Prague, June 20 (CTK) – Karel Cermak, former Czech justice minister and chairman of the Bar Association (CAK) for many years, who was also internationally active, died at the age of 82 today, the CAK has tweeted.
“Thanks to him and several other people, whom we also deeply respect, the independent free legal profession was restored very soon after the 1989 revolution [that brought down the communist regime],” CAK spokeswoman Iva Chaloupkova said.
Cermak, who was an expert on intellectual property law, was justice minister from September 2003 until June 2004, when he left the government of Vladimir Spidla.
He reacted to the government’s decision to strip judges of the 13th and 14th salaries which he qualified as an attack on the judiciary.
Cermak graduated from the Faculty of Law of Charles University. He was granted the doctoral degree in 1965. In 1969, he became chairman of the Municipal Bar Association in Prague. One year later he refused to join the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia and to cooperate in any other form with the “normalisation” regime, which followed the occupation of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact troops in August 1968 to crush the Prague Spring reform movement. He also resigned as the association’s chairman.
Cermak headed the Czech Bar Association in 1990-93 and in 1996-2002.
He was an arbitrator of the Arbitration Court of the Czech Chamber of Commerce and the Agrarian Chamber, the Arbitration Court of the International Economic Chamber in Vienna and the World Intellectual Property Arbitration Centre in Geneva.
In 1994, the Austrian president presented him with a medal for services to the Republic of Austria.
In 2005, Cermak was named Lawyer of the Year of the Czech Republic.