- Hans Weber
- December 6, 2023
Vice-Chairman of Prague High Court Withdraws Constitutional Court Nomination Amid Controversy
Robert Fremr, Vice-Chairman of the Prague High Court and a nominee for the Constitutional Court, has announced his withdrawal from the nomination process. The decision comes in the wake of public pressure and concerns regarding his Communist-era tenure in the judiciary. Fremr acknowledged that he had been unable to allay public distrust related to his judicial decisions made before November 1989, and he did not wish to compromise the credibility of the Constitutional Court.
Addressing the issue, Fremr stated, “I fully respect that from today’s perspective some of those decisions simply cannot be explained. I could defend myself in one or another case, but I am sure that I would never be able to explain them all completely.”
Fremr emphasized that the decision to withdraw was voluntary and attributed it to the overwhelming media pressure, which had taken a toll on him and his family. He expressed gratitude towards those who had supported him in the Czech justice system, among professionals, colleagues, and friends.
Although Fremr received Senate approval for the nomination, President Petr Pavel had deferred his appointment pending a review of new information from historians about Fremr’s decisions during the Communist regime. Fremr is renowned as one of the nation’s most experienced criminal judges, with a judicial career dating back to 1982, including roles at the International Criminal Court in The Hague and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.
Fremr had previously resisted giving up his candidacy, waiting for the vetting process to conclude. He had emphasized that his actions during the Communist era should not be misconstrued as affiliation with the Communist StB secret service.
The withdrawal of Fremr’s nomination highlights the sensitivity surrounding individuals with ties to controversial historical periods and raises questions about the criteria for holding positions of judicial authority. This development further underscores the evolving nature of transitional justice and public expectations regarding the past actions of those serving in key institutions. The Constitutional Court, currently undergoing personnel changes, continues its mission with President Pavel appointing new judges to ensure its effective operation.
Article by Prague Forum