In early April 2011, the federal assembly of the Sudetendeutsche Landsmannschaft (Sudeten German Association) in Austria called on the EU Member States not to ratify the protocol agreed by the heads of government in October 2009, Protocol No 30 on the application of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union to the Czech Republic. The expellees’ representatives point out that if this exemption becomes law, not only will the foundations of the rule of law in the entire European Union be shaken, but also an inadmissible discrimination against the victims of the expulsions of 1945 and 1946 will be perpetuated by the continued validity of the Beneš Decrees. Furthermore, this would violate Articles 16, 17 and 20 of the UN Convention on Civil and Political Rights, in that the victims would not be recognised as expellees and as persons before the law and that denial of what is called the ‘worst crime of expulsion in history’ would constitute incitement to hatred, humiliation and discrimination. Although the European Parliament declared in a resolution back in 2002 that the immunity law of 1946, which legitimised serious crimes perpetrated against the Sudeten Germans such as theft and murder, ‘had no raison d'être from the perspective of modern law and justice’, the Czech Republic was still accepted as a member of the European Union since it was assumed that the application of the Charter of Fundamental Rights would lead to ‘illegalities persisting from the past’ being officially annulled.
1. What is the Commission’s position on the tense relationship between the continued validity of illegal laws such as the AVNOJ Regulations and the Beneš Decrees, on the one hand, and the Charter of Fundamental Rights, on the other?
2. What is the Commission’s reaction to the criticism that, if the Beneš Decrees and all that follows from them become part of EC law, this means nothing short of permitting Member States to expropriate, expel and kill even their own citizens without fear of prosecution?
3. What is the Commission’s view, in this context, of the accusation of racism against the victims, since the number of persons displaced through flight, expulsion, rape and abduction may well have been far in excess of 30 million and, of those, more people may well have lost their lives than during the war itself?