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Settling Accounts With The Past And The Dilemmas Of The Law-Governed State

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Chapter Summary

This chapter briefly outlines the constitutive potential of experiences with totalitarianism and dictatorship and debates the quite unique, structural, institutional, and cognitive legacies of the Stalinist past in ECE still haunting the postcommunist reconstruction. Model approaches to the past are also outlined briefly, followed by a presentation of the interpretive dilemmas of the law-governed state principle. The dangers of a fictive constitutionalism-an alienating constitutional justice-are analyzed as the most critical bequest of Stalinism in this region. The right to truth comprises a civic right of a new type, a response by a civic society to the increasing possibilities of concealing atrocities, destroying evidence, and silencing people. If subordinated to the law-governed state principle, the chapter brings about the legalization of approaches toward the past, i.e. the subordination of reckoning with the past to specific concepts, principles, and procedures of which the general principle of the law-governed state is built.

Keywords: law-governed state; postcommunist constitutionalism; Stalinism; the right to truth



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