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May 22, 2018
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Czech Constitutional Court receives complaint over buyout of pig farm on Romani genocide site

2.2.2018 7:03
The pig farm at Lety u Písku, Czech Republic (2017). (PHOTO: Petr Zewlakk Vrabec)
The pig farm at Lety u Písku, Czech Republic (2017). (PHOTO: Petr Zewlakk Vrabec)

The Czech Constitutional Court received a complaint in mid-January about the approval of the handover of the pig farm in Lety (Písek district) to the state. The daily Lidové noviny (LN) reported yesterday that the filing concerns the decree through which the previous coalition government of Bohuslav Sobotka (Czech Social Democratic Party - ČSSD) approved of the purchase last August.

The plaintiff is asking the Constitutional Court to overturn that decision. At Lety during WWII there was a concentration camp for Romani people and a new remembrance site is supposed to be built there now.

"The Constitutional Court rarely deals with complaints against Government resolutions, there are no more than 10 such filings," court spokesperson Miroslava Sedláčková told LN's online server, Lidovky.cz. The court should handle the motion during the course of this year.

The average length of time it takes to settle complaints is roughly 10 months. "In this case, probably nobody's constitutional rights could have been infringed. I am not really able to imagine how such a filing might be successful," constitutional lawyer Jan Kysela said.

Former Czech Culture Minister Daniel Herman (Christian Democrats - KDU-ČSL) was in charge of the entire agenda concerning the Lety farm and submitted the motion to buy it to the cabinet. Herman said he believes the court will take the complaint "off the table", as the then-cabinet and primarily the Culture Ministry, in his view, approached the transaction in the most responsible way possible.

"We knew from the very beginning that some people would not like this. They are people from xenophobic circles who deny the existence of that concentration camp for Roma," Herman told Lidovky.cz.

The effort to build a dignified remembrance site on the location of the former camp at Lety was brought to a successful conclusion by Sobotka's Government last summer. The Government agreed with the owner of the farm to buy the facility and the state is paying the Agpi firm CZK 450 million [EUR 17.8 million] for it.

Minority shareholder Petr Vrba, however, has said he is concerned the company will "tunnel" the money. In January he filed a lawsuit against the resolution by the Agpi company's general meeting to hand the farm over to the state.

ČTK, ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Lety u Písku, Soud, Ústavní soud, Vláda



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