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Lavinia Stan

Since 1989 Central and Eastern European countries have implemented a wide range of programs designed to help those societies reckon with the numerous human rights abuses perpetrated by the communist regimes after the end of the Second World War. Some of these programs (lustration and access to secret files) had never been enacted in other regions of the world. This chapter presents an overview of transitional justice mechanisms launched in the region by state and non-state actors, as well as two of the most important theoretical insights gained from studying the coming-to-terms experience of Central and Eastern Europe. These theoretical insights relate to the factors that explain why some countries engage in transitional justice and others do not, as well as the impact of reckoning programs on post-communist democratization. Eastern Europe; court trials; secret files; lustration; history commissions