Communists prosecuted in the Czech Republic for the deaths on borders

More than 400 people were killed at the Czechoslovak borders with the West between 1948 and 1989.

The barbed wire used to be charged with lethal high voltage.The barbed wire used to be charged with lethal high voltage. (Source: Jana Liptáková)

Three high-ranking representatives of the communist regime in former Czechoslovakia will face prosecution for their crimes.

The prosecution was launched by the the Office for the Documentation and the Investigation of Crimes of Communism, which operates under the Czech police. It concerns the killings that happened between the 1970s and 1980s at the border with Austria, when people attempted to escape to the Western Block, the SITA newswire reported.

The prosecuted officials include former general secretary of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, Miloš Jakeš, ex-PM Lubomír Štrougal and ex-interior minister Vrastislav Vajnar. All three are charged with abusing their power in connection with using guns against so-called border intruders.

Related story:Crossing the Slovak-Austrian border has never become a matter of course for me Read more 

Not implemented

From March 1976 to the year 1989, nine people were shot dead or torn by dogs at the border, according to the Czech police. Moreover, at least seven others were injured, SITA reported.

All three accused could spend two to ten years in prison if found guilty. The prosecution is based on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which came into force in 1976. It allowed every person to freely leave whatever country and return to their own.

Jakeš and Štrougal should have applied measures from this pact to Czechoslovak laws, but they did not do so. Vajnar, as interior minister, was directly responsible for what was happening at the borders, SITA wrote.

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