The resolution of the Chamber of Deputies on the war in Ukraine was supported by all deputies present. Concretely, you were 153, not only from all the parties and movements of the government coalition. There were also 50 deputies from the YES movement and 17 deputies from the SPD. Was it difficult to arrange the text so that his support was really so unanimous?
I would like to emphasize that we have not, in a comma, a word, a sentence or a dash, sought a compromise text that suits all the parliamentary groups of the Chamber of Deputies. It’s prosaic. The resolution was a response to the absolutely brutal drastic images published of the massacre of civilians in Buč and north of kyiv, as they appeared in all media around the world. And to respond to the horror that really struck us, the deputies in person, I must say that everyone who has children, a family, but just everyone who has a bit of humanity in them, so the clichés that ‘we saw, the number of children who perished were murdered by Russian aggressors in Ukraine, of course she could not leave us indifferent.
My colleague from KDU-ČSL, Jan Bartošek, Deputy Speaker of the Chamber, launched this initiative. On Monday, in cooperation with Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský and his ministry, to which he belongs, of course, he jointly prepared the text of the resolution, which we submitted to the presidents of the Chamber of Deputies on Tuesday morning, as well as the opposition, the parliamentary groups and we basically put them in front of one clear thing.
It is a resolution that we consider absolutely relevant, justified. He can be very tough on certain points, and rightly so, mainly against the Russian Federation, because they are the aggressor. And if we look at the images from Ukraine, the images of Srebrenica from the 1990s in Yugoslavia, possibly from World War II, are indeed recalled here.
So when you put the text, which really has some pretty sharp words, to the opposition, was there no comment at all? To no word, no form?
I must say to the credit of the opposition, both of the YES movement and of the SPD, that no member of the opposition has come forward with a reservation or a request for a change of word or choice of a softer formulation. Nothing like that happened. And then everyone, and I must say I was pleasantly surprised, at least by the minority opposition party, raised their hands for the resolution by the weight of their vote. It’s good.
What do you expect from the statement? Isn’t this, even if it is unanimous, a gesture?
Just a gesture, no. It is a clear statement by which the Chamber of Deputies, which controls the government of the constitutional order of the Czech Republic and the government is responsible to the Chamber of Deputies, gives confidence to the government. We give him clear support here, because the second part of the resolution aims to help the Czech government to continue to take the measures it is taking. It is not that we say to the government: you are doing something little or slowly. But we are clear: go ahead and be more vigorous, so that the aid to Ukraine and the army is really such that Ukraine can defend itself against Russian invasion and aggression.
At the same time, however, we are also reacting to the unprecedented situation of the killing of civilians in Ukraine. In the context of the history of the last 100 years, when we dealt with war crimes during the Second World War, when there were two special international criminal tribunals in the former Yugoslavia and also in the territory of ex-Rwanda, where the genocide also took place, it is simply not possible that the actions of the Russian Federation have gone unpunished.
In this statement, you list, among other things, what you consider to be a crime on the part of Russia. You add that all those responsible for these crimes must be brought to justice and punished. Can the Czech Republic or the Czech representatives, government officials or other representatives of the Czech Republic really do something concrete?
Absoutely. The Czech Republic is a member of the United Nations. For example, international criminal tribunals were created on the basis of decisions by the United Nations, in particular the Security Council. But here, by the way, we are faced with the first problem, because if the United Nations is to achieve the objectives it set itself in its founding treaty after the Second World War, the clear question here is whether the Security Council, of which the Russian Federation is a permanent member with the right of veto, whether the UN does not really become completely incapable of it, even in the sense of punishing war crimes, for example. But I want to emphasize that this is not necessarily the business of the UN, because we also have a permanent International Criminal Court at the moment, where war crimes can be tried. He is based in The Hague.
On the other hand – I apologize for intervening on this – Russia is not a signatory to the treaty.
It’s like that. The United States is not a signatory either. Ukraine is not a signatory, however, they have joined the agreement, so from the victim’s point of view, that would be the option. But I don’t think it makes sense to drown in paragraphs and legal proceedings right now. The world community and leaders must be convinced that what is happening in Ukraine is a war crime. I think it’s very clear today.
I can’t imagine that as politicians here in the Czech Republic we would close our eyes and say: Russia was doing it. It is a global hegemon. We do not have the strength to punish these crimes. The global community needs it, and that’s why we have a president, a prime minister, a foreign minister, and it’s important that we agree as a European Union. That is why we are finally part of the European Community to take all necessary measures to punish the Russian Federation.
What, according to Marek Výborný, would be an adequate punishment for Vladimir Putin? What will greater independence from Russian raw materials mean for the Czech population? And does the coalition think enough about how everything affects the Czech population economically? Listen to the full interview with Tomáš Pancíř.