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Fórum.cz association files criminal charges alleging genocide

Prague, 8.9.2011 18:12, (ROMEA)
ilustrační foto

On the basis of the recent events that have occurred during demonstrations in the Šluknov foothills, the civic association Fórum.cz has decided to file criminal charges. News server Romea.cz publishes those charges in full below.

Re: Notice of suspicion of the commission of the crime of genocide (Section 400 paras. 1 a.) and 2 of the Penal Code); crimes against humanity (Section 401 para. 1 letter e) Penal Code, in the phase of preparations); expressing sympathy for a movement aimed at suppressing human rights and freedoms (Section 404 Penal Code); denial of, doubting of, approving of and justifying genocide (Section 405 Penal Code); violence against member(s) of a group of inhabitants (Section 352 Penal Code); incitement to hatred of a group of persons or to restrict human rights and freedoms (Section 356 Penal Code); restriction of personal freedom (Section 171 Penal Code); abuse of the power of a public official (Section 329 para. 1 letters a), c); and para. 2 letter b) Penal Code) and other charges.

On 26 August 2011 at 17:00, the Czech Social Democratic Party (ČSSD) convened a gathering on the square in Rumburk on the topic of "Security in the Šluknov Foothills". Approximately 800 people attended. After introductory speeches by Czech MP Foldyna (ČSSD), the gathering ended with repeated calls to disperse because the aggression of those assembled was growing. An unidentified man then took the microphone (see video No.1, at 01:46) and publicly incited people from the crowd to arm themselves and attack citizens who are members of the Romani national minority.

The crowd responded to his challenge and moved into a locality where Romani people live with the aim of lynching their fellow Romani citizens. Even though the assembly was no longer a permitted one as per the meaning of the law on assembly, and should therefore have been immediately dispersed, the commander of the Czech Police intervention permitted the mob to continue its march toward the locality where Romani people reside, without oversight or the presence of special forces units. The mob went on to violate not only the law on assembly, but also to call for genocide, to defame a nation, and to shout slogans referencing the Holocaust committed against Romani people during the Second World War (see the recording on video no.1 - "set them on fire" - "upálit je", "stab them in the back" - "kudlu do zad", "black swine" - "černý svině, "gypsies to the gas chambers" - "cikáni do plynu"). The police therefore had sufficient indications to be able to justifiably presume that damage to the health and property of citizens would result. Despite this, the commander of the intervention gave no order to disperse this unpermitted gathering, which was also preventing the people living in the besieged buildings from coming and going freely.

The mob subsequently marched through the town more than once with the aim of finding Romani people, and stopped several times in front of buildings where Romani people live, throwing pieces of wood and rocks at two buildings. Near one building in Dolní street, the mob entered onto private property without permission and destroyed the fence. From the video footage it is also clear that none of the police officers present ever called on the citizens to cease their illegal behavior. The same applies to the neighbors of one Romani family who threatened them; the family, justifiably concerned for their lives and those of their children, had to leave their home and seek refuge in another town with their relatives (see video no.2).

On 2 September 2011 and 3 September 2011, approximately 1 000 people met in Varnsdorf for a demonstration against "inadaptable" residents. The convener of this assembly, Lukáš Kohout, immediately opened the gathering on the square by calling through a megaphone for a march to the localities where Romani people reside. The mob accepted his challenge and set off toward the Sport residential hotel, where Romani people live. During this march, people shouted racist abuse and calls to commit violence against Romani people (see the video footage). In this case the Czech Police gradually closed off all access points and did not let the mob into the troubled locality. The Czech Police also prevented demonstrators from attacking the residents of the Sport residential hotel, although the commander of the intervention underestimated the situation from the start and demonstrators managed to break through a police cordon that was insufficiently secure (see video no 3). A local girl wore a t-shirt celebrating Adolf Hitler and the gas chambers for two days in a row without police officers noticing; by doing so, she essentially publicly expressed sympathy for a movement aimed at suppressing human rights and freedoms and publicly promoted the ideas of Nazism and the so-called Final Solution connected to the annihilation of human beings (see video no. 4).

I want to underscore here that these actions (or rather the lack of action) taken by the commander of the intervention are not compatible with the provisions of the law on assembly. The Czech Police are obliged to concern themselves with the real purpose of any gathering, and should they come to the conclusion that the real purpose contravenes Regulation Section 10 para. 1/a) of the law on assembly, they are obliged to ban the assembly and immediately disperse it. The Czech Republic is bound by the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, in the sense of Article 4, to label as criminal all behavior that constitutes, for example, incitement to racial discrimination or support for and participation in an organization promoting racial discrimination. The Czech Republic is also obliged not to permit either local or national public bodies or institutions to support or incite racial discrimination. However, all of this was committed at these rallies, with the assistance of the Czech Police, as can be seen from their failure to arrest the woman with the illegal slogans on her t-shirt, their failure to halt the unpermitted assembly, their failure to restrict the movement of the mob (which roamed the streets for approximately an hour and a half), their failure to prevent the mob from restricting others' freedom of movement, their failure to prevent the mob from trespassing, and their failure to prevent the unhindered march of citizens who were inciting racist opinions by shouting them in the streets and making threats, etc.

There is no doubt that democratic principles include the principle that all persons are free and equal in dignity and in rights. The basic principles of democracy also include the inviolability of the person, the right to preserve human dignity, and the right to choose one's nationality with the proviso that membership in a nationality or ethnic minority must never constitute a detriment. Everyone who wants to enjoy the right to assembly must respect these basic principles and the freedoms of others, which also correspond to the Constitution of the Czech Republic.

I view the insufficiently coordinated activity of the Czech Police and the indecisiveness of the commander of these interventions as posing a high degree of danger to society. The crimes that have been committed are likely to be repeated and spread throughout the entire republic and are likely to never be prosecuted (with the exception of attacks against public officials). This will significantly endanger both our democracy and the democratic principles in our society such that it will endanger the integrity and sovereignty of the state as an authority and the Czech Police as a tool for maintaining public order in the countryside. The failure of police to intervene and to hold perpetrators liable in such cases could have fatal results for citizens of the Czech Republic.

I therefore demand that this matter be properly investigated and that it be determined who exactly committed either crimes or misdemeanors during these demonstrations. The identities of the offenders who incited citizens to racial intolerance must be determined. It should also be determined whether the commander of the intervention committed a crime by not taking actions required by law and thereby endangered people's health and property. I also demand that you familiarize me with the results of your investigation.

Video No. 1 is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6Gs0DhuuJQ&feature=player_embedded#!

Video No. 2 is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KrV000My1nA

Video No. 3 is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oTHSyuzDbX0

Video No. 4 is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAakISMZVdk

Gwendolyn Albert, Miroslav Kováč, Miroslav Kováč, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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