Czech Republic: More charges to be filed against MP for Roma Holocaust denial
On 7 August, representatives of several nonprofit organizations met with the chair of the Committee for the Redress of the Roma Holocaust (Výboru pro odškodnění romského holocaustu - VPORH), Čeněk Růžička. The topic of the meeting was reaching agreement on filing a joint criminal complaint against Czech MP Tomio Okamura over the remarks he made in an interview for the political tabloid "Parlamentní listy" on the eve of Roma Holocaust Memorial Day.
In addition to Mr Růžička, the meeting was attended by Michal Miko on behalf of the Slovo 21 organization, Miroslav Kováč of the Equal Opportunities Party (Strana rovných příležitostí - SRP), political scientist Robert Tonelli, and Jitka Votavová on behalf of ROMEA, o.p.s. Currently background information is being gathered in order to file an extensive criminal complaint which can be joined by other individuals and organizations who are not indifferent to this disparagement of the memory of the victims of the Roma Holocaust.
Čeněk Růžička, as a representative of the relatives of the victims of the concentration camp at Lety u Písku, summarized the reasons why he has decided to initiate a joint criminal complaint against Okamura for news server Romea.cz as follows: "Anyone who dares to doubt the historically known facts about the Romani genocide must count on bearing criminal liability for doing so, even if that person is a legislator. Romani people will not allow anyone to violate the honor and memory of their ancestors and all citizens - including Romani ones - can defend themselves against wrongdoing by filing a criminal complaint. Romani people, if you have honor in your blood, then come forward and file a criminal complaint against Tomio Okamura."
Michal Miko of the Slovo 21 association said that both he as an individual and the organization as a whole would be joining the criminal complaint against Okamura. "The Slovo 21 civic association is very disturbed by the situation that has arisen at a time when we were commemorating all of the Romani victims of the Holocaust. Each and every day, Romani people and other minorities in the Czech Republic must face pressure from all sides, and the Holocaust, or in Romanes the Porajmos, is an historical fact that must never be doubted by anyone in any way," Miko said.
Speaking personally, Miko added that "I identify with all of the arguments made in favor of filing a criminal complaint against Mr Okamura. Denying the Holocaust is a crime and the laws apply to everyone equally, immunity should have no bearing here."
Robert Tonelli, a graduate in International Relations and European Studies at Metropolitan University in Prague, has decided to file his own criminal complaints. "I will be filing two criminal complaints. One will be against MP Okamura and the other will be against the Dawn of Direct of Democracy political entity," he said.
"It is inadmissible and unacceptable in any decent society for someone to deny or doubt Nazi crimes. Mr Okamura was contacted for that survey in his role as chair of a party, which he represents as a whole. If all of the members of that party do not publicly distance themselves from their chair's remarks, then it means they agree with him," Tonelli said.
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