1994/09/13 - Pl. ÚS 9/94: Citizenship

13 September 1994

HEADNOTES

1. We cannot

agree with the petitioners' assertion that any foreigner whatsoever may

acquire citizenship of the Czech Republic by a declaration pursuant to §

6 of Czech National Council Act No. 40/1993 Coll.1)  Ties to their

state of origin (Czechoslovak Republic, Czechoslovak Socialist Republic,

Czech and Slovak Federal Republic) must always be manifested, and these

ties must be continuous and lasting, even from the perspective of the

principle cives origo facit.  The issue of the possibility of other

citizenships which the individual might have acquired is not inquired

into within the framework of the declaration because that declaration is

legally based on the existence of citizenship of the Czech and Slovak

Federal Republic, and it merely puts citizenship of the newly created

Czech Republic into concrete form
    
2. It is the conditio sine

qua non of every democratic government that decision-making on a series

of specialized issues be entrusted to members of the government and to

their respective offices; this is also true from the point of view of

the ordinary and necessary division of power.  The government is the

supreme body of executive power (§ 67, para. 1 of the Constitution).  So

other executive bodies are naturally subordinate to it.  The ministries

are subordinated to the government not only by means of legal

enactments such as generally binding normative acts, but also by means

of internal normative instructions and individual acts (§ 21 of Czech

National Council Act No. 2/1969 Coll., concerning the Establishment of

Ministries and other Central Authorities of State Administration of the

Czech Republic, according to which the ministries in all of their

activities shall follow constitutional and other acts and government

resolutions).  The relationship between the government and the

ministries is also explicitly stated in § 28, para. 1 of Czech National

Council Act No. 2/1969 Coll., according to which the government of the

Czech Republic directs, supervises and harmonizes the activities of the

ministries.  In its capacity as the supreme body of executive power, the

government is, at the same time, the representative of that power in

relation to the Assembly of Deputies as well.  In their given sector,

the ministries deal with issues assigned to their competence, and in

prescribed areas of state policy, it submits them to the government as a

whole for its consideration. The competent minister is the bearer of

constitutional political responsibility for the actions of the ministry,

and in this respect the common methods of parliamentary democracy, such

as interpellation (Article 53, para. 1, 2 of the Constitution), the

subpoena right of the Assembly of Deputies and its bodies or

investigating commissions (Art. 30, Art. 38, para. 2 of the

Constitution), provide oversight of his actions.  

3. The Czech

Republic resolved the issue of the acquisition of Czech citizenship by a

domestic enactment, Czech National Council Act No. 40/1993 Coll., as

amended by Act No. 272/1993 Coll., which contains the principle of the

prevention of the creation of dual citizenship and prevention of the

creation of statelessness.  In this way, it was linked to the legal

enactments currently in force in the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic,

and it was based on the fact that analogous principles are found in the

legal enactments of other European states as well. On the contrary, it

must be emphasized that on the day the independent states (the Czech and

Slovak Republics) came into existence, the citizens of each of the

states became foreigners in the other state.  Therefore, as an

independent state, the Czech Republic may set the conditions for the

acquisition of citizenship quite independently of the legal rules of

another state (the Slovak Republic).  This right was exercised by the

adoption of Czech National Council Act No. 40/1993 Coll., as amended by

Act No. 272/1993 Coll., which, among other things, provided for the

acquisition of citizenship by foreigners.  It is precisely this

relationship (that is, the relationship to the Czech Republic) which

must be manifested in an appropriate fashion, and not merely by ties to

the territory, rather it must also be objectively manifested to the

Czech Republic as such.  Precisely this manifestation was included among

the conditions under which it was possible to acquire citizenship of

the Czech Republic.  It is necessary to repeat again that each sovereign

state has the right to set the conditions under which its citizenship

can be obtained.



CZECH REPUBLIC

CONSTITUTIONAL COURT

JUDGMENT

IN THE NAME OF THE CZECH REPUBLIC


The Plenum of the Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic

[hereinafter "Court"], concerning the petition of a group of Deputies of

the Assembly of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic

proposing the annulment of § 6,1) § 11,2) § 12, para. 3,3) § 18, para.

1, letters a), c)4) and § 18a, letters a), b)5) of Czech National

Council Act No. 40/1993 Coll., on the Acquisition and Loss of

Citizenship of the Czech Republic, as amended by Act No. 272/1993 Coll.,

decided thusly: The petition is rejected on the merits.

 


REASONING


I.
 

On

14 April 1994, the Court received the petition of a group of 46

Deputies of the Assembly of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech

Republic (hereinafter "group of Deputies") to initiate a proceeding

seeking the annulment of § 6,1) § 11,2) § 12, para. 3,3) § 18, para. 1,

letters a), c)4) and § 18a, letters a), b)5) of Czech National Council

Act No. 40/1993 Coll., on the Acquisition and Loss of Citizenship of the

Czech Republic, as amended by Act No. 272/1993 Coll.

Since the

submission met the requirements stated in § 64 of Act No. 182/1993

Coll., on the Constitutional Court, and the petition was admissible

pursuant to § 66 of the same act, the Court initiated a proceeding and

requested the Parliament of the Czech Republic to submit its views

thereon within the period defined by statute. Pursuant to § 42, para. 3

and § 69 of Act No. 182/1993 Coll., the petition in question was sent to

the Assembly of Deputies [the lower chamber of Parliament] for its

opinion.  The Chairman of the Assembly of Deputies, Dr. Milan Uhde,

confirmed the position that the Assembly of Deputies took when it voted

on the act.  He stated that the purpose of the adopted act is, with

regard to the creation of an independent state (the Czech Republic), to

newly regulate the institution of citizenship and to give it

comprehensive treatment.  He referred to the fact that the act is based

on the principal that each citizen should be the citizen of only one

state, that such a legal rule is found in several other states of

Europe, and that it is not new even to our legal system.  He further

emphasized that each citizen should have the possibility, while

observing the legally prescribed conditions, to acquire or lose

citizenship of the Czech Republic.  For that reason, in addition to

defining the conditions, it was necessary, as exactly as possible, to

establish the grounds upon which it is possible to waive some of the

conditions for citizenship.  In relation to citizens of the Slovak

Republic, the act then contains a special procedure which enables them

to acquire citizenship of the Czech Republic if they meet the prescribed

conditions.   The amendment to the act then took care of the situation

which developed in applying the act, when, as a result of the experience

gained in applying the act, it was discovered that certain of its

provisions might be considered as too severe by certain groups of

citizens.  In conclusion, he stated that the adopted act was closely

tied to the creation of an independent Czech state, that it contained a

complete legal regime concerning citizenship in conformity with

internationally protected human rights and fundamental freedoms.
 


II.

Citizenship

can generally be defined as a relationship between an individual and a

state which is not limited in duration and not restricted to the state's

territory, which, as a rule, is not revocable against the will of the

individual, and on the basis of which is founded an individual's

capacity for reciprocal rights and duties, consisting primarily of the

right of the individual to the state's protection both within its

territory and without, the right of the individual to reside in the

territory, and the right to take part in the administration of public

affairs.  The primary duties of the citizen consist in fidelity to the

state, commitment to its defense, the performance of certain tasks for

which he is competent, and the observance of legal enactments of the

state, even when outside of its territory.  The specific content of the

citizenship right is determined by the legislation of individual

sovereign states.  It is the sovereign prerogative of the state to

determine the conditions under which its citizenship is acquired and

lost.

Citizenship is unambiguously an institution of a state's

domestic law, and other states are guided by the principle of the

non-interference in the internal affairs of another state.  However, the

fact that a person is the citizen of one country can have impact even

outside that country in consideration of the fact that citizenship

extends protection to the individual who bears it even in the territory

of other states.  Of course, in such cases a conflict of interests might

result, and in this way the institution of citizenship comes within the

purview of international law.  The international application of the

recognition of citizenship in each individual case must be based on the

national law of the effected state; the decision of the state to grant

its own citizenship does not have to be internationally accepted without

question.  In the Nottebohm case, the International Court of Justice

adjudged that "a state is not entitled to expect that the rules which it

lays down governing the acquisition of citizenship have a claim to

recognition by other states if it does not comport itself in conformity

with the universal goals of the legal bond of citizenship, pursuant to

which the individual has 'genuine' ties to the state which protects its

citizens from other states."  (ICJ Rep., 1955, p. 23).  In other words,

from the international perspective, other states do not have to

recognize a state's grant of its citizenship to an individual who does

not have close ties to the state granting the citizenship.  Even though

the decision of the International Court of Justice is only binding on

the states which were parties to the case, from the perspective of

general international law, it can be asserted that, with the exception

of the application of certain international treaty commitments, the set

of rules a state adopts for the granting of citizenship (including

setting down the category of persons upon whom citizenship may be

conferred and the conditions and the procedures which an individual must

fulfill in order to have citizenship conferred on him) is a matter for

each state to determine independently (Nottebohm case, ICJ Rep., 1955,

p. 20).
 


III.
 

The

petitioners claim that § 6 of Czech National Council Act No. 40/1993

Coll.,1) is not in conformity with Art. 1 of the Czech National Council

Constitutional Act No. 4/1993 Coll.,6) on Measures Connected with the

Dissolution of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic.  § 6 of the cited

act1) governs the acquisition (by declaration) of Czech citizenship by

persons who on 31 December 1992 were citizens of the Czech and Slovak

Federal Republic but whom it was not possible to designate as either a

Czech citizen or a Slovak citizen.  According to the petitioners, the

wording of § 6 of the cited act1) permits a foreign citizen to acquire

Czech citizenship by a mere declaration.  They further assert  that "on 1

January 1969 and on 31 December 1992, the possibility was ruled out

that someone could be a Czechoslovak citizen and not at the same time be

a citizen of the Czech (or Slovak) Republic.  There was not a group of

individuals who were Czechoslovak citizens and who would not at the same

time have also been either Czech or Slovak citizens."  However, this

assertion does not pass muster.  § 6 of the cited act1) in its present

form is not applicable to foreigners (to persons with foreign

citizenship) because the basic condition for the application of this

provision is that the person have held citizenship of the Czech and

Slovak Federal Republic on 31 December 1992.  Such a legal situation

would come into consideration if a citizen of the Czech and Slovak

Federal Republic were at the same time a citizen of another state

(therefore, one holding dual citizenship).  With regard to § 6 of the

cited act,1) however, the objection of foreign citizenship does not come

into consideration, because this section does not provide for the new

acquisition of citizenship by means of a grant to foreigners (in which

case the condition that the person be released from ties to his state of

origin would have to be satisfied), rather it is only a confirmation of

the existing original citizenship of the Czech and Slovak Federal

Republic and the transformation of it into Czech citizenship.  The

existence of a second (foreign) citizenship is not decisive in this

instance.

However, it is important to answer the question

whether on 31 December 1992 it was possible for individuals to be

citizens of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic without being

designated either as citizens of the Czech Republic or of the Slovak

Republic.  By analyzing the previous legal rules concerning the

acquisition and loss of citizenship, without doubt one may come to the

conclusion that such a legal state of affairs was indeed possible. The

institution of citizenship of the Czech Socialist Republic was

constituted by Act No. 39/1969 Coll.  Pursuant to § 2, para. 1 of the

cited act, a person who had citizenship of the Czechoslovak Socialist

Republic on 1 January 1969, was a citizen of the Czech Socialist

Republic, if he was born in the Czech Socialist Republic.  Pursuant to §

2, para. 2 of the cited act, a citizen of the Czechoslovak Socialist

Republic who was born abroad was a citizen of the Czech Socialist

Republic, if on 1 January 1969 he had applied for permanent residence in

the Czech Socialist Republic, or possibly even if the last permanent

residence that he or his parents had prior to going abroad was in the

Czech Socialist Republic.  However, Czech National Council Act No.

39/1969 Coll., even contained provisions (in its § 3) resolving the

situation of individuals who had citizenship of the Czechoslovak

Socialist Republic, but whose citizenship (of the Czech Republic or the

Slovak Republic) could not be determined.  The above-mentioned legal

state-of-affairs, that is, individuals having citizenship of the

Czechoslovak Socialist Republic without it being possible to designate

them either as citizens of the Czech Socialist Republic or of the Slovak

Socialist Republic, could actually have existed, for citizenship of the

national republics was created subsequently in 1969.  Under the

preceding legal rules (Act No. 194/1949 Coll., on the Acquisition and

Loss of Czechoslovak Citizenship), a person acquired citizenship by

birth in the Czechoslovak Republic to parents who were citizens (basic

method - § 1, para. 1 of the cited act), and under § 1, para. 1 of the

cited Act, even if a child was born abroad, provided the father and

mother were citizens of the Czechoslovak Republic.  Under those

conditions, an individual could have Czechoslovak citizenship (and,

pursuant to Czech National Council Act No. 39/1969 Coll., citizenship of

the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, and even subsequently of the Czech

and Slovak Federal Republic), even if the condition of permanent

residency was not satisfied either by him or by his parents.  That is to

say that, with such parents, Czechoslovak citizenship might have been

acquired by "inheritance" from ancestors.  Pursuant to § 3 of Czech

National Council Act No. 39/1969 Coll.,7) these individuals were able to

acquire citizenship of the Czech Socialist Republic by declaration. 

However, these individuals, in this case citizens of the Czechoslovak

Socialist Republic, had the right to make such a declaration, not the

duty.  Of course, it is necessary to emphasize at the same time that the

cited legal regime did not provide for any deadline for the exercise of

this right and did not even lay down the legal consequences of a

possible failure to exercise this right.  It is possible to easily

deduce from these facts that the right to acquire citizenship of the

Czech Socialist Republic by declaration was created as a right to which

no time limit was attached and which did not expire by the passage of

time.  It is, therefore, evident that a legal state-of-affairs could

have existed by which an individual could have citizenship of the

Czechoslovak Socialist Republic (and later of the Czech and Slovak

Federal Republic) and at the same time not have citizenship of the Czech

Republic or the Slovak Republic, and by which, under the current law,

he could designate by declaration whether his national citizenship was

tied to the Czech Republic or the Slovak Republic. This legal rule was

then taken over, in its entirety, by Czech National Council Act No.

40/1993 Coll.

For that reason, we cannot agree with the

petitioners' assertion that any foreigner whatsoever may acquire

citizenship of the Czech Republic by a declaration pursuant to § 6 of

Czech National Council Act No. 40/1993 Coll.1) Ties to their state of

origin (Czechoslovak Republic, Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, Czech

and Slovak Federal Republic) must always be manifested, and these ties

must be continuous and lasting, even from the perspective of the

principle cives origo facit.  The issue of the possibility of other

citizenships which the individual might have acquired is not inquired

into within the framework of the declaration because that declaration is

legally based on the existence of citizenship of the Czech and Slovak

Federal Republic, and it merely puts citizenship of the newly created

Czech Republic into concrete form.  The condition that a person must be

released from the bonds of some other citizenship, as was already stated

above, is not inquired into because we are not concerned here with a

newly granted citizenship.  It is also necessary to remember that the

report of the Interior Ministry confirmed that we are dealing with quite

exceptional cases (at most 10 persons in the course of a year).

Thus,

it is in no way possible to deduce from the above-stated facts that the

provisions of § 6 of Czech National Council Act No. 40/1993 Coll.,1) is

not in conformity with Art. 1 of the Czech National Council

Constitutional Act No. 4/1993 Coll.,6) because on 1 January 1969 and on

31 December 1992 there existed a legal state of affairs which, under § 3

of Czech National Council Act No. 39/1969 Coll.,7) enabled citizens of

the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic the right, without time limitation,

to chose citizenship of the Czech Socialist Republic by declaration.
 


IV.
 

The

petition of the group of Deputies is further directed against § 112)

and § 12, para. 33) of Czech National Council Act No. 40/1993 Coll.,

which, according to the petitioners, are not in conformity with the

provisions of Art. 67, para. 1 of the Constitution of the Czech

Republic.8) The petition states that, according to this provision, the

government, and not the Interior Ministry, is responsible for issues of

state executive power at the highest level.  It further states that

these provisions also violate Art. 2, para. 2, Art. 9, para. 2 of the

Constitution of the Czech Republic and Art. 1, and Art. 2, para. 1 of

the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Basic Freedoms (hereinafter

"Charter") to the effect that state power must serve all citizens in

conformity with the essential requirements of the democratic legal

state, without being bound to any exclusive ideology or religious

confession and while respecting the equality of all persons before the

law.

§ 11 of Czech National Council Act No. 40/1993 Coll.,2) as

amended by Act No. 272/1993 Coll., contains the right of the Interior

Ministry to waive, for an applicant:

-    the condition set down

in § 7, para. 1, letter a)2) of the cited act (namely, the uninterrupted

permanent residence status in the republic for at least five years), if

other conditions listed in § 11, para. 1, letters a) through f)2) are

fulfilled, (namely, if the person was born in the Czech Republic, if he

has lived here continuously for at least 10 years, if he had in the past

citizenship of the Czech Republic or of the Czech and Slovak Federal

Republic, if the person irrevocably acquired citizenship of the Czech

Republic, if the person's spouse is a citizen of the Czech Republic, or

if at least one of his parents is a citizen of the Czech Republic;

-  

 the condition set down in § 7, para. 1, letter b) of the cited act

(namely, release from ties to another state) if the person also fulfills

the other conditions listed in § 11, para. 2 of the cited act (namely,

if the applicant has had continuous permanent residence status in the

Czech Republic for at least five years, provided that the legal rules of

the country of which the applicant is a citizen does not permit him to

be released from ties to the state or if that state refuses to issue

documents concerning the release of the applicant from his ties to the

state),

-    the condition set down in § 7, para. 1, letter d) of

the cited act (namely, knowledge of the Czech language) in cases

meriting special consideration.  

Then § 12, para. 3 of the

cited act3) also sets down the right of the Interior Ministry to waive

the taking of the oath of citizenship.

In its petition, the

group of Deputies objects that "the exercise of this power was entrusted

to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Interior Ministry, so that it is a

power exercised in isolation from the government, and the law did not

provide for the possibility that the legality of its decision in these

matters be reviewed, which failing constitutes a violation of the

provisions of Art. 2, para. 1 and Art. 67, para. 1 of the Constitution

and of Art. 2 of the Charter, according to which governmental power must

be exercised in a hierarchical fashion such that the government at the

highest level is responsible for it and so that it serve all citizens in

conformity with all essential requirements of a democratic legal state

(Art. 9, para. 2 of the Constitution).  When decisions are made about

the granting of citizenship, priority is to be given to the public

interest, which is defined by the division of state power (Art. 2 of the

Constitution) and by democratic values, and which may not be dictated

either by ideological or religious motives (Art. 2, para. 1 of the

Charter) or by the particular interests of only certain individuals

(Art. 1 of the Charter concerning the equality of people before the

law)".

None of the above-mentioned articles of the Constitution

nor the Charter are infringed by the contested provisions of § 11,2) §

12, para. 33) of Czech National Council Act No. 40/1993 Coll., and in

this respect no connection was designated or proven.  It is the conditio

sine qua non of every democratic government that decision-making on a

series of specialized issues be entrusted to members of the government

and to their respective offices; this is also true from the point of

view of the ordinary and necessary division of power.  The government is

the supreme body of executive power (§ 67, para. 1 of the

Constitution).  So other executive bodies are naturally subordinate to

it.  The ministries are subordinated to the government not only by means

of legal enactments such as generally binding normative acts, but also

by means of internal normative instructions and individual acts (§ 21 of

Czech National Council Act No. 2/1969 Coll., concerning the

Establishment of Ministries and other Central Authorities of State

Administration of the Czech Republic, according to which the ministries

in all of their activities shall follow constitutional and other acts

and government resolutions).  The relationship between the government

and the ministries is also explicitly stated in § 28, para. 1 of Czech

National Council Act No. 2/1969 Coll., according to which the government

of the Czech Republic directs, supervises and harmonizes the activities

of the ministries.  In its capacity as the supreme body of executive

power, the government is, at the same time, the representative of that

power in relation to the Assembly of Deputies as well.  In their given

sector, the ministries deal with issues assigned to their competence,

and in prescribed areas of state policy, it submits them to the

government as a whole for its consideration.  It is the government which

presents these issues to the Assembly of Deputies in the form of

general documents and reports or in the form of a legislative

initiative.

The competent minister is the bearer of

constitutional political responsibility for the actions of the ministry,

and in this respect the common methods of parliamentary democracy, such

as interpellation (Article 53, para. 1, 2 of the Constitution), the

subpoena right of the Assembly of Deputies and its bodies or

investigating commissions (Art. 30, Art. 38, para. 2 of the

Constitution), provide oversight of his actions.  The possibility to

recall him from his office is a further supervisory mechanism by which a

minister's actions are observed and he is made accountable under

constitutional law.  Pursuant to Art. 74 of the Constitution, this

supervisory mechanism was conferred on the Prime Minister (proposal to

recall a minister) and on the President of the Republic (the recall

itself).  It unambiguously follows from these facts that the activities

of the ministry, as the state administrative authority to which the

power to grant citizenship has been delegated by Act of Parliament (and

there is no doubt that is was so delegated by Czech National Council Act

No. 40/1993 Coll., on the Acquisition and Loss of Citizenship of the

Czech Republic, as amended by Act No. 272/1993 Coll. - Art. 79, para. 1

of the Constitution), is subject to all procedures which are common in

parliamentary democracies.  The Interior Minister may be supervised by

these means, and it may be inferred that the minister is held

accountable under constitutional, if in the course of performing his

office he violates the prescribed rules of conduct.

The assertion

that the power to grant Czech citizenship was entrusted to the

exclusive jurisdiction of the Interior Ministry, so that it is a power

exercised in isolation from the government, thus, does not correspond to

the facts.
 

Considering the

foregoing discussion, it may be considered that the provisions of § 112)

and § 12, para. 33) of Czech National Council Act No. 40/93 Coll., as

amended by Act No. 272/1993 Coll., do not conflict with the provisions

of the Constitution or the Charter as the petitioners have asserted, 

and no relation between the assertion of the petitioners and a violation

of the cited provisions has been shown.
 


V.
 

Finally,

the petition of the Deputies also touches upon the provisions of § 18,

para. 1, letters a, c)4) and § 18a, letters a, b)5) of Czech National

Council Act No. 40/1993 Coll., as amended by Act No. 272/1993 Coll.,

which regulate the election of Czech citizenship by citizens of the

Slovak Republic.

Under the provisions of § 18 of the cited act,

citizens of the Slovak Republic had the right to elect Czech citizenship

until 30 June 1994, if they fulfilled the conditions set out in

paragraph 1, letters a) through c).  These conditions include:

-    at least 2 years of uninterrupted permanent residence in the Czech Republic,

-    release from ties to the Slovak Republic,

-    a good character (had not been finally convicted in the past five years for the intentional commission of a criminal act).

§ 18a of the cited act then governs acquisition, by election, of Czech

citizenship by citizens of the Slovak Republic who were born in the

Slovak Republic on 31 December 1939 or earlier and whose parents, or at

least one of them, were born in the Czech Republic, or who had, in 1993

at the latest, reached the age of 60 and at the same time fulfilled the

following two conditions,

-    at least 2 years of uninterrupted permanent residence in the Czech Republic,

-    a good character (had not been finally convicted in the past five years for the intentional commission of a criminal act).
 

According to the petition of the group of deputies, these provisions

are discriminatory due to the fact that they set down for citizens of

the Slovak Republic, who were originally also citizens of the Czech and

Slovak Federal Republic, special conditions for acquiring citizenship of

the Czech Republic, that is conditions which were not part of the

previous legislation of the common state.  Thus, it is alleged not to

conform to the provisions of Art. 26 of the International Convention on

Civil and Political Rights, according to which all persons are equal

before the law and have a general right to equal and effective

protection from discrimination on any grounds.

As an

introduction to this issue, it must be emphasized that after the

formation of the Czechoslovak Federation, the legal rules in the area of

citizenship were found in Art. 5 of Constitutional Act No. 143/1968

Coll.,9) on the Czechoslovak Federation, as amended by Constitutional

Act No. 125/1970 Coll., and in Act No. 165/1968 Coll., on the Principles

for the Acquisition and Loss of Citizenship, in Czech National Council

Act No. 39/1969 Coll., as amended by the legislative measures of the

Presidium of the Czech National Council, No. 124/1969 Coll., and in

Slovak National Council Act No. 206/1968 Coll.  The wording of Art. 5 of

Constitutional Act No. 143/1968 Coll.,9) results from the principle of

the primary nature of citizenship of the Czech Republic or of the Slovak

Republic (and a citizen of either republic was at the same time a

citizen of the Czechoslovak Republic).  An amendment to this Article was

introduced by Constitutional Act No. 125/1975 Coll., which amended and

supplemented Constitutional Act No. 143/1968 Coll., on the Czechoslovak

Federation, which declared that Czechoslovak citizenship is unitary and

that each Czechoslovak citizen is at the same time a citizen of either

the Czech Republic or of the Slovak Republic, as well as stating that

this provision should be given more concrete form by means of statutes

of both republics.  No such statutes were adopted; nevertheless in

theory and in practice the view that republican citizenship was primary

prevailed. In addition, the article authorized the Federal Assembly to

set down in a statute the principles for the acquisition and loss of

citizenship of the republics.  This was done in Act No. 165/1968 Coll.,

which set down the criteria for determining which Czechoslovak citizens

were citizens of the Czech Republic and which were citizens of the

Slovak Republic.  It further provided that, as a result of the

acquisition (loss) of citizenship of the Czech Republic or the Slovak

Republic, a person also acquired (lost) Czechoslovak citizenship, and it

also specified that a person who was a citizen of one republic and

acquired citizenship of the other republic (for example, by election or

grant) lost citizenship of the second [Note: seems like an error, and

should read "first" or "original"] republic.  This legal rule was based

on the principles that an individual may be a citizen of only one

republic and that he immediately lost the citizenship of one republic

the moment he acquired citizenship of the second republic.

Details concerning the designation of citizenship of the Czech Republic

or the Slovak Republic by citizens of what had, until that time, been a

unitary state were set down in Acts Nos. 39/1969 Coll. and 206/1968

Coll., as were conditions for the election of citizenship of one

republic by citizens of the other republic (at that time, it was

possible to make an election until 31 December 1969) and the means for

acquiring and losing citizenship of the republics.  After the period for

the election of citizenship of the Czech Republic expired, citizens of

the Slovak Republic were able to request that they be granted

citizenship of the Czech Republic, and they only had to fulfill the

condition of permanent residence in the Czech Republic, and the

fulfillment of this condition could be waived.  As soon as a person was

granted citizenship of the Czech Republic, he automatically lost

citizenship of the Slovak Republic, and for this reason he did not need

to submit proof that he had been released from ties to the Slovak

Republic.

It must be kept in mind that, in connection with the

expected division of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic, a way was

sought to make possible the simplest and quickest resolution of the

citizenship issue.  This way was based on the principle of the

prevention of the creation of dual citizenship and of the prevention of

the creation of statelessness.  It was also based on the principle, that

it is possible to change the then current citizenship of an individual

only on the basis of his own expressed wish.  This proceeded from the

fact that on 31 December 1992 each citizen of the Czech and Slovak

Federal Republic was a citizen of either the Czech Republic or the

Slovak Republic.  The adoption of a bilateral treaty between the Czech

and Slovak Republics appeared to be optimal, and a draft treaty was

prepared and submitted by the Czech side.  The draft treaty was based on

the following principles:

-    individuals who had citizenship

of one republic on 31 December 1992 were also citizens of that republic

from 1 January 1993 on,

-    persons who were at that time

citizens of the Slovak Republic were allowed the right to elect Czech

citizenship and vice versa (a six month period to make the choice was

provided for), and the condition therefor was three year permanent

residence in the republic the citizenship of which the individual was

choosing,

-    the acquisition by an individual of the

citizenship of one of the contracting parties meant for that individual

the automatic loss of the citizenship of the other contracting party,

-  

 the prevention of the creation of dual citizenship for children, one

of whose parents was a citizen of one of the contracting parties and the

second a citizen of the other contracting party, by allowing the

parents to make the election of citizenship for the child; and at the

same time, it set the criteria for the designation of citizenship of

only one of the contracting parties for children whose parents did not

make an election of citizenship.

  Thus, the above-mentioned

report of the Interior Ministry (the top director of the second section)

indicated that such a treaty would have simplified as much as possible

the procedure for the acquisition of citizenship of one contracting

party by citizens of the other contracting party and that, at the same

time, it would prevent the creation of dual citizenship and

statelessness.  The same report also stated that the Slovak side did not

accept this draft treaty and was favorably inclined toward the

possibility of dual citizenship.

  For that reason, the Czech

Republic resolved the issue of the acquisition of Czech citizenship by a

domestic enactment, Czech National Council Act No. 40/1993 Coll., as

amended by Act No. 272/1993 Coll., which contains the principle of the

prevention of the creation of dual citizenship and prevention of the

creation of statelessness.  In this way, it was linked to the legal

enactments currently in force in the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic,

and it was based on the fact that analogous principles are found in the

legal enactments of other European states as well.
 

Citizens

of the Slovak Republic who had not by 31 December 1992 submitted an

application for the grant of citizenship of the Czech Republic might

have acquired citizenship of the Czech Republic pursuant to Czech

National Council Act No. 40/1993 Coll., as amended by Act No. 272/1993

Coll.:

a) By the election of citizenship under § 184) or § 18a5) (by 30 June 1994),

b) By grant under § 19,10) by 30 June 1994,

c) By grant under § 711) (there is no time limitation upon this method).

The above-mentioned method for the acquisition of citizenship was,

pursuant to § 184) and § 191é) of Czech National Council Act No. 40/1993

Coll., available only for a limited period, namely this declaration had

to be made by 31 December 1993 at the latest, although this deadline

was subsequently extended to 30 June 1994, by virtue of Czech Government

Order No. 337/1993 Coll. from 15 December 1993.  By virtue of

Constitutional Act No. 542/1992 Coll., concerning Measures relating to

the Dissolution of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic, the Czech and

Slovak Federal Republic ceased to exist as an independent state on 31

December 1992, and on 1 January 1993 two new independent states came

into existence.  Without a doubt they possess the sovereign power to

govern their own internal affairs.  Naturally, the acquisition of

citizenship comes within that category.  It is possible to entirely

agree with the petitioners' assertion that, as a result of the

dissolution of the common state, citizens of the Slovak Republic became

foreigners in the Czech Republic (and, of course, vice versa).  Of

course, the assertion that the dissolution of the Czech and Slovak

Federal Republic, as well as the termination of citizenship of that

state, took place without the directly expressed will of the citizens of

the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic and in an undetermined number of

cases against their will, is in the given situation unsubstantiated and

speculative.  On the contrary, it must be emphasized that on the day the

independent states (the Czech and Slovak Republics) came into

existence, the citizens of each of the states became foreigners in the

other state.  Therefore, as an independent state, the Czech Republic may

set the conditions for the acquisition of citizenship quite

independently of the legal rules of another state (the Slovak

Republic).  This right was exercised by the adoption of Czech National

Council Act No. 40/1993 Coll., as amended by Act No. 272/1993 Coll.,

which, among other things, provided for the acquisition of citizenship

by foreigners.  The petitioners' assertion that in the case of citizens

of the Slovak Republic we are not dealing with foreigners simply does

not hold water, nor does their assertion that the choice brought on by

the termination of federal citizenship may be conditioned only upon the

subjective wish of the citizen and by his so-called objective

relationship to the territory.  It is precisely this relationship (that

is, the relationship to the Czech Republic) which must be manifested in

an appropriate fashion, and not merely by ties to the territory, rather

it must also be objectively manifested to the Czech Republic as such. 

Precisely this manifestation was included among the conditions under

which it was possible to acquire citizenship of the Czech Republic.  It

is necessary to repeat again that each sovereign state has the right to

set the conditions under which its citizenship can be obtained.  The

petitioners further make the irrelevant assertion that since the

continuation of dual citizenship of the Czech and Slovak Federal

Republic and the Czech Republic had not been qualified by a requirement

of good character, then there may not be such a requirement now.  In

addition, no further statutory restrictions have been placed on their

legal status and on the states of affairs which came about before the

new statute came into effect, rather those that came about on the day it

went into effect and subsequently.  As has already been said, when a

citizen of the Slovak Republic elects citizenship of the Czech Republic,

it is necessary to take as a starting point the rules to which

foreigners in general are subject in connection with citizenship.  In

this regard, the conditions set down for citizens of the Slovak Republic

are different and more favorable precisely for them.  Naturally, from

the perspective of our past co-existence within a common state and the

societal, professional and family ties which were created during that

period, in general these conditions were motivated by grounds which can

be called entirely decent and humane.  However, not even in this field

can we consider matters voluntaristically.  The prescribed conditions

are suitable to the permanent situation, sufficiently generalize and

objectify the relationship to the Czech Republic, and are in no way

discriminatory.  It is then appropriate to say the following concerning

these conditions:  in the view of the Constitutional Court, the concept

of permanent residency concerns a permanent residency which is

manifested in reality and not one that is reflected only in official

files - such as an application for permanent residency filed at the

appropriate office - but in a real sense.  Thus, permanent residency

must be understood to mean that the person lives at his place of

continuous residence, that is, generally at the place where he has his

family, parents, apartment or employment and also the place where he

lives with the intention of staying there permanently (in accord with

the decision of the Superior Court in Prague sp. zn. 3 Cdo 76/93).  Two

years of permanent residency as a condition for electing citizenship was

also set down with a view toward Slovak National Council Act No.

206/1968 Coll., which required two years of permanent residency in

Slovakia as a condition for the grant of Slovak citizenship to citizens

of the Czech Republic.  At the time the law on the acquisition of

citizenship of the Czech Republic was adopted, this Slovak National

Council act was still in effect, and for that reason and in accord with

the principle of reciprocity, this time period can be considered

suitable.  It is appropriate to remember that even in the case a person

had a shorter period of permanent residency, the Interior Ministry was

empowered to grant citizenship of the Czech Republic to an applicant

pursuant to § 1910) or to § 711) of Czech National Council Act No

49/1993 Coll.  Concerning the issue of a final conviction for an

intentional criminal act during the preceding five years, it must be

emphasized that this provision refers to an intentional criminal act

(and not, therefore, one involving negligence) and in this connection it

must be stated, keeping in mind the explanatory report accompanying the

adoption of the act on citizenship of the Czech Republic, that as far

as it concerns persons who were finally convicted for an intentional

criminal act, they will meet the above-stated conditions for the grant

of citizenship of the Czech Republic if their convictions are expunged

by a court.  In accord with the Penal Code and the Code of Criminal

Procedure, these persons (whose convictions are expunged) are, thus,

viewed as persons who were not convicted, and the conviction is not

included in the extract from their criminal record.  It also must be

added that petty larcenies, for example, are generally dealt with as

minor offenses, while the criminal act of larceny refers to an illegal

act by which the offender appropriates property of a higher value which

belongs to someone else.  Certain peculiarities resulting from the

dissolution of the federation were actually taken into account in those

temporary extraordinary rules designated for the possibility of electing

citizenship of the Czech Republic.  Somewhat more favorable conditions

for the election were set down for the group of citizens of the Slovak

Republic who are staying abroad and who, prior to going abroad, had

permanent residency in the Czech Republic, but this preference must

again be understood as a humane gesture which shows respect for possible

family and other general human ties which these citizens might have to

the Czech Republic.  Of course, it is unnecessary to mention the

possibility of these emigrants obtaining citizenship of the Czech

Republic during the period when provisional legal rules are in effect. 

Concerning these facts, it is further necessary to point out that, in

the overwhelming majority of cases, these persons remained outside the

Czech Republic for more than 5 years, and thus could not have been

convicted in the Czech Republic (the criminal record only includes

convictions which occurred in the Czech Republic).  It would be

problematic to request such documents from foreign authorities because

certain countries do not issue them to individuals, and in the case that

the criminal record was submitted, it would be difficult to assess the

character of the criminal act.  Further problems would evidently arise

if such a person lived in several countries.  Thus, it is not possible,

under these circumstances, to speak about discrimination against a

certain group of persons.  If we can discuss it at all, then we can only

discuss discrimination in the positive sense:  foreigners who are

citizens of the Slovak Republic were granted a more favorable status

than that granted to foreigners who are citizens of states other than

the Slovak Republic or to apoliticals [Translator's note: probably

refers to stateless persons], as a result of the modification of rights

which occurred from the perspective of international law when the state

was divided.

A practical approach to the current state of affairs

is found in the Interior Ministry report, to the effect that citizens

of the Slovak Republic who did not submit an application for the grant

of citizenship of the Czech Republic, who had permanent residence in the

Czech Republic on 31 December 1992 and whose stay here is still

continuing, may submit an application for a Czech permanent residency

permit.  These applicants do not have to submit the documents required

for other foreigners, rather they need only show the entry concerning

permanent residence in their civil identity booklet and prove

citizenship of the Slovak Republic.  The legal status of citizens of the

Slovak Republic who have permanent residence in the Czech Republic is

almost the same as the status of a citizen of the Czech Republic.  For

this purpose, more than 40 treaties were concluded between the Czech and

Slovak Republics, and it is evident from these and from a series of

legal enactments that, for example, the right to free education, health

care, unemployment benefits, welfare benefits, etc. depend on permanent

residence and not on citizenship.  The institution of citizenship of the

Czech Republic differs only in respect of the right to vote, the

qualifications for holding certain positions (judge, soldier,

prosecutor), and the duty to perform military service.

Finally,

it is appropriate to keep in mind that the Czech Republic is not bound

by the legal rules relating to citizenship of the Czech and Slovak

Federal Republic, considering the fact that that institution ceased to

exist in conjunction with the dissolution of the federation.  By virtue

of the Constitutional Act of the Czech National Council No. 4/1993

Coll., concerning Measures relating to the Dissolution of the Czech and

Slovak Federal Republic, which came into effect on 31 December 1992, the

legal enactments in force prior to the creation of the Czech Republic

were incorporated into its legal system, however, provisions conditioned

only on the existence of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic and the

Czech Republic's affiliation with it may not be applied.  Czech National

Council Act No. 40/1993 Coll., came into force on 1 January 1993, and

in § 28, paras. 1 and 2, it annulled the original legal rules, namely

those in Czech National Council Act No. 39/1969 Coll., as amended by

Czech National Council Act No. 92/1990 Coll. and Act No. 165/1968 Coll.

In view of the above-stated facts, the Constitutional Court has come to

the conclusion that the provisions of § 18, para. 1, letters a) and

c)4) and § 18a, letters a) and b)5) of Czech National Council Act No.

40/1993 Coll., as amended by Act No. 272/1993 Coll., is not inconsistent

with the provisions of Art. 26 of the International Convention on Civil

and Political Rights, as the petitioners claim, and no connection

between the petitioners' assertion and a violation of the cited

provisions have even been shown.

Notice: Decisions of the Constitutional Court cannot be appealed.




Justices JUDr. Vladimír Čermák and JUDr. Pavel Varvařovský made use of

their right, pursuant to § 14 of Act No. 182/1993 Coll., on the

Constitutional Court, to append a separate opinion dissenting from the

decision of the Court on the petition to annul § 18, para. 1, letters a)

and c) and § 18a letters a) and b) of the contested act.

Pl. ÚS 9/94
DISSENTING OPINION

The opinion of Justice JUDr. Vladimír Čermák and Justice JUDr. Pavel

Varvařovský dissenting from the Judgment of the Constitutional Court of

13 September 1994, which rejected on the merits the petition of a group

of Deputies seeking the annulment of several provisions of Act No.

40/1993 Coll., on the Acquisition and Loss of Citizenship of the Czech

Republic, as amended by Act No. 272/1993 Coll., submitted in accordance

with § 14 of Act No. 182/1993 Coll., on the Constitutional Court.

The undersigned Justices hold the view that the petition of the group

of Deputies, so far as it concerns the point proposing the annulment of §

18, para. 1, letters a) and c) and § 18a, letters a) and b) of Act No.

40/1993 Coll., on the Acquisition and Loss of Citizenship of the Czech

Republic, as amended by Act No. 272/1993 Coll., should have been

granted, for the following reasons:


I.

Article

I of the Constitution of the Czech Republic proclaims the Czech

Republic to be a democratic law-based state, founded on respect for the

rights and freedoms of persons and citizens.  Apart from that, the

Preamble to the Constitution professes allegiance to the traditions of

Czechoslovak statehood, which, among other things, is manifested in the

reception of the legal order of the previous state and even some of its

symbols.  It declares itself in favor of the notion that Czechoslovakia

should be a stabilizing democratic area in Central Europe, founded on

humanistic principles and on the principles of democracy.  The Preamble

to the Constitution places emphasis on the civic and not on the national

principle of the new state.

A state which aspires to be a

democratic law-based state must necessarily acknowledge the requirement

of its own constitutional self-limitation, for along with that concept

necessarily belongs the recognition of the supranational origin of the

basic human rights, therefore the recognition of the autonomy of human

beings and of the civic society.  It is not possible to apply to the

state, in contrast to citizens, the principle that everything which is

not expressly forbidden is permitted.

Without question there can

be no objection to the statement that, as an independent state, the

Czech Republic may set the conditions for the acquisition of its

citizenship quite independently of the legal rules in some other state,

and thus even of the legal rules in the Slovak Republic.  However, the

undersigned justices are of the opinion that, for citizens of the Czech

and Slovak Federal Republic, the federal citizenship was de facto the

citizenship to which priority was given, in particular in the legal

consciousness of the citizens of the state.  From the international

perspective, there was a single citizenship.  Therefore, the criteria

for the transformation of citizenship for citizens of the federation who

were citizens of the Slovak Republic should be considerably different

than the criteria for the acquisition of citizenship by foreigners.  The

statement that the rules contained in the provisions of § 18 or § 18a

of Act No. 40/1993 Coll. are considerably different and in fact more

favorable is unconvincing.  The above-mentioned provisions, which were

placed into the third part entitled "Extraordinary Provisions concerning

Citizenship of the Czech Republic in connection with the Dissolution of

the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic", are in essence extraordinary in

name only.  The only "advantage" which these provisions grant to

citizens of the Slovak Republic living within the Czech Republic as

compared with real foreigners is that the period for uninterrupted

permanent residence was reduced from five years to two, and certain

provisions that had harsh impact on elderly persons were eliminated (the

subsequently added § 18a).  The conditions set down decisively do not

constitute the right of election, which one would expect to be included

in the legal order of a state which faithfully adheres to principle and

to legal continuity, such as are mentioned in section I of this

opinion.  We can agree with the opinion of the group of deputies that,

as a result of these provisions, discriminatory conditions were

introduced for obtaining citizenship by former citizens of the Czech and

Slovak Federal Republic, who thereby became foreigners in a part of

their original homeland.  Statutory restrictions were (subsequently)

placed after the fact on legal states of affairs and facts which came

about and existed prior to the time when Act No. 40/1993 Coll., entered

into force.  In addition, these rights were limited in a manner which,

for reasons which are difficult to understand, are not even the same for

all citizens of the Slovak Republic.  It may be considered especially

discriminatory that those citizens of the Slovak Republic who might have

proven their relationship to the Czech Republic by long-term permanent

residence within its territory had the least favorable conditions for

obtaining citizenship.  The non-waivable condition of five-years without

criminal conduct was applied to them, as it was to real foreigners, but

the fulfillment of this condition was not demanded of foreigners who

lived abroad permanently and who prior to going abroad had permanent

residence in the Czech Republic without time limitation.  Substantially

more favorable conditions, a more genuine right of election, are applied

to former citizens of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic for whom it

was not possible to designate the citizenship of either of the

republics (§ 6 of Act No. 40/1993 Coll.).  The undersigned justices take

the position that the principle of the election of citizenship such as

is laid out in § 6 of the act is the standard solution in a state which

desires to be a democratic law-based state and which sincerely professes

allegiance to the traditions of Czechoslovak statehood.  Any sort of

rule that falls below this standard is discriminatory.
 




Pl. US 9/94
Overview of the most important legal regulations


1.  

 § 6 of Act no. 40/1993 Coll., on Acquiring and Losing Citizenship of

the Czech Republic, governs acquiring citizenship by declaration as

follows: a natural person who was a citizen of the Czech and Slovak

Federal Republic as of 31 December 1992 but did not have citizenship of

the Czech Republic may choose citizenship of the Czech Republic by

declaration.

2.    § 11 of Act no. 40/1993 Coll., on Acquiring

and Losing Citizenship of the Czech Republic, provides in par. 1 that

the Ministry of the Interior may waive the condition provided in § 7

par. 1 letter a) (granting citizenship on the basis of an application to

a natural person who has had uninterrupted residence in the Czech

Republic for at least five years as of the date the application is

filed), if the applicant has permanent residence in the Czech Republic

and a) was born in the Republic, or b) has lived in the Czech Republic

uninterruptedly for at least 10 years, or c) in the past had citizenship

of the Czech Republic, or d) was adopted by a citizen of the Czech

Republic, or e) his husband (wife) is a citizen of the Czech Republic,

or f) at least one of whose parents is a citizen of the Czech Republic,

or g) moved to the Czech Republic by 31 December 1994 on the basis of an

invitation from the government, or h) is homeless or has been granted

refugee status in the Czech Republic.

3.    § 12 par. 3 of Act

no. 40/1993 Coll., on Acquiring and Losing Citizenship of the Czech

Republic, provides that the Ministry of the Interior may waive the

taking of the citizenship oath. In that case a natural person acquires

citizenship of the Czech Republic on the day when the decision to waive

the taking of the citizenship oath goes into effect.

4.    § 18

par. 1 of Act no. 40/1993 Coll., on Acquiring and Losing Citizenship of

the Czech Republic, governs choice of citizenship and provides that a

citizen of the Slovak Republic may choose citizenship of the Czech

Republic by a declaration made no later than 31 December 1993, a) if he

has had uninterrupted residence in the Czech Republic for at least two

years, b) if he submits a document on release from the citizenship of

the Slovak Republic, c) if he was not sentenced with legal effect in the

last five years for an intentional crime.

5.    § 18 a of Act

no. 40/1993 Coll., on Acquiring and Losing Citizenship of the Czech

Republic, provides that a citizen of the Slovak Republic, who was born

in its territory by 31 December 1939 and whose parents, or at least one

of them, were born in the territory of the Czech Republic, or a citizen

of the Slovak Republic who reached or will reach the age of 60 no later

than in 1993, may choose citizenship of the Czech republic by

declaration made by 31 December 1993 at the district office according to

his place of permanent residence, provided he has not already acquired

this citizenship, a) if he has had uninterrupted permanent residence in

the Czech Republic for at least two years and b) if he was not sentenced

with legal effect in the last five years for an intentional crime.

6.  

 Art. 1 of Act no. 4/1993 Coll., on Measures Related to the Dissolution

of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic, provides in paragraph 1, that

constitutional acts, statutes, and other legal regulations of the Czech

and Slovak Federal Republic in effect on the day of the dissolution of

the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic in the territory of the Czech

Republic remain in effect; however, a provision conditional only on the

existence of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic and the Czech

Republic being a part of it can not be used. Par. 2 provides that if

constitutional acts, statutes and other legal regulations passed before

the dissolution of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic tie rights and

obligations with the territory of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic

and citizenship of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic, this is

understood to mean the territory of the Czech Republic and citizenship

of the Czech republic, unless the law provides otherwise.

7.    §

3 of Act no. 39/1969 Coll., on Acquiring and Losing Citizenship of the

Czech Republic, provides that a Czechoslovak citizen whose state

citizenship can not be determined under § 2 (determination of state

citizenship on the basis of birth, registration for permanent residence

or last permanent residence), and who does not become a citizen of the

Slovak Socialist Republic under an act of the Slovak National Council,

can choose state citizenship by declaration, if he wishes to become a

citizen of the republic.

8.    Art. 67 par. 1 of Act no. 1/1993

Coll., the Constitution of the Czech Republic, provides that the

government is the highest body of executive power.

9.    Art. 5

par. 1 of the National Assembly Constitutional Act no. 143/1968 Coll.,

provided that a citizen of each of the two republics is simultaneously a

citizen of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic.
      Note: the Act was repealed for the Czech Republic by Act no. 1/1993 Coll.

10.  

 § 19 of Act no. 40/1993 Coll., on Acquiring and Losing Citizenship of

the Czech Republic, provides that until 31 December 1993 the Ministry of

the Interior may grant citizenship of the Czech Republic upon request

to a citizen of the Slovak Republic, in the case of a minor over the age

of 15, at least one of whose parents is a citizen of the Czech

Republic, or in the case of a natural person whose husband (wife) is a

citizen of the Czech Republic if a) the applicant has permanent

residence in the territory of the Czech Republic and b) submits a

document evidencing release from the citizenship of the Slovak Republic.



11.    § 7 of Act no. 40/1993 Coll., on Acquiring and Losing

Citizenship of the Czech Republic, provides that citizenship of the

Czech Republic can be granted to a natural person who simultaneously

meets these conditions: a) as of the date of filing the application he

has had permanent residence in the territory of the Czech Republic for

at least five years and has been primarily present here for that time,

b) he proves that by acquiring citizenship of the Czech Republic he will

lose his previous citizenship or proves that he has lost his previous

citizenship, except for a homeless person or a person who has been

granted refugee status in the territory of the Czech Republic, e) in the

last five years he has not been convicted with legal effect of an

intentional crime, d) he proves knowledge of the Czech language.