„The National Council of the Judiciary is under attack in different ways“

Is the independence of the judiciary in Poland in danger?

I think it is. And it is not just about some media and politicians attacking and insulting judges, but about the law which is treated in a way that insults all rules of correct legislation. The most dangerous is questioning of the judgments of the Constitutional Court. This is an unprecedented situation, when the government refuses the promulgation of judgments of the Court, although it has a statutory obligation to do so. The independence of the prosecutor’s office has been completely obliterated as well, because now its actions completely depend on the will of one man, a politician, the Minister of Justice Zbigniew Ziobro, who can intervene in any criminal case. The refusal of the President Andrzej Duda to appoint ten judges of common courts without one word of justification, also causes great concern. The president also did not receive the oath from three properly selected judges of the Constitutional Court. We haven’t been in such a situation since the overthrow of communism in 1989.

The case of the Polish Constitutional Court is well reported in Europe. But what about the body you represent: the National Council of the Judiciary, the constitutional organ to safeguard the independence of courts and judges in general – do you see your constitutional role questioned, too?

The National Council of the Judiciary is under attack in different ways. In May, we have received a draft bill that would abruptly end the duration of the term of office of all current Council’s members who are judges. Interestingly, this law does not apply to the politicians who sit in the Council, the composition of which is mixed. Now, the term of office of members of the National Council of the Judiciary is directly specified in the Constitution, so to change it by means of an ordinary law is a flagrant violation of the constitution ...

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