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The Sofa Usa-Czechia agreement signed, a few elements

(B2) Robert Gates, American Secretary of State for Defense, and Vlasta Parkanova, his Czech counterpart, have just signed the SOFA agreement (on the status of US troops in the Czech Republic) in London on September 19. A text which makes it possible to definitively seal the agreement between the two countries for the installation of the American radar, part of the anti-missile device (remains to have the approval of the Czech parliament).

This text took a lot of time, back and forth, to finalize. Several questions gave rise to particular difficulties. Would American military or civilian personnel have an exemption from jurisdiction? And would they pay taxes? We can say that – like the Poles – the Czechs defended their position quite harshly in relation to American claims. Here are the main terms of the agreement.

Applicable right. The radar base itself does not benefit from extraterritoriality and remains considered Czech territory.

Jurisdiction. All American personnel at the radar base will be subject to Czech jurisdiction. With one exception: in the event of a misdemeanor or crime, committed while on duty, by Americans or in the event of a crime against an American or an attack on the security of US property, the US jurisdiction will have jurisdiction. The Czechs will, however, be able to “ask” the Americans to renounce this “priority”.

Taxation. Concerning the tax exemption, essentially VAT, that the Americans requested, it should only concern companies and personnel who pay identical taxes in the United States. All other suppliers will be subject to Czech (and Community) taxation.

Markets. In terms of public procurement, it is stipulated that the Americans must, as much as possible, use the services of Czech suppliers if they are competitive with their American competitors.

Two provisions which seem to me “limit limete” with the community provisions in force (read here a the first

Regarding the basis,

operational command. The United States will have exclusive command and control of missile defense operations (Article 10 main agreement).

Security inside the base will be guaranteed by US troops, outside by the Czechs (article 14 main agreement).

Installations. The United States will cover the costs of construction, maintenance and operation of the radar site. Czechs will be responsible for other costs. For access, roads, equipment, communications and other infrastructure that are necessary for the operation of the site but are used by both parties, Czech and United States, the cost will be shared in two. All assets built on this base by US forces will become Czech property following the agreement. (article 11 main agreement)

…Other details to come


Main agreement USA – Czech Republic, download here – Sofa agreement (to come)
Main agreement USA – Poland, download here  and the statement

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

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