Institute of national remembrance

The last couple of months have seen the first real attempts since the fall of Communism to come to terms with some of the darkest episodes in modern Czech history. An ambitious plan was launched to compensate those Czechs forced to work for or imprisoned by Nazi Germany, and significant steps have also been taken to bring to justice former Communist officials who violated basic human rights during the 40 years of totalitarian rule. The Czech Republic's northern neighbour, Poland, has already undergone similar groundbreaking attempts to come to terms with the past. A statute enacted on the 18th of December 1998 called for the creation of a commission for the prosecution of crimes against the Polish nation - the Institute of National Remembrance. Leon Kieres the body's president - a position which enjoys full independence from the Polish authorities - was appointed by the lower house of the Polish parliament, the Sejm, for a five tear term in June 2000. He and a delegation representing the institute visited the Czech Republic last year, to share the two countries' experiences. Dita Asiedu met Mr Kieres to find out more about the institute and its co-operation with Prague: