Chicago Journal of International Law


In the beginning of the third millenium, Berlin, like so many times in its history, is sparkling with contrasts. Historical allusions and, at the same time, contradictions abound, especially in the city's center. Today's offices and conference rooms of the Freie Demokratische Partei ("F.D.P.") liberal-libertarian members of Parliament and its faction in the Bundestag, for example, are located in the former so-called Ministry of Justice of the Deutsche Demokratische Republik ("GDR"), in a building which, until 1945, was an annex to the German Reich's Ministry of the Interior. As late as the summer of 1989, few people would have envisioned democratically elected representatives of a reunified Germany going about their legislative tasks in the building complex at Dorotheenstrasse 93. Now it has become the site from which those members of Parliament continue to strive for democracy and the Recbtsstaat (rule of law) to make their contribution to reunification. Even so, molding together the two political systems, with their utterly different social and economic organization, in a way that results not only in law but injustice, has been a Herculean task, especially during the first few years following reunification. In the course of four decades, the two legal systems had grown apart considerably. Putting together the two fundamentally different legal systems proved an immensely complex, huge and challenging task.