Prague, 24 September – The Czech prosecutors announced they would halt the prosecution of former high-ranking Communist representatives and former ministers of interior Mr Lubomír Štrougal and Vratislav Vajnar. Together with Milouš Jakeš, who passed away in July, they have been facing prosecution for the killings of unarmed civilians on the Czechoslovak state borders before 1989. According to the District Prosecutor’s Office in Prague 1, headed by state prosecutor Mr Jan Lelek, they both suffer from a mental illness that makes it permanently impossible for them to understand the meaning of criminal prosecution.
The supervising state prosecutor Mr Tomáš Jarolímek, who stopped the prosecution of the former high-ranking Communist politburo members, stated that “the evidence that has been gathered is so strong that the public prosecutor has concluded that the offenses for which they have been prosecuted have undoubtedly been committed.”
The state prosecutors’ decision is not final and could be reversed. The final decision lies with the Attorney General.
“Even though it may not seem so, this is a victory for us. The claim of the defendants that they are mentally ill can be seen as their indirect admission of guilt. If they were not feeling guilty, they would be ready to prove their innocence in court. The Platform however filed this criminal complaint against about 200 persons, so I expect that the criminal prosecution of the perpetrators in the Czech Republic will carry on. The prosecution on the German side is continuing“, says former Platform Managing Director Neela Winkelmann, who initiated a criminal complaint.
“The Platform is determined to use all legal possibilities to secure justice for the victims. The list of those responsible for killings on the Iron Curtain is not limited to those two individuals. The investigation should continue in order to identify other culprits and bring them to justice”, says the Platform President Lukasz Kamiński.
The prosecution was initiated by the Platform of European Memory and Conscience via criminal complaints filed in Poland in 2015, in Germany in 2016 and in the Czech Republic in 2017.
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