One of the most difficult dilemmas that post-authoritarian societies face in the early years of democracy involves the treatment of those authoritarian officials who are guilty of gross violations of human rights. Should a new democracy prosecute and punish or should it forgive and forget its former “torturers”? The process leading to a resolution of this “torturer problem” is complex and often misunderstood. This paper argues that the correlation between the “democratization process” and the outcome of the “torturer problem” is a specious one in the East European context. The unfolding of events in the last several years has demonstrated that a much stronger correlation exists between the variables of “exit” and/or “voice” under communism and the outcome of the “torturer problem.”

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