BIS slams justice officials for corruption and criminality
The civilian intelligence agency, BIS, has issued a scathing report on malpractice and criminal activity within the Czech justice system. The agency’s annual report accuses judges and state prosecutors of a litany of shortcomings from sluggishness to connections to organised crime. On Thursday the Czech judges’ association went on the offence, comparing the allegations to a baseless tabloid report.
The national intelligence agency pulled no punches in its annual report for 2010, where it discusses the state of Czech justice. The report paints a picture of rampant irregularities indicating criminal activity, where information is leaked from court and prosecutors’ databases, corruption is rife and court cases are manipulated.
That, however, is about as specific as the spy agency gets, much to the consternation of the justice officials themselves. Tomáš Lichovník, who heads the Czech association of judges slammed the report as bordering on unsubstantiated slander.
“I truly don’t know if this report is intentionally aggressive towards justice officials, or if this is just about the very clumsy formulations used. May the BIS officials not be angry with me, but this report was phrased with the standards of some tabloid newspaper. There’s nothing more than unsubstantiated claims, this or that is happening, but we learn nothing of the extent of these problems or what they’ve done about them. The completely general way that the report was written makes it impossible to review and it is very damaging to the entire justice system.”
All that being said, the judges’ association holds that these are not problems endemic to the justice system alone – in fact Judge Lichovník explains why the judiciary is more resilient in the face of corruption than other sectors.
Justice aside, the report also confirms general misgivings about corruption in the Czech state overall, with state officials accepting payments to manipulate public tenders, the tunnelling of property from state institutions, irregular and non-transparent dealings between competitors and public representatives, optimising the prices of public tenders not for the state but for private enterprises.