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Czech high court rules former PM not entitled to legal immunity

The Czech Supreme Court [official website] on Thursday ruled that former prime minster Petr Necas [official website] is not entitled to immunity from prosecution and could could face corruption charges. Necas resigned in June after the exposure of a widespread corruption scandal [BBC backgrounder], including an affair with his chief of staff, Jana Nagyova [BBC profile]. Nagyova was accused of bribery and illegal spying. Prosecutors alleged that Nagyova and two other ex-law makers resigned from parliament in exchange for promises by Necas that the three would have lucrative positions in state-run companies. The court held that the ex-lawmakers have legal immunity, because that the conduct at issue took place when they were lawmakers. If charged, Necas will be the first head of government to face criminal charges in the Czech Republic's modern history.

Czech president Milos Zeman named Jiri Rusnok as the new prime minister [BBC report] on June 25. In March the Czech senate voted to impeach [JURIST report] former president Vaclav Klaus for allegedly violating the constitution by refusing the appoint judges, refusing to ratify European treaties after adoption by the Senate and declaring a broad and controversial amnesty in January, which led to the release of nearly 6,000 prisoners [Economist report]. The Czech Republic was the last EU member state to ratify the Treaty of Lisbon [JURIST backgrounder] in 2009, which sought to amend the treaties forming the constitutional basis of the EU. In November 2009 Klaus signed the treaty [JURIST report] after the country's Constitutional Court ruled that the treaty did not conflict with the country's constitution.

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