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As new states in the former Eastern bloc begin to reckon with their criminal pasts in the years following a revolutionary change of regimes, a pattern has emerged: in those states where some form of retributive justice has been enacted, there has been much less of a recourse to collective retributive violence.;This text explores the attempts by these aspiring democractic states to invoke the principles of the ""rule of law"" as a means of achieving retributive justice, that is convicting wrongdoers and restoring dignity to victims of moral injuries. It maintains that democratic regimes require a strict form of accountability that holds leaders responsible for acts of criminality. This accountability is embodied in the principles of the rule of law, and retribution is at the moral centre of these principles.