New Czech Police draft act allows taking DNA samples by force

By EDRi · June 7, 2006

The Czech Senate, upper chamber of the Parliament, approved on 25 May 2006
the amendment of the Criminal Proceedings Code and Police Act, which
empowers police officers to take DNA samples and other identification
samples as fingerprints.

According to the draft police can take the DNA samples even by using force
in case of resistance. Currently, a person may refuse to provide the saliva
sample, which could result only in aprocedural fine of maximum 2800 Eur.

The new amendment foresees that the DNA samples can be taken from people
suspected, charged, accused, sentenced or in execution of protective
measures. The amendment also contains provisions authorizing massive DNA
sampling from all people that are imprisoned for wilful crimes. This
purposed measure will concern approximately 12 000 people.

Due to the necessary financial resources for processing the DNA samples into
DNA profile, there is going to be a substantial delay in this activity. It
means in fact, that the police will hold complete DNA’s of thousands of
detainees for an unknown period. There is a standard that requires the
destruction of the original sample, after the DNA has been processed into
the profile.

EDRi-member Iuridicum Remedium elaborated a paper with an overview of the
risks of the new law. The draft paper was disseminated and distributed to
the lawmakers. However, the bill was passed surprisingly easyly in both
Parliament chambers, after an intensive lobby of the Police Forensic
Institute, the institution that manages the National DNA Database.
Despite highlighting the human rights risks of the amendment, the bill was
supported by 43 of the 49 present senators. Only some senators expressed
their doubts about broadening police powers without appropriate safeguards
for the rights of the concerned persons.

The bill is waiting to be signed by the President of the Republic. In case
he does not sign it, the law will not enter into force, because the lower
chamber does not have the opportunity to take a vote on it, since it is
dissolved due to elections.

Legislative process of the amendment to the Police Act (in Czech only)
http://www.psp.cz/sqw/historie.sqw?o=4&T=1024

Comments from Iuridicum Remedium on the draft act (in Czech only, 15.05.2006)
http://www.iure.org/570359

Police will be able to forcibly take DNA sample from detained persons (in Czech
only, 25.05 2006)
http://www.ceskenoviny.cz/vyhledavani/index_view.php?id=190180

(Contribution by Helena Svatosov√° – EDRI-member Iuridicum Remedium – Czech
Republic)