News / Europe

Czech PM Survives No-confidence Vote Over Controversial Amnesty

Czech Prime Minister and chairman of the Civic Democratic Party (ODS) Petr Necas (L) attends the party's congress in Brno November 4, 2012.Czech Prime Minister and chairman of the Civic Democratic Party (ODS) Petr Necas (L) attends the party's congress in Brno November 4, 2012.
x
Czech Prime Minister and chairman of the Civic Democratic Party (ODS) Petr Necas (L) attends the party's congress in Brno November 4, 2012.
Czech Prime Minister and chairman of the Civic Democratic Party (ODS) Petr Necas (L) attends the party's congress in Brno November 4, 2012.
TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas survived a vote of no confidence on Thursday after coming under sharp attack for an amnesty that halted investigations of dozens of financial crimes.
 
The amnesty, granted by President Vaclav Klaus and countersigned by Necas, outraged many Czechs who believe politicians and their friends are able to evade justice.
 
Amnesties are among the limited powers of Czech presidents. This one, announced on Jan. 1, was Klaus's first, and came just before the end of his second and final five-year term in March.
 
The opposition failed to muster the necessary 101 votes in the lower house of parliament to topple Necas. The center-right cabinet has survived five such votes since taking power in 2010.
 
"This undermined the trust in the law in this country," center-left Social Democrat Vice-Chairman Lubomir Zaoralek said of the amnesty.
 
"Ask the people who have been robbed, how they feel about their right for fair trial," he told parliament.
 
Necas defended himself by saying he signed the president's decision in line with tradition, without questioning it.
 
The amnesty by Klaus, who led the post-communist economic transformation as prime minister in the 1990s, freed over 6,000 prisoners with short sentences, more than quarter of the prison population.
 
Prosecutions halted
 
But the most controversial step was that it halted the prosecutions of people in cases that have dragged on for longer than eight years and who face sentences of up to 10 years.
 
This includes dozens of cases of financial crime from the turbulent and sometimes lawless post-communist economy of the 1990s.
 
Klaus has repeatedly denied he had any concrete cases in mind when he granted the pardon.
 
Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, one of two run-off candidates to replace Klaus in an election next week, criticized Necas for not informing the cabinet about the amnesty, and sniped at Klaus.
 
"Either no one cared about who would profit from the abolition, or someone knew too well. Neither option reflects well on the state of justice and rule of law," he said.
 
The halted investigations include the disappearance of millions of dollars from an investment fund, suspected asset-stripping in a bank that collapsed and a failed housing scheme in which over a thousand people lost millions of crowns.
 
They also include the case a judge suspected to be part of a ring that forced healthy companies into bankruptcy to sell their assets cheaply to friends.
 
Public outrage at corruption has risen in the past two years partly because more cases have been uncovered by more aggressive investigations by police and judges.
 

You May Like

Abuja Blast Impacts Lives, Livelihoods

Officials say they are looking at ways to help bombing victims and boosting security More

Cambodia Technology Adviser Criticizes Cybercrime Draft Law

Phu Leewood says current criminal code can be used to prosecute offenders and that there is no need for a separate law More

Photogallery A Year Later, Boston Remembers Deadly Marathon Bombings

City pauses to honor victims and salute emergency workers who came to their assistance in frantic moments after blasts More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid