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10. 1. 2014 9:43

Ethics Commission Conclusions no. 6

on an assessment as to whether joining the French Foreign Legion constitutes anti-communist opposition and resistance within the meaning of Act No. 262/2011 Coll.

The Ethics Commission notes that the entry of a Party to the proceedings into the French Foreign Legion (hereinafter referred to as the “FFL”) or membership of this military unit during a period of non-freedom, or the simple intention of the Party to the proceeding to join the FFL during a period of non-freedom after their departure abroad, even when this is proved in the proceedings, does not in itself meet the characteristics of a form of opposition and resistance to the communist regime in Czechoslovakia within the meaning of the provisions of Section 3 paragraph 1, following on from the provisions of Section 2 (b) of Act No. 262/2011 Coll., i.e. armed or other equal action against the communist regime in Czechoslovakia or crossing the state borders for the purposes of involvement in anti-communist opposition and resistance (pedestrian agents), or other comparable acts of courage or taking a courageous public stand in support of armed action against the communist regime in Czechoslovakia, also having regard to the nature and goals of this military grouping, which primarily serves to implement the foreign policy interests of France. However, these interests have never demonstrably included any effort to eliminate, weaken or otherwise impede the communist regime in Czechoslovakia or in the Central and Eastern European region. In addition, the Ethics Commission notes that in 1966 France withdrew from the NATO integrated military structure and, for this reason, its potential participation in military operations against the communist regime in Europe could only be considered in the event of a direct military confrontation between Czechoslovakia and France.

The mere membership of a foreign army or any military unit and participation in its activities, without proof of overt anti-communist intentions (motive) by the Party to the proceedings actually to become involved in anti-communist opposition or resistance abroad (i.e. not only based on unrealistic assumptions), does not therefore constitute opposition or resistance to the communist regime in Czechoslovakia within the meaning of Act No. 262/2011 Coll.

The reasoning:

(Ethics Commission CR Decision of 4 October 2012, ref.no.: 13570/2012-EKO)

In the case of the alleged entry of the Party to the proceedings to the French Foreign Legion in 1969, the Ethics Committee holds that this activity by the Party to the proceedings does not meet the forms of opposition or resistance to the communist regime in Czechoslovakia within the meaning of the provisions of Section 3 paragraph 1, following on from the provisions of Section 2 (b) of Act No. 262/2011 Coll. The file material shows that although the applicant probably did join the French Foreign Legion after his emigration on 22 July 1969 some time after 10 September 1969, when he moved from Italy to the territory of France, he only spent a few days or weeks in the French Foreign Legion barracks, until he reviewed his original decision and was dismissed at his own request on 5 October 1969. It is clear from these findings that the Party to the proceedings could not in fact have carried out any armed or comparable action against the communist regime in Czechoslovakia, within the meaning of the provisions of Act. 262/2011 Coll. referred to above, during his short stay with the French Foreign Legion.

In view of the facts set out above relating to the assessment of the case, the Ethics Commission could only take a closer look at the French Foreign Legion as a military grouping serving a foreign democratic power, to see whether membership in it (participation in it) could be linked to the goal to eliminate, weaken significantly or otherwise damage communist totalitarian power in Czechoslovakia as required by the provisions of Section 2 (b) of Act No. 262/2011 Coll. Although it is undeniable that, during the decisive period of non-freedom pursuant to Act No. 262/2011 Coll., France was a democratic state, it is a generally recognised fact that the French Foreign Legion, from its origins to the present time, primarily serves to implement the foreign policy interests of France. However, there is no evidence that these interests included any effort to eliminate, weaken or otherwise damage the communist regime in Czechoslovakia or in the Central and Eastern European region. Obiter dictum, the Ethics Commission notes that in 1966 France withdrew from the NATO integrated military structure and that its potential participation in military operations against the communist regime in Europe could only be considered in the event of a direct military confrontation between the CSSR and France.

Membership of a foreign army or any other military unit does therefore not, in itself, constitute opposition or resistance to the communist regime. At the same time, the opinion of the Party to the proceedings, that participation in its actions, without any further external manifestations (shows) as required by Act No. 262/2011 Coll., could be considered to constitute a comparable (other) act of courage or courageous public stand in support of armed action against the communist regime in Czechoslovakia during the period of non-freedom (Section 2 (a) of Act No. 262/2011 Coll.) as envisaged by Section 3 paragraph 1 of Act No. 262/2011 Coll., was not realistic, also with regard to the generally accepted facts concerning the French Foreign Legion.

(Ethics Commission CR Decision of 14 November 2012, ref. no. 16069/2012-EKO)

The Party to the proceedings offered no evidence to prove that, through his possible participation in the actions of the French Foreign Legion, he wished to engage in direct combat against the communist regime in Czechoslovakia. Although it is undeniable that, during the decisive period pursuant to Act No. 262/2011 Coll., France was a democratic state, it is a generally accepted fact that the French Foreign Legion, from its establishment to the present time, primarily serves to implement the foreign policy interests of France. It cannot be inferred that one of the main goals of the French Foreign Legion during the given period was to eliminate, weaken or otherwise damage the communist regime in Czechoslovakia. Therefore, the Party to the proceedings could not, without proving in a clear and demonstrable manner that he had an additional, manifested intention (motive) to engage in anti-communist action abroad in the French Foreign Legion, within the meaning of Act No. 262/2011 Coll., meet the requirements of Act No. 262/2011 Coll. for granting the status of a participant in anti-communist opposition and resistance, even if he did manage to leave the country and join the French Foreign Legion, because membership of a foreign army or any other military unit does not in itself constitute opposition or resistance to the communist regime.

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