Sunday, 20 April 2014

HN: Senators' complaint about amnesty good for future

9 January 2013

Prague, Jan 8 (CTK) - The decision by a group of Czech senators to turn to the Constitutional Court (US) over President Vaclav Klaus's amnesty is good because the court will have to make a decision on the halting of criminal proceedings, Petr Fischer writes in Hospodarske noviny Tuesday.

The senators want the US to abolish that part of the amnesty that Klaus declared on the 20th anniversary of the Czech Republic in his New Year's speech, in which he (probably) halted the criminal proceedings in several widely-publicised economic cases, Fischer writes.

This is a quixotic effort for several reasons, however, he writes.

First, Klaus proceeded in consistence with the constitution that allows him to halt criminal proceedings without any restriction. He only needs the agreement of the prime minister who together with the government is then responsible for the president's act, Fischer writes.

He says Klaus did not do anything with which he would have abused this power.

Second, the respective constitutional law was duly passed and was supported by a two-third majority in parliament, Fischer writes.

Third, the US can hardly stop something that has been completed, Fischer writes.

He says it is almost sure that the courts will make a decision on the prosecuted before the US gives its ruling.

The argument that Klaus's amnesty violates the damaged persons' right to a just trial will not stand ground at court, Fischer writes.

He says the constitution is not written for particular cases and besides, all interventions by Klaus in the criminal proceedings that the constitution allows him to make are actually unjust.

They either abolish the guilt on which society, represented by judges, elaborately agreed, or prevent the extent of guilt or innocence to be established, Fischer writes.

Any amnesty - whether in the form of abolition of criminal proceedings, the pardoning of the punishment or its deletion - is always unjust from the point of view of justice because it becomes an exception to the system.

Yet, it is good that the constitutional complaint will be filed because the US will have to make a statement on the principle of abolition, which may be a useful guideline for lawmakers, Fischer writes.

He says they might consider the complete deletion of this power of the president, perhaps also because the recently pushed through safeguard in the form of the prime minister's countersignature has not been effective.

Prime Minister Petr Necas (Civic Democrats, ODS) signed the amnesty.

An amendment to the constitutional law - deletion or a possible restriction of the article that allows halting criminal proceedings for humanitarian reasons (lethal disease, for instance) - is also the sole way of preventing similar controversies that Klaus's amnesty for the charged in corruption cases has aroused, Fischer writes.

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