Justice Minister Jiří Pospíšil says Vojtěch Filip's condolences to North Korea should be looked into
The Czech Minister of Justice has called for the police to investigate whether condolences sent by the leader of the Czech communist party on the death f North Korean leader Kim Jong-il did not break the law.
Justice Minister Jiří Pospíšil (Civic Democrat, ODS) said the message sent by the leader of the Czech and Moravian Communist Party (KSČM) Vojtěch Filip could be in breach of the Czech constitution by sympathizing with a regime based on the suppression of human rights and freedom.
The Czech daily Lidové noviny (LN)reported on Tuesday thatPospíšil personally cast doubt on whether Filip could be bought to book for his “heartfelt condolences” to the former leader of a one party state that is often judged to have one of the worst human rights records in the world. Lawyers also disagree whether the wording of the constitution regarding the respect for human rights and democracy applies solely to the Czech Republic or is broader.
The fifth article of the Czech constitution calls for competition between political parties, the fundamental respect of democratic principles and rejection of force as a means for asserting interests.
According to the Korean Central News Agency Filip’s message recounted his “bitter heartfelt sorrow,” adding that Kim Jong-il was “high respected” and “devoted himself to bringing happiness to the Korean people.”
“The Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia firmly believes that the Workers' Party of Korea will overcome the present bitter grief and continuously lead to victory the courageous Korean people's struggle for defending socialism in your beautiful country,” it added.
Filip told LN that he sent a normal message of condolence and did not see anything strange in that. He pointed out the Czech Republic and North Korea have normal diplomatic relations.
The KSČM, the fourth biggest party in the lower house of parliament with 26 seats, is largely an unreformed successor of the Czechoslovak Communist Party which was toppled from power in the Velvet Revolution of 1989. The current center-right coalition government is examining whether there are grounds for the KSČM to be banned outright, a step hitherto taken for small, fringe parties, and not for a large mainstream one with broad support.