Thursday, March 15, 2007

New Polish vetting law operative

New vetting law comes into force today obliging 700,000 Poles including journalists, lawyers and head teachers to declare whether they collaborated with the communist-era secret police.
The legislation was designed by President Lech Kaczynski and the ruling conservative the Law and Justice Party (PiS) government of his twin brother, Prime Minister Jaroslaw.

Its aim was to settle accounts with former communists. As a result, people from various professions including municipal government officials, university professors, legal professionals, journalists and corporate as well as bank chiefs born prior to August 1, 1972 are required to submit statements revealing any co- operation with communist-era secret police and intelligence services.

Those who fail to do so or have courts ruled against them risk being banned from their professions for up to a decade.

According to the critics of the project, the process of verifying hundreds of thousands of declarations is estimated to last until 2023. Declarations are to be submitted to the National Remembrance Institute which was created in 1998.