secret service would be stored. In Croatia, we do not yet dispose of any lustration instrument, so it is high time to begin the process of creating the necessary legal framework about that.