Czech President Impeached For State Pardon By Seyi Olu Awofeso

Czech President Impeached For State Pardon By Seyi Olu Awofeso

A few days ago, on Monday March 4, the Senate of the Czech Republic impeached the country’s President for granting state pardon to criminals charged with financial frauds.

By a vote of 38 to 30 the Czech Republic Senate indicted and impeached President Václav Klaus, at an executive session, for issuing state pardon on December 31, 2012, to cover a range of financial crimes; including investment funds thefts, and, non-violent crimes or offences committed by elderly persons. President Václav Klaus gave amnesty alongside to all criminals facing 10-year jail terms but whose court trials have exceeded 8 years by December 31, 2012.

Altogether, he released 6,236 prisoners under his hands, being 25% of prison inmates, although quite a few of those he amnestied quickly re-committed crimes within days and were promptly returned to jail, giving a lie to a plausible argument of offenders’ penitence or contrition that his clever by half spokesmen could invent.

Showing its outrage further, the Czech Republic Senate quickly passed a separate resolution immediately referring President Václav Klaus to the Constitutional Court on indictment for treason trial. In a country riven by corruption, a state pardon of financial crimes by President Václav Klaus was considered serious enough to rise to the level of high crime against the Czech Republic, in the Senate’s majority view.

Two separate charges of constitutional trespasses were then added in the treason indictment for a consolidated trial by the Constitutional Court before or by June this year.

No nonsense, no sentiments, the Czech Republic Senate in taking these un-precedented steps against corruption, simply dis-regarded President Václav Klaus’ age, for despite being 71-year-old, the Czech Republic President is to face judicial punishment, if convicted for treason, and, shall become legally disable as an ex-convict to forfeit his pension for 10 years in office as the president. 

"The broad amnesty for thousands of people only serves as a smoke-screen for pardons of serious economic offenses and abolition of their investigations", said Jan Macháček, a columnist for the Respekt weekly, whilst commenting on what’s emerging in other countries too as a trick whereby a President adds several names to conceal the prominence of a person really intended to be favoured.

“Oh, no!” retorted President Václav Klaus. "I did not have a single specific person in front of my eyes when [preparing] the amnesty," President Václav Klaus said.

Not to worry, the Constitutional Court will hear President Václav Klaus more fully, but from the dock. For now, he can ponder the prospect of severe cross-examination founded on Article 2 of the Czech Republic which says:- (1) The people are the source of all power in the State; they exercise it through bodies of legislative, executive and judiciary powers. 

(1) The people are the source of all power in the State; they exercise it through bodies of legislative, executive and judiciary powers.

(2) A Constitutional Act may define when the people exercise state power directly.

(3) State power shall serve all citizens and may be applied only in cases, within limits and by methods defined by law.

(4) Every citizen may do what is not prohibited by law and nobody may be forced to do what the law does not instruct them to do.

(2) A Constitutional Act may define when the people exercise state power directly.

(3) State power shall serve all citizens and may be applied only in cases, within limits and by methods defined by law.

(4) Every citizen may do what is not prohibited by law and nobody may be forced to do what the law does not instruct them to do.

On those constitutional provisions, President Václav Klaus will seem to be in all sorts of legal knots, because as phrased, the powers of state in the Czech Republic are not reposed on him as individual, to enable him invoke the defence of executive discretion – which the Presidents of many other countries will more readily assert, along with immunity; neither of which bogus defence the constitution of Czech Republic accepts in defence of treason.

Besides excluding those two bogus defences, the constitution of Czech Republic does something else sensible. Its article two provision is captioned “Fundamental Provisions” – meaning it overrides any other conflicting law or power. And although similar provisions exist as Chapter 2 in the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria, and also labelled “Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy”, the Nigerian version is worse than useless.

According to Nigeria’s Supreme Court, Nigeria’s own longish version of “Fundamental Principles” is just mere advice to the government which no court of law can enforce, because, in the quaint lingo of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, the “Fundamental Principles” of Nigeria’s own constitution are “non-justiciable”.

Much worse, the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria grants immunity for life to the President of Nigeria for all acts done or omitted to be done in his or her official capacity. Surely, with such pincer-like privilege, the President of Nigeria has absolute legal license to do as he wishes.

“Nigeria is not even a pretence to democracy but an utter shambles”, said a Lagos columnist. “Its 1999 Constitution makes clear in advance to the routinely duped voters that they are only being invited to vote and choose a dictator over themselves”.

Set beside the Czech Republic, Nigeria begins to look strange and funny, in terms of law and order, because immunity having tied their hands and divested middle-class Nigerians of lawful powers to force the issue against a recalcitrant, obstinate, murderous, corrupt or adamant President, the non-justiciability of any legal complaint sounding in ethical outrage against an elected Nigeria President, makes sure that the President of Nigeria at any point is not answerable to anyone for ethical mis-use of state powers.

And, just as correlation is not causation, fundamental principles commonly appearing in the constitution of both Czech Republic and Nigeria, lack similar result.

Illustratively, Article 2 (3) of the Czech Republic constitution says: State power shall serve all citizens and may be applied only in cases, within limits and by methods defined by law.

There is no such express provision in Nigeria’s own 1999 Constitution; as such, no concrete ethical control of a Nigerian President’s use of state powers. Article 2 (3) of the Czech Republic makes the difference and explains why a Nigerian President can afford to ride roughshod over public opinion.

Indeed, more often than not, a Nigerian President just casually appropriates all national powers, as individual, and uses it solely at his own discretion, for private purposes; either to gift taxpayers’ money to lady-friends as he wishes, or, at other times to direct that the treasury makes illicit cash deliveries to cronies under false entries.

As this financial treason rages under its shambolic constitution, one of Nigeria’s supposed “50 wise men” who drafted it and put the country into voluntary bondage, Professor Ben Nwabueze (Chairman of the sub-committee which drafted the non-justiciable chapter two of the 1999 Constitution) has lately been confessing the drafters’ errors and mostly naïve assumptions.

“We were misled”, he said, ruing the atrocious consequences since then, as a Nigerian President commanded soldiers to kill almost everyone in both Odi village and in Zaki-Biam, which the Nigerian courts of law could only view as photographic evidence, without any power to punish the malfeasant President, both murders being legally immunized under the zany 1999 Constitution of Nigeria.

To save face after much hand-wringing, the fettered Nigerian courts of law awarded 70 billion Naira as damages payable by all Nigerians, but which those cold-bloodedly murdered in Odi and Zaki-Biam can’t receive or spend.

Related news

There is rising tension in Rivers state, US others issue STERN warning

There is rising tension in Rivers state, US others issue STERN warning

There is rising tension in Rivers state, US others issue STERN warning