Act on Illegality of the Communist Regime and on Resistance Against It
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The Act on Illegality of the Communist Regime and on Resistance Against It (Czech: Zákon o protiprávnosti komunistického režimu a o odporu proti němu, zákon č. 198/1993 Sb.) is an act passed on July 9, 1993 in the Parliament of the Czech Republic. This act declared the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia (February 25, 1948 – November 17, 1989) as illegal and the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia as a criminal organisation. Most of the act is formulated as a resolution.
The resolution made the Czech Republic the first former Eastern Bloc country or successor state to officially condemn its Communist regime.
Text of the Act in English
of the 9th July 1993
on Illegality of the Communist Regime and on Resistance Against It
Parliament of the Czech Republic passed this act:
Aware of his duty as a democratically elected parliament to cope with communist regime, the Parliament of the Czech Republic:
pronounces that Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, its leadership and members are responsible for the way of governance in our country between 1948 – 1989, especially for purposeful destruction of traditional principles of European civilisation, for deliberate violations of human rights and freedoms, for moral and economic decline accompanied by judicial crimes and terror carried out against those with different opinions, for replacement of functional market economy by directly controlled economy, for destruction of traditional principles of proprietary rights, for abuse of education, science and culture for political and ideological purposes, for inconsiderate destruction of nature,
and declares that in his subsequent activity the parliament will base on this act.
(1) The communist regime and those who promoted it actively,
a) deprived citizens of any possibility to freely express their political view, forced them to hide their opinions on situation in state and society and forced them to publicly express consent with issues that they considered lie or felony, all this was carried by persecution or threat of persecution against themselves and their families,
b) systematically and constantly breached human rights, particularly it repressed specific political, social and religious groups of citizens,
c) breached fundamental principles of democratic state and rule of law, international agreements and its own acts and therefore practically placed the will and interest of communist party and its representatives above law,
d) used instruments of power against its citizens, particularly: - executed them, murdered them and kept them in prison or labour camp; during investigation and at the time of imprisonment it used brutal methods against them including physical and psychical torture and exposed them to inhuman suffering,
- arbitrarily deprived them of property and breached their proprietary rights,
- prevented them from performing their occupation or function and of acquiring higher or expert education,
- prevented them from leaving the country freely and coming back freely,
- called them up to military service in Auxiliary Technical Battalions and Technical Battalions for unlimited period of time,
e) to achieve its goals did not hesitate to perpetrate crimes, made possible unpunishable perpetration of crimes and provided those who had perpetrated these crimes and persecution with unjustified benefits,
f) allied with foreign power and since 1968 kept this situation by supporting occupation armed forces of this power.
(2) Those who promoted the communist regime as functionaries, organizers and instigators in political and ideological sphere are co-responsible for crimes and other facts mentioned in subsection 1.
(1) Particularly with regard to facts mentioned in § 1 subsection 1 of this act the regime based on communist ideology, which was governing the state and destinies of its citizens in Czechoslovakia since 25th February 1948 until 17th November 1989, was criminal, illegitimate and contemptible.
(2) The Communist Party of Czechoslovakia was organization criminal and contemptible as well as other organizations based on its ideology, which carrying out its activity headed to repress human rights and democratic system.
Resistance of citizens against this regime, whether expressed by individuals or by groups in form of revolt or other activity, whether expressed in the territory of state or abroad, even though allied with foreign democratic power, was legitimate, just, morally justified and is worth of respect.
All those who were unjustly persecuted by the communist regime and did not take part in activities mentioned in § 1 subsection 1 of this act, deserve sympathy and moral satisfaction.
A period from 25th February 1948 until 29th December 1989 will not be taken into account while assessing the period of limitation of crimes, if any person was not convicted due to political reasons incompatible with main principles of rule of law and of democratic state.
This act comes into effect on the 1st August 1993.
Uhde m. p. (Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies)
Havel m. p. (President of the Republic)
Klaus m. p. (Prime Minister)
Challenge of the Act before the Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic
After passing the Act a group of communist Deputies (MPs) challenged the Act before the Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic and demanded that the Act be declared as unconstitutional and voided. The Constitutional Court however ruled that the Act was not in violation with the constitutional order of the Czech Republic and refused to void it. According to the Constitutional Court although the Act is more a political declaration than ordinary act regulating rights and duties, it is necessary to cope with the regime and it can be made in the form of statute if the Parliament wishes so. Furthermore this is not the only "political declaration act" in the Czech Republic's legal system, there are more (e. g. Lex Masaryk, Lex Štefánik and later passed Lex Beneš and Lex Havel).
- Political Freedoms and Democratically Elected Institutions in Czech Republic, European Commission, 18/07/2013
- Full text of the act (Czech)
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