- Hans Weber
- December 4, 2023
Czech President to Resume Deciding Pardons, Ending Ministry’s Role
Czech President Petr Pavel will regain the authority to decide on applications for pardons by January 1, in a move agreed upon by the Presidential Office and the Justice Ministry, announced Justice Minister Pavel Blazek of the Civic Democratic Party (ODS). Blazek expressed his support for the decision, emphasizing that granting pardons is a constitutional prerogative of the president.
The Justice Ministry is currently engaged in negotiations with the head of the Presidential Office, Jana Vohralikova, to facilitate the transition of this responsibility to the president’s office. Minister Blazek stated that President Pavel intends to make decisions on pardons personally, starting no later than January 1 next year.
Blazek firmly ruled out the possibility of an amnesty, clarifying that the decision-making process for pardons would return to its constitutional framework. The Justice Ministry had been responsible for managing pardon applications since former President Milos Zeman delegated the task to the ministry through a regulation in 2013.
As part of the transition, the staff responsible for handling pardon applications will also shift from the Justice Ministry to the Presidential Office. Blazek noted that it would ultimately be the president’s prerogative to determine which specific personnel would make the transfer, emphasizing that the president would select individuals with a broader range of expertise.
President Pavel has indicated a desire to revise the criteria for granting pardons, possibly expanding them to include social considerations. Under President Zeman, the Justice Ministry could only submit applications for convicts suffering from serious or immediately life-threatening illnesses.
This development marks a significant shift in the pardon-granting process in the Czech Republic, restoring decision-making authority to the president and revising the criteria for clemency. It underscores the ongoing evolution of the country’s political and legal landscape.
Article by Prague Forum