De-communization in Poland 30 years after regime change: within and beyond transitional justice

The presentation discusses the point of interconnect between historical policy and human rights law standards on the example of a de-communization law enacted in Poland in 2016 that reduces retirement pensions and other benefits to individuals who were employed or in service in selected state formations and institutions in 1944-1990, amending the law adopted in 2009. The Act of 16 December 2016 is analyzed in the light of the standards of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) on reckoning with the past as element of transitional justice as well as applicable constitutional standards. The examination concludes that there is a discrepancy between the rationale to adopt this legislation in Poland, namely to reckon with communist past and as such increase social trust in state institutions, and the legal solutions contained in the 2016 Act.