Updates: 04.01.2022 00:10
Brno – The Constitutional Court will announce today how it ruled on the complaint of the Czech Grand Priory of the Sovereign Order of the Knights of Malta in a dispute over the determination of land ownership near Krnov in the Bruntál region. The essence of the dispute is whether the lands passed to the state effectively on the basis of Beneš’s post-war decrees or only after the onset of communist totalitarianism. This is crucial for their eventual release in church restitutions.
According to the information available, the litigation concerns two plots of permanent grassland and one plot of arable land. In 2004 and 2007, the land was acquired from the state by a private owner.
At the instigation of the Maltese Order, the District Court in Bruntál determined that the owner was the Czech Republic, thus giving the knights room to claim restitution on their historical property. The Regional Court in Ostrava upheld the decision, but the Supreme Court then intervened. He repeatedly stated that the order lost land before February 1948 on the basis of Beneš’s post-war decrees, and not after the communist takeover, so the order has no right to extradition and the land may remain private.
In a constitutional complaint, the Knights of Malta claim that the confiscation under the decrees of the President of the Republic did not take place effectively and that the lands were in fact transferred to the state only later under the law revising the first land reform.
The Knights of Malta are among the oldest Catholic orders. They have traditionally focused on operating hospitals. Now they are also dedicated to helping the elderly, the disabled and people in need. Historically, they owned a number of lands, estates or entire villages and towns in Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia. At present, according to its website, the order in the Czech Republic takes care of 600 hectares of forests in Silesia and southwestern Bohemia.
Source: České noviny – hlavní události by www.ceskenoviny.cz.
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