Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus Faces Treason

Czech Republic President Faces Treason

By a narrow vote, Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus was charged with treason and impeached by the upper house of the Czech parliament on Monday.

President Klaus’ term as leader of the Czech Republic is scheduled to end on Thursday.

According to Reuters, the house voted 38 to 30 during a closed session to bring charges against the Czech Republic President.

The Senate’s decision refers Klaus to Constitutional Court to determine if he acted against the constitution while granting amnesty to some 7,000 prisoners and halting high-profile prosecution cases in January.

Czech Republic President Klaus ordered the amnesty for prisoners as part of his New Year measures.

The amnesty angered Czechs, mainly because many people whom were under investigation for embezzlement were no longer being prosecuted.

In a swift move by the president, almost a dozen cases involving millions of dollars in theft, bribery, and fraud were tossed out, according to the BBC.

Senators are also accusing Czech Republic President Klaus of infringing on the constitution by refusing to ratify European treaties, and going against a court order by declining to rule on the appointment of judges.

Jiri Dienstbier, a Social Democratic senator, said, “The Senate couldn’t remain silent in a situation when the president repeatedly violated the constitution … The independent Constitutional Court will have a chance to assess how deep the violation of the constitution by the president was.”

Klaus maintains that the amnesty was legal.

Among his acts while in office, Klaus is well known for delaying signing of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty in 2009. The president held office for 10 years and, having been found guilty of treason, cannot hold office again and is required to step down.

Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus and Slovak President Ivan Gasparovic are awarding each other high state decorations on Friday. Klaus will receive the Order of the Double Cross, an award bestowed on foreigners that contribute to the development of Slovakian relations.

Czech Republic President Klaus said, “We [Klaus and Gasparovic] internally feel that we may deserve such a decoration, but we will not offer you an opportunity to ridicule it.”