Download This Paper Open PDF in Browser

Victimhood of the Nation as a Legally Protected Value in Transitional States – Poland as a Case Study

18 Pages Posted: 12 Feb 2018  

Aleksandra Gliszczynska-Grabias

Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences - Poznan Human Rights Centre

Anna Sledzinska-Simon

University of Wrocław - Centre for Legal Education and Social Theory

Date Written: September 10, 2016

Abstract

The memory of the past is always vital for building national identity in transitional contexts. Yet, the preservation of a particular representation of the national history may lead not only to distortion of the self-identification process, but also to distortion of rights protection. Taking Poland as a case study, we aim to explain mechanisms of using criminal laws for historical assessment and show instances when victimhood became a legally protected value used to justify limitations of free speech and academic research. We argue that the law criminalising defamation of the Polish Nation, but also the decision of the Polish Constitutional Tribunal, were symptoms of frustration and fear against opening and engaging in an honest public debate on the recent history, which is necessary for establishing not only the fundaments of transitional justice, but more importantly, for building mutual trust in a democratic society.

Keywords: victimhood, memory, constitutional court, Poland

Suggested Citation

Gliszczynska-Grabias, Aleksandra and Sledzinska-Simon, Anna, Victimhood of the Nation as a Legally Protected Value in Transitional States – Poland as a Case Study (September 10, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3120407

Aleksandra Gliszczynska-Grabias

Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences - Poznan Human Rights Centre ( email )

Mielzynskiego 27/29
Poznan, 61-725
Poland

Anna Sledzinska-Simon (Contact Author)

University of Wrocław - Centre for Legal Education and Social Theory ( email )

plac Uniwersytecki 1
Wrocław, 50-137
Poland

Paper statistics

Downloads
12
Abstract Views
41
PlumX