Illustration photo – Minister of Justice Pavel Blažek at a press conference in Prague after the government meeting, November 23, 2022.
Prague – Minister of Justice Pavel Blažek (ODS) also demanded the names of the judges who decided on detention or house searches in the Brno housing case, according to the Seznam Zprávy server. Why Blažek needed the identity of the judges, he did not explain to the server. So he did not say whether it is somehow related to his authority to propose disciplinary proceedings in the case of any judge, the website writes. Blažek later stated on Twitter that this is a normal legal procedure for handling a complaint. The server has already reported that Blažek has sent four requests for information to the plaintiffs in the last month regarding the housing case, in which, according to the Seznam Zprávy server, Blažek's acquaintances figure.
Last fall, the police intervened several times in Brno because of apartments and city property. At the beginning of October, in connection with the privatization of apartments in the town hall of the Brno-střed district, she accused eight people, led by ODS politician Otakar Bradáč. In mid-October, it detained a group of people in connection with an attempt to take control of the sand pit in Chernivtsi.
Blažek obtained from the Municipal Court in Brno a list of four judges who approved house searches and arrests in the case. The deputy chairman of the Municipal Court in Brno for the criminal section, Aleš Dufek, told the server. He did not know the reason, in the 29 years he has been a judge, it has never happened to him that the ministry wanted the names of the judges who ruled on such a matter. He disclosed the names because it was the minister's request, he added.
The president of the Union of Judges, Libor Vávra, also described Blažk's request as unusual. “I haven't encountered anyone asking me for the names of the judges who worked on the case. So I don't know how I would proceed,” said Vávra.
According to Blažek, the request was submitted by the relevant department of the ministry and there is nothing unusual about it. “Moreover, the names of the judges are always mentioned in the decision on custody,” Blažek noted on Twitter. According to Vávra, the supervision department of the Ministry of Justice is asking about the matter. “In the vast majority, however, they act on the basis of a person's complaint – but I'm not saying that it's just for this and to this extent,” said the president of the Judicial Union to Seznam Zprávám.
The ministry sent one of the requests to the Brno court about a month ago, according to the server, just before that the Supreme State Prosecutor's Office decided to cancel the criminal prosecution of two women in this case. After today's publication of the Seznam Zpráv information, Blažek wrote on Twitter that after the cancellation of the illegal prosecution, it should be investigated whether the detention was also imposed illegally. “This is a normal legal procedure for dealing with a complaint, and the subject of the examined decision is not a member of the ODS. And again – a question is not an intervention…” he wrote. He added that the other documents were collected last year for the purpose of drafting the disciplinary proposal against judge Aleš Dufka, which, according to Blažek, does not relate to the case as such. “This will be the subject of a public hearing before the disciplinary panel. Again, nothing unusual or cabinet-related…,” he noted.
According to the Czech Justice website, Blažek filed a disciplinary action against Dufko at the end of last year. The reason is that Dufek, in the position of authorized vice-president of the court for the criminal division, provided the media with court orders for house searches of three persons who figure in the case concerning the Brno municipal apartments. “Criminal proceedings are supposed to be closed to the public until the hearing before the court. That is why I filed a disciplinary action against the judge, who, in my opinion, violated this basic rule, and thus damaged not only the rights of the participants in the proceedings and other persons, but could also defeat the purpose of the criminal proceedings. This must not to be normal,” Minister Blažek told the server.
The anti-corruption organization Transparency International (TI) interprets Blažek's request for a list of judges, according to the server, as another attempt by the minister to disrupt the investigation. Due to previous pressure on the prosecutor, it had previously called on him to resign .
The Union of Public Prosecutors said on Twitter on Thursday that the way in which the Minister of Justice is interested in information in the case of the purchase of city apartments in Brno is unfortunate, joining the previous similar statement of the Supreme Prosecutor Igor Stříže, which was quoted by Seznam Zprávy and Deník N. According to Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS), Blažek acted in accordance with the minister's obligations when he requested information about the case.