Memory laws enshrine state-approved interpretations of historical events. This phenomenon has been on the academic radar for some time. However, memory laws have recently catapulted to the top of international news as well. Central and Eastern Europe have become a battleground in the legal governance of history as the states in this region struggle with the memories of Nazi and communist regimes as well as ongoing local neighborhood disputes. Furthermore, a slow but steady decline of democracy and the rule of law has creeped into the area, spearheaded by Hungary and Poland. This backsliding has centralized memory politics that were hitherto localized.
This workshop aims at contextualizing memory laws in Central and Eastern Europe, with a special focus on Hungary. The panels will elaborate on the unique circumstances and historical heritage of local politics of memory, reflect on the changes that have been implemented in the official narrative in light of democratic backsliding, and weigh the consequences of these developments.
This workshop was organized by the Institute for Legal Studies, Centre for Social Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the T.M.C. Asser Institute (The Hague) in cooperation with the MELA Project (Memory Laws in European and Comparative Perspective).
Perspectives from Hungary and Eastern Europe
Programme 18 September 2018 (Tuesday)
Venue: Humanities Research House Council Room (H-1097 Budapest, Tóth Kálmán street 4., Ground floor 25.)
11.00–11.15 Introduction from MELA Project and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences
11.15–12.00 Panel I: Book Presentation – Law and Memory: Towards Legal Governance of History
- Uladzislau Belavusau
12.00–13.00 Lunch Break
13.00–15.00 Panel II: Memory Laws in Hungary
Chair: Ulad Belavusau
- Zsolt Körtvélyesi: Continuity and Discontinuity in Constitution-Making
- Gábor Schweitzer: Historical Personalities in Hungarian Public Law: The Problem of Memorial Laws
- Marina Bán: Hungarian Memory Laws and the Rule of Law
Discussant: Miklós Könczöl
15.00–15.30 Coffee Break
15.30–17.30 Panel III: Memory Laws in Eastern Europe and Beyond
Chair: András Koltay
- Anna Wójcik: Protecting State and Nation’s Reputation through Criminal and Civil Law: a Critical Appraisal of Polish Memory Law of 2018
- Grażyna Baranowska: Missing Persons and Memory Laws
- León Castellanos-Jankiewicz: The Soviet Contribution to the Prohibition of Genocide: Harmony or Contestation?
Discussant: Tamás Hoffmann
17.30–18.00 Closing Reception