After the communist takeovers across Eastern and Central Europe in 1945, the judiciary became the political and ideological instruments of the ruling communist parties. Then came 1989 and the hopes of establishing an independent court system. Yet over the past few years, judges have been replaced in Poland, the courts have been undermined in Hungary and corruption continues to prevent Romania from establishing a consistent rule of law. What has gone wrong, and how can it be rectified?
Judy Dempsey is a journalist and foreign policy analyst. She is senior fellow at Carnegie Europe and editor-in-chief of the influential international relations blog Strategic Europe. Prior to that, she was a columnist for The International New York Times and The International Herald Tribune’s Germany Correspondent in Berlin. From 2001 to 2004, she was The Financial Times’ diplomatic correspondent in Brussels, covering the NATO and European Union enlargements. She was the paper’s Jerusalem bureau chief in 1996–2001, its Berlin correspondent in 1992–1996, and its Eastern European correspondent in 1990–1992. During the 1980s, Dempsey reported from Vienna on Central and Eastern Europe for The Financial Times, The Irish Times, and The Economist, and she was on the ground during the tumultuous months of 1989 and 1990. She has been awarded several journalism prizes. She is the author of several publications including Das Phänomen Merkel (co-ed., 2013).