1981 martial law outlawed

Published on 17 March 2011 at 11:37

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Imposing martial law on 13 December 1981, the communist government of General Wojciech Jaruzelski violated the Polish constitution and international law, Rzeczpospolita leads, reporting on the ruling of the Constitutional Court on 16 March. The court stated that martial law could have been introduced only in the event of war and Poland was not in a state of war with any country at that time. “This is a great posthumous victory for my husband. But most of all an act of justice for all martial law victims,” said the wife of the late Janusz Kochanowski, the ombudsman who brought the case before the court in 2008. Dziennik Gazeta Prawna notes that “about 130,000 people sentenced during martial law may now demand retrial, acquittal, and compensation”. Martial law crushed the Solidarność movement, the first free trade union organisation in the former Soviet bloc, and stopped reforms in Poland until the Round Table talks of 1989.

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