Govt likely to be neutral on proposed ban of paramilitary groups | info.cz

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Govt likely to be neutral on proposed ban of paramilitary groups

Govt likely to be neutral on proposed ban of paramilitary groups
 

The Czech cabinet will probably take a neutral stand on the bill banning the establishment and operation of paramilitary groups with political or ideological aims, proposed by MPs across all parties in parliament, judging by the documents prepared for its Monday meeting.

Neither supporting nor rejecting the bill, the cabinet will probably criticise its shortcomings and recommend the removal of some imprecise formulations, but will identify with its goals, based on the position prepared for it by the Government Legislative Council experts.

The experts mainly challenged the rather vague definition of an armed group, which may actually correspond to the definition of the terrorist group. As the participation in a terrorist group is a crime, the ban of paramilitary armed groups seems redundant, the experts wrote.

On the other hand, the bill introduces voluntary shooting courses, the participants in which would be part of the reserves contributing to the state security and defence.

The operation of such groups is incompatible with law in the Czech Republic 

The bill bans paramilitary armed groups as well as the armament of such groups and participation in them. Its violation carries the fine of up to 200,000 crowns and an arms possession ban.

"The operation of such groups is incompatible with the democratic essence of the Czech Republic as a law-abiding state," the MPs have written in a report highlighting their bill.

The state security reserves would also include, besides the shooting course participants, the weapons they trained with. "The way to use this reserve would depend on concrete situations and it will follow the relevant law accordingly," the MPs wrote.

Their bill also introduces a special licence for handling selected-category weapons.

Furthermore, the bill enables armed security forces members to wear their service weapons also while not on duty, and to use their private weapons as well.

Within the procedure of its assessment by state offices, the bill has been supported by the Interior Ministry and the Finance Ministry, among others, while the Defence Ministry and the Justice Ministry were among those recommending the cabinet's neutral stance on it.

The only body opposed to the bill is the Supreme State Attorney's Office, which criticises its vague definition of an armed group.

According to the bill's leading author, MP Jiri Masek (senior government ANO), the bill has no direct link to the Czech adoption of the EU directive which restricts the possession of selected types of firearms and which Prague challenged as discriminatory but saw its lawsuit dismissed by the European Court of Justice last year.

 
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