published: 10.01.2013, 15:05 | updated: 10.01.2013 15:13:03
Prague - The advisers and aides to Czech President Vaclav Klaus and Prime Minister Petr Necas failed to give them correct information on the conventions connected with the amnesty preparation, Constitutional Court chairman Pavel Rychetsky told reporters today.
Commenting on the amnesty Klaus declared on New Year, Rychetsky said the government was traditionally debating an amnesty before its declaration to tune up its content and form.
The prime minister did no have to sign it if he did not agree with it, Rychetsky noted.
"The construct published now saying the prime minister is obliged to sign it (amnesty) is unfortunately a result of the incompetent advice that our supreme constitutional officials have received," Rychetsky said.
He added that he felt sorry for Klaus and Necas (Civic Democrats, ODS) in this respect. It is a pity that they are not surrounded by experts who are at least "acquainted with how it has been functioning here for some 80 years."
"This is not criticism of either the president or the prime minister but of those people who are providing them with wrong information and get them, in my opinion, in an awkward situation in the experts' eyes," Rychetsky said.
In reaction to Rychetsky´s sharp criticism, Klaus´s secretary Ladislav Jakl called him a dilettante.
The executive power should have known it beforehand to whom the amnesty would apply. In the past the government was always debating the amnesty beforehand, Rychetsky said, referring to his experience from the executive.
"It happened several times, but the public need not know it, that the government warned that the prime minister might not countersign it and a change to the content of this act was negotiated," Rychetsky said.
Jakl denied it.
"It is utter nonsense what he has said. No one has ever verified to whom the amnesty applies beforehand," Jakl said.
He has not yet heard "any sophisticated seriously meant" objection that would be a reason for reassessing the conditions of Klaus´s amnesty, Jalk said.
Rychetsky criticised some circumstances of the amnesty in an interview for today's issue of the daily Hospodarske noviny (HN).
"We are witnesses to an incredible amateurish approach. Since 1920, all amnesties were prepared by the government, primarily by the justice minister, not by the Presidential Office," Rychetsky told the paper.
Necas did not comment on Rychetsky's stance.
"I will not comment on many of the decisions by the Constitutional Court on which I could say the same," Necas only said.
Necas today did not comment on Klaus's refusal to explain the amnesty in the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of parliament, either.
The president is not obliged to do so, Necas told reporters.
Rychetsky recalled in HN that in the past the government with the justice minister at the helm had always prepared all amnesties. He called current Justice Minister Pavel Blazek (ODS) unexperienced in this respect.
Blazek previously said only a small circle of people had known about Klaus´s amnesty beforehand to prevent the information from leaking to the public.
Blazek refused to react to Rychetsky´s words. Blazek´s spokeswoman Stepanka Cechova said he would comment on the amnesty at the Chamber of Deputies extraordinary session only.
The amnesty, declared on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Czech Republic, applies to convicts with low suspended or prison sentences, elderly convicts and also suspects whose criminal proceedings have lasted for more than eight years. The prosecution is to be halted if the maximum prison sentence that can be imposed in such cases does not exceed ten years.
The Constitutional Court will probably deal with the amnesty in the days to come.
A group of senators around Alena Dernerova (Severocesi.cz) is considering filing a proposal for the abolition of the part of the amnesty that applies to long-term criminal proceedings. It would probably halt the prosecution in some closely watched cases of financial crime and corruption.
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