Lustration and the personnel reform of the state

Roman DAVID, Cynthia M. HORNE

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How can state deal with inherited personnel after a change of political regimes? How can trust in state institutions be revived after it has been eroded by political biases, discriminations and abuses of power? How can officials be held accountable for non-criminal acts committed in the past? This chapter examines one of the most daunting and controversial measures of transitional justice: personnel reforms of the state, which in different contexts and different eras have been conducted by means of lustration, vetting, purges, disbanding, de-Nazification, de-communisation and other types of personnel reforms. This chapter starts by delineating the challenges of inherited personnel and explores the problematic solutions. It proceeds with a clarification of the terminology used to describe these solutions. The third section classifies a variety of related measures in order to better understand their different origins, problems and effects. The origin of personnel reforms is addressed in the fourth section, focusing on the role of past and present factors. The political, social and legal problems of personnel reform are described in the fifth section, which situates these problems within the context of a democracy capable of defending itself. The effects of personnel reforms are presented in the last two sections: the sixth delineates the effect of personnel reform on trust in the state and interpersonal trust, and the seventh examines the effects of personnel reform on democratisation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTransitional Justice : Theories, Mechanisms and Debates
EditorsHakeem O. YUSUF, Hugo VAN DER MERWE
PublisherTaylor and Francis Inc.
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9781317642558
ISBN (Print)9781138794078
Publication statusPublished - 7 Sept 2021


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