The Olympic and Russian flags at the closing ceremony of the Sochi Olympics (photo taken on February 23, 2014).
Prague – The expert group of the Czech Olympic Committee (ČOV) proposed that Russian and Belarusian athletes must sign an oath condemning aggression against any member state of the United Nations by another country, before starting at the Olympic Games in Paris exclusively under a neutral flag. They would practically condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine. However, the WWTP is still against any form of participation of Russia and Belarus in the Olympic qualifiers and the Paris Games, which was voted by its plenum in April. His representatives stated this at a press conference.
“The position of the Czech Olympic Committee is absolutely clear and unchanging,” said Jiří Kejval, chairman of the WWTP. The proposal of the expert group, which the Czech side will convey to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), should enable the possible start of some Russian and Belarusian athletes who are not members of the army or security forces.
In the sworn statement, which according to the proposal would be part of the pre-Games accreditation process, the athletes would have to state “that they do not participate in, support, condone or condone any act of aggression against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of a UN member state by another country”.
Diplomat Michael Žantovsky, who headed the commission, emphasized that Russian aggression is the most serious security and political crisis since November 1989. “It is not a war between two states, much less a special military operation, as Vladimir Putin calls it. The UN Charter, in the sense of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal, where an act of aggression against the sovereignty and integrity of another country is defined as a crime against peace,” said Žantovský, adding that the IOC cannot ignore the situation based on its Charter.
At the end of March, the IOC issued a recommendation under which conditions Russian and Belarusian athletes could participate in the fight for the Olympics under a neutral flag. According to Žantovský, the recommendation of the Czech expert group goes beyond his scope.
“After a long consideration and examination of the norms of international law, precedents and the attitudes of individual actors, we came to the conclusion that the very participation under a neutral flag would be of athletes represented a tacit approval of what is happening in the name of their country,” said Žantovský.
No one should be restricted in their rights on the basis of nationality. “Our formulation is in accordance with the Olympic Charter, the UN Charter and the principles of international law,” said Žantovský, according to whom the IOC's recommendation not recommending the entry of athletes from the army or security forces practically excludes the participation of 80 percent of athletes from both countries. “It's not a randomly put together sentence. It's a put together sentence with a deep knowledge of all the conflicts historically around the world. I believe it will help the IOC go a little further on this issue,” said Kejval.
At the same time, Žantovský pointed out the fact that the Czech proposal is not discriminatory, but differentiation. “We believe that it is beyond any doubt that differentiation towards athletes who commit the greatest armed aggression that we can remember in our generation is in the interest of the general well-being of a democratic society,” said the former Czech ambassador to a number of countries, including the USA and Great Britain .
The WWTP is now preparing to mediate a video conference of commission representatives with representatives of the IOC, at which Žantovský and spol. they explained and defended their recommendation. “We all care that Russian and Belarusian athletes do not compete in the Olympics, even under a neutral flag, because it would be a clear promotion of Russia or Belarus, which would be able to take advantage of it,” said Senator Jiří Růžička.
According to lawyer Marek Procházka, the restriction of Russian and Belarusian athletes could also help to de-escalate the war. “Because sport in Russia is used as an instrument of politics. More than anywhere else in the world,” said another member of the commission. According to him, it is clear that Russia would use the participation in Paris as political propaganda in favor of the war.