The head of protocol at the Constitutional Court, Vlastimil Göttinger, has confirmed that a complaint of treason filed against outgoing President Václav Klaus will be given top priority. A decision by the court could be taken at the very earliest by the end of March. On Monday, the Czech Senate approved the treason complaint against Václav Klaus with 38 senators voting in favour and 30 against – the first time such a legal move has ever been taken against a Czech head-of-state. The complaint pertains to five cases in which the president is alleged to have violated the constitution, including a controversial amnesty he declared at the start of the year, the fact that he refused to sign the European stability mechanism and his procrastination in nominating judges to the Constitutional Court. The complaint on was officially filed at the court registry on Tuesday, shortly after 11 am.
President Václav Klaus has said he is convinced the complaint against him was not motivated by any actions or actual wrongdoing on his part. Earlier, Mr Klaus had suggested the move to press charges for treason was an attempt by his political opponents to tarnish his presidency. If the Constitutional Court were to find that actions taken by Mr Klaus constituted treason, he would, under normal circumstances, suffer the loss of office. But given that the president steps down this week, such an outcome would be a mere formality. At the same time, some observers have noted that such a ruling could significantly weaken Mr Klaus’ political influence into the future.
In related news, a day earlier, the president received backing from some of his more vocal supporters within the Civic Democratic Party, but also from his former political rival Miloš Zeman, the president-elect who will be sworn in this week. Mr Zeman called the move by the Senate against the outgoing head-of-state this week a “hysterical reaction”.
Prague’s Municipal Court acquitted American musician Randy Blythe on Tuesday, with the judge saying the performer had hurt no one intentionally. Mr Blythe, the singer for the hard rock band Lamb of God, was standing trial for manslaughter, after a Czech fan was fatally injured during the band’s Prague concert more than two years ago. The young man had climbed onto the stage, but fell after clashing with Blythe and suffered a head injury that later proved fatal. He died in hospital. In his testimony the singer said he had seen the young man get up and that surrounding fans had signalled he was ‘ok’. Had he been found guilty, Mr Blythe could have faced between 5 -10 years in prison. The prosecution may still appeal Tuesday’s decision.
The controversial New Year’s amnesty declared by President Václav Klaus will not come under further scrutiny by the country’s Constitutional Court, the court’s general secretary Ivo Pospíšil confirmed on Tuesday. No official reason was given. The court dismissed a proposal by a group of senators calling for Article 2 of the amnesty to be struck down; the article halts or threatens to halt high-profile corruption and fraud cases that have languished in the courts between eight and 10 years, with potential sentences of up 10 years in prison. Four judges of the court, including chairman Pavel Rychetský, differed in their opinion. Discussed was whether the court could at all revise a presidential amnesty. The court just last month rejected a proposal that the entire amnesty be struck down. The amnesty halted 327 criminal proceedings at the beginning of the year and saw some 6,500 prisoners released.
The centre-right Civic Democratic Party has continued its steady decline in opinion polls falling to its biggest its lowest level of popularity since the fall of the Václav Klaus government in 1997, a new survey by the ppm factum agency suggests. According to the survey, the Civic Democrats would clinch only 13.3 percent of the vote if the national election were held today. The opposition Social Democrats would come in first with 25.9 percent, followed by TOP 09 with 16.5 and the Communist Party with 13.6. The Christian Democrats would also pass the five percent threshold to make it into the Chamber of Deputies, as would the Citizens’ Rights Party- Zemanites. The Social Democrats together with the Communist would, however, no longer enjoy a majority in the 200-member lower house, the poll suggests.
The Czech Republic, represented by the Interior Ministry, is to pay one million crowns in damages to the 18-year-old son of a Vietnamese man who died in 2009 following a brutal police raid in Brno. The decision was announced on Tuesday by Brno’s Municipal Court Judge Jan Sedláček. The son as well as the wife of the deceased had sought 50 million crowns in damages each. In his decision, the judge explained that Czech law did not recognise exemplary sentences, which ruled out such significant damages. The judge instead relied on an existing benchmark but raised the sum of 240,000 crowns usually paid out in such cases. He said he had raised the amount given the father’s level of suffering and the fact that his son had lost his father at the age of just 14.
Czech news servers that came under a series of cyber assaults on Monday, which slowed or crashed home pages on the internet, are no closer to learning who the instigator may have been, CTK reports. According to the news agency, Seznam which operates Novinky estimates the attack came from an IP address in Europe, while Economia, which operates the website ihned.cz suggested it came from further afield, in Africa. Among those affected were also idnes.cz and lidovky.cz .No one has yet claimed responsibility. IT experts say the hackers flooded the websites with digital requests overwhelming their systems.
The regional court in Prague has cancelled a planned route known as the Vestec junction in a Central Bohemian zoning plan that would have connected the Prague ring-road with the D1 highway. The junction was opposed for several years by the village of Křeslice as well as by owners of surrounding land. Locals also oppose a planned junction known as Exit 4.