Brno, Oct 26 (CTK) – Constitutional Court (US) chairman Pavel Rychetsky will attend the celebration of the Czech national holiday at Prague Castle, the presidential seat, on October 28, he said yesterday, but he criticised the Presidential Office’s steps in the case of an award for Holocaust survivor Jiri Brady.
Rychetsky said in a statement released on the US website that his participation in the award-giving ceremony would express respect for the holiday, marking the 1918 establishment of Czechoslovakia.
Rychetsky also said Brady should have been awarded a high state order on October 28.
Culture Minister Daniel Herman (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) accused President Milos Zeman of having said he would bestow a state award, the Order of T.G. Masaryk, on Brady, Herman’s relative, on October 28 if Herman refrained from meeting the Tibetan Dalai Lama. After Herman met him, the Presidential Office decided not to decorate Brady.
The Presidential Office has denied the accusation.
Rychetsky also set himself against the statement by supreme elected officials who said the Czech policy towards China remained unchanged and distanced themselves from some politicians’ meetings with the Dalai Lama. The document was issued by Zeman, PM Bohuslav Sobotka Sobotka, Senate chairman Milan Stech and Chamber of Deputies chairman Jan Hamacek (all three Social Democrats, CSSD).
“The importance of this holiday (October 28) cannot be downplayed or even downgraded by a mistake or possibly an impudent approach by the Presidential Office’s officials, including the president,” Rychetsky said.
He also said the holiday cannot be questioned by “an unfortunate and improper statement by supreme constitutional officials in connection with a visit by the Nobel Peace Prize laureate, the 14th Dalai Lama, to the country” either.
This can only lower the authority of the respective officials, he added.
A number of leading Czech politicians have called on Zeman to decorate Brady.
The junior government Christian Democrat (KDU-CSL) and the opposition right-wing Civic Democrat (ODS) and TOP 09 lawmakers will not attend the October 28 ceremony at Prague Castle due to the Brady affair. Most university rectors will not participate in it either.
However, Rychetsky said he would consider the refusal to attend the official celebration of the national holiday an expression of disrespect for its importance. The participation in it is not only a matter of honour, but also responsibility for the invited representatives of state bodies, self-rule authorities, the academic community and other groups, Rychetsky concluded.
Apart form Rychetsky, US judges have received an invitation to the October 28 ceremony at Prague Castle and some of them will attend it.