Constitutional Court throws out treason charges against ex-president Klaus
The Constitutional Court has thrown out treason charges against former President Václav Klaus, saying there were no grounds to consider the case chiefly because he is no longer president. The decision to ask the Court to impeach Mr Klaus for treason in his final days in office cast a shadow on his presidency, and highlighted the deep divisions in Czech society.
Only the Senate can impeach the President, and only the Constitutional Court can try him. But on Wednesday, court official Ivo Pospíšil told reporters there was no case against Mr Klaus.
Mr Pospíšil said the primary justification for trying a sitting president would be to remove him from office, and since Mr Klaus had left the post three days after the case was filed, that justification was obviously no longer present. The court’s decision was immediately welcomed by the prime minister Petr Nečas, who said the politicians who’d voted to impeach the president should now consider resigning.
“It’s a shame, not only for the Senate, which dealt with this matter, but it’s also a shame for members of the public, and – most of all – it’s a shame for Vaclav Klaus himself. He’s been denied the chance to defend himself, and instead, the matter has just been left hanging in the air.”
Observers saw the vote as a largely symbolic move taken in an upper house packed with Mr Klaus’s adversaries on the political left. The biggest punishment he faced was losing office, but he could have lost his presidential pension of 50,000 crowns per month and, if convicted, could not have run for another term in office in the future.