Final Word from Wednesday, July 19, 2017

When Chief Justice Pavel Rychetský of the Constitutional Court was a lowly deputy PM under Miloš Zeman in Sept. 1998, he singled out Transgas and ČEZ as two companies whose management should be subject to background checks. It is necessary to determine whether business is interconnected with politics or organized crime, he said at the time. Since then, Rychetský has become one of the chief arbiters of the rule of law in the country. Most recently, he headed a three-member panel of his Court that found that ČEZ is not subject to the freedom-of-information act, despite its being a strategically important utility controlled by the state. Representing ČEZ before the Court was lawyer Radek Pokorný, who is widely considered in legal and business circles to be a main conduit between politics, business and organized crime. Pokorný trained as a lawyer in 1993-1995 under this same Pavel Rychetský, yet neither he nor Rychetský recused himself from the case. Unless the freedom-of-information ruling is overturned on the EU level, this ČEZ victory will leave a very bad aftertaste. [Czech Republic Supreme Administrative Court]

Glossary of difficult words

lowly - low in status or importance; humble;

arbiter - a person who settles a dispute or has ultimate authority in a matter;

conduit - a person or organization that acts as a channel for the transmission of something;

to recuse oneself - (of a judge) to excuse oneself from a case because of a potential conflict of interest or lack of impartiality.

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