Czech lower house committee does not recommend stripping MP of immunity over denying the Holocaust of the Roma
A committee in the Czech lower house has decided not to recommend stripping MP Miloslav Rozner ("Freedom and Direct Democracy" - SPD) of his immunity from prosecution so he can be charged for remarks he made about the former concentration camp for Romani people at Lety u Písku. On 6 March the Immunity and Mandate Committee of the lower house did not recommend Rozner's immunity from prosecution be lifted.
The vice-chair of the committee, MP Taťána Malá (Association of Dissatisfied Citizens - ANO) informed journalists of the decision after the vote. The lower house should now vote to decide the issue as part of its ongoing session.
The chair of the Immunity and Mandate committee, Stanislav Grospič (Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia - KSČM) said prior to the session convening that the vote in the lower house would likely be next Wednesday. Police officers want to prosecute Rozner on suspicion of denying, doubting, approving of and justifying genocide.
According to MP Marek Výborný (Christian Democrats - KDU-ČSL), the decision not to lift Rozner's immunity was made by the vast majority of Committee members. Grospič, who said he voted against lifting Rozner's immunity, also confirmed that to the press.
According to the chair, the argument prevailed that similar remarks by other MPs in the past had never resulted in the launching of criminal proceedings. The Committee, according to its chair, is not a body deciding guilt and punishment.
"That is the role of the criminal justice authorities," he told journalists after the session. The evidence, according to the Committee, had not been justified by the police in relation to Rozner's performance in office.
"That is basically the matter we assess here," the chair added. He said he believed the Committee had voted consistently.
The chair also said he did not believe Rozner had been declared innocent by the Committee. "If he is not re-elected, he will still face criminal prosecution," he noted.
Klára Kalibová, director of the In IUSTITIA organization, who is a lawyer, told news server Romea.cz that "The decision not to strip MP Rozner of immunity is, in our opinion, one that goes beyond their mandate, which is meant to be assessing whether the conditions have been met for surrendering him to the authorities, i.e., whether he actually did make those remarks outside the Chamber of Deputies or not. If the evidence shows that he did, then he should be surrendered to the authorities."
"It is, therefore, apparent that the MPs are usurping the powers that the courts are authorized to execute, which it is absolutely inappropriate for them to do," Kalibová said. According to the public broadcasting television channel ČT24, Czech MP Radek Rozvoral (SPD) has asserted that Rozner has done nothing wrong and was just expressing his dissatisfaction during a closed meeting about where the state wants to spend its money [i.e., on a memorial at Lety], and Rozvoral also asserted that the remarks had nothing to do with denying genocide.
Czech MP Lukáš Bartoň (Pirates - Piráti) and Czech MP Miroslava Němcová (Civic Democratic Party - ODS) are of the opposite opinion. Bartoň voted in favor of stripping Rozner's immunity.
"I am a bit bothered by those words about a 'non-existent camp'. For that reason, I did not support the Immunity Committee's opinion that he should not be surrendered," the Pirate said.
The Committee also adopted a resolution on the matter, proposed by Czech MP Helena Válková (for ANO), stating that it does not consider Rozner's remark to have been "appropriate". Not all the Committee members agreed with that resolution, however, according to the chair.
"Some believed, and I am one of them, that it is not appropriate for us to intervene like that in this matter. We are meant to purely decide about what the criminal justice authorities have asked of us, which means whether to surrender him or not," the chair said.
"The resolution goes above and beyond that request and would be more appropriate if we were conducting a disciplinary proceeding," the chair pointed out. Dissenting Committee member Němcová said that while she respects the majority decision of the Committee, she does not believe the term "inappropriate" is enough to describe Rozner's behavior.
"I think his remark was worthy of condemnation, it was wrong, and it should never have been made in public, to say nothing of being made by a public official," Němcová said. As for the In IUSTITIA director, she commented that "It is apparent that the Immunity and Mandate Committee of the Chamber of Deputies did not at all take into account the interests of the generation of Sinti, Roma, Jews and Czech political prisoners who survived the Holocaust when they declined to hear testimony from a representative of the survivors of Lety u Písku, not even from the injured party in this case, J.H."
According to the chair of the TOP 09 party, Jiří Pospíšil, the Committee should have recommended Rozner be surrendered to police and the Chamber of Deputies should vote to surrender him next week. "People who deny or make light of the Holocaust must bear responsibility for their words, even if they are MPs," Pospíšil said.
The Committee met behind closed doors, as it has in all other such cases. The State Prosecutor from the Municipal State Prosecutor's Office in Prague was the only non-member invited to make a statement.
The prosecutor had been unable to attend the previous session on 5 February, which was then cancelled by the Committee. As for the remarks at issue, Rozner used the phrase "non-existent pseudo-concentration camp" when criticizing the decision of a previous Government to buy out the industrial pig farm located at the site of the former concentration camp at Lety in order to build a more dignified memorial there.
Several individuals filed criminal reports against him immediately once the news of his remarks broke. According to the SPD, there are doubts about the objectivity of the investigation of the case, and MPS from that movement have declared they oppose stripping Rozner of his immunity.
- Czech Police propose indicting two men who desecrated memorial to Holocaust victims of Romani origin
- Czech MPs avoid round table about the Holocaust and its Romani victims
- Monika Mihaličková to the Czech Senate: Election laws must not allow the horrors of the Holocaust to repeat
- Czech Police ask lower house to lift immunity on MP who called Romani genocide site a "non-existing pseudo-concentration camp"
- Czech Police must re-investigate one MP for Holocaust denial, but head of ultranationalist party will not be prosecuted
- VIDEO: Chair of Committee for the Redress of the Roma Holocaust in the Czech Republic on the archaeological findings there
- Commentary: Actual risk now exists that deniers of the Holocaust of the Roma could join the Czech Government
- Holocaust memorial in Czech town will bloom with yellow crocuses in the spring
- Roma Holocaust Memorial Day marks the Nazi murder of Roma and Sinti at Auschwitz on 2-3 August 1944
- Třebíč, Czech Republic commemorates anniversary of Holocaust transports from there
- Miroslav Rác: 21st century classical music teaching the lessons of the Holocaust and its Romani victims
- Public discussion reviews Czech and Slovak policies and practices of commemorating the Holocaust and its Romani victims
- LIVE BROADCAST TONIGHT: Contemporary research of the Holocaust, Romani victims, and their public commemoration
- Prague Forum for Romani Histories launches Czech website, panel on Holocaust research MONDAY
- Czech commemoration of Holocaust at Terezín Memorial will again not feature the Romani flag
- Traditional commemorative ceremony for the Romani victims of the Holocaust 13 May at Lety will launch new award
- Hundreds commemorate Romani victims of WWII-era camp, criticize Czech politicians for Holocaust denial
- Political immunity for Czech politicians bottomless
- Czech archaeologists discover two graves of Romani concentration camp victims at Lety u Písku
- Czech archaeological survey confirms human remains are located in the vicinity of current memorial to WWII-era concentration camp for Roma
- Last survivor of Czech students sent to Sachsenhausen concentration camp has passed away in the Czech Republic
- Archaeological survey continues at site of former concentration camp for Roma in Czech Republic
- Czech politicians react to Communist MP's false allegation that honoring the Roma victims of Nazism has raised the price of pork
- Czech Communist Party chair alleges pork is expensive because the farm on the former concentration camp for Roma was closed, but statistics show he is lying
- Slovak President: The Holocaust of the Roma cannot be forgotten, especially when hatred is becoming a political tool once more
- Czech state may finally compensate forced sterilization victims
- Czech design competition for memorial to Holocaust victims of Roma/Sinti origin opens in September, winner to be announced in the spring
- Poland: Vandals deface Holocaust memorials in multiple locations, disrupt Jewish festival
- Czech SocDem chair threatens to bring down Govt if ultranationalist nominee appointed to Czech News Agency board
- Czech politician appeals sentence for his hateful remarks about minorities