Thursday, 24 April 2014

Lawyers: Proposal for amnesty's abolition has no chance

24 January 2013

Prague, Jan 23 (CTK) - Prague Municipal Court's decision that the recent presidential amnesty should be abolished has no chance of succeeding, according to legal experts whom CTK addressed Wednesday.

The court said the amnesty declared by President Vaclav Klaus should have been discussed by the government beforehand, which apparently did not happen. Prime Minister Petr Necas (Civic Democrats, ODS) only countersigned the amnesty, which is condition of its validity.

Ales Gerloch, from Prague's Faculty of Law, said the amnesty does not have to be discussed by the government beforehand and the prime minister alone has the right to countersign it without consulting other cabinet ministers.

Jan Kysela, expert on constitutional law, shares the view of Gerloch, his colleague from the Law Faculty.

Kysela said it is up to the prime minister whether he discusses the president's proposed amnesty with his advisers, with the cabinet or with nobody at all.

Kysela said this is an issue of constitutional or political practice and of the relations between the cabinet and the prime minister. He said he believes it does not affect the amnesty's validity.

Jan Barta, from the Czech Institute of State and Law, supported this view.

Barta said it is bad that the government did not deal with the countersigning of the amnesty beforehand, but it is not a reason that would make the amnesty invalid.

Gerloch said he believes the Constitutional Court (US) should reject the proposal.

He said a presidential amnesty is in fact a political decision, although it has a certain legal form.

Under the constitution, the government is responsible for the amnesty and the lower house of parliament may take a no-confidence motion in the government as a result, Gerloch said.

The opposition Social Democrats (CSSD) initiated a no-confidence vote but Necas's government survived it on January 17.

Kysela said a possible abolition of the amnesty would harm the rights of the amnestied who could then claim compensation from the state. It is unimaginable that convicts would return to prison, he added.

Necas said earlier the recent amnesty was declared in the same way as the previous ones in 1993 and 1998. As a result, the previous amnesties would be challenged by the possible abolition of the amnesty that President Vaclav Klaus announced on New Year's Day.

But Constitutional Court chairman Pavel Rychetsky recently said Klaus and Necas did not respect the well-established procedures related to the amnesty.

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