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October 22, 2021



Čeněk Růžička on lower house refusing to strip MP of immunity for remarks denying the Holocaust of the Roma: They're playing with fire

14.3.2019 10:50

"Personally, I believe the MPs are playing with fire," Čeněk Růžička, chair of the Committee for the Redress of the Roma Holocaust in the Czech Republic (Výbor pro odškodnění romského holokaustu), said after the Czech lower house voted not to strip MP Rozner of his immunity from prosecution for making remarks that denied the Holocaus of the Roma. "I wasn't even very surprised by this outcome because I had assumed this is what would happen. It's sad that the Chamber of Deputies has now decided in this way. The MPs probably are not aware that he did not make those remarks inside the Chamber, where he naturally has immunity, but that he made them outside the Chamber in public, and I am of the opinion that this is not about anything more than the responsibility that I, too, have for remarks I make in public, especially when it comes to such a case."

According to Růžička, the Czech MPs are not aware that Europe is "fascisizing". He warned against what is happening in the European context vis-à-vis Romani people and other minorities such as Jews.

"MPs cannot be afraid to express their opinions, especially when elections are underway," the VPORH chair said, warning against the growing number of voters for the "Freedom and Direct Democracy Party of Tomio Okamura" (SPD), of whom Rozner is a member. "You've sent the public a clear signal:  You can do what you want with Romani people and you will not be held accountable in the least," he said to the legislators.

Růžička also said the MPs had received a letter from the former prisoners of the concentration camp at Lety with a supporting statement from his fellow civil society members on the Czech Government Council for Romani Minority Affairs in which the issue of the camp was described in detail. Štefan Oláh, another civil society member of that Council, said he shared Růžička's opinion of the Chamber's decision.

"We also counted on their not surrendering MP Rozner. The Immunity and Mandate Committee did the same thing. From now on we Romani people will not feel at home here - we will feel like we're on the run," Oláh said.

bau, brf, th, vhl, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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