Call upon the Polish President to veto the acts jeopardizing the independence of justice system in Poland
“Yet again we appeal to you Mr. President to protect the Polish Constitution and the rule of law which it guarantees. We call upon you, Mr. President, to veto two acts changing the functioning of the National Council of the Judiciary in Poland and the Supreme Court” – reads the statements of the civil society organizations.
The independence of justice system in Poland jeopardized
The signatories of the letter noted that the draft acts presented by the President once again pose a threat to the separation and independence of the justice system, and as a result to citizens’ right to justice.
The Act on the National Council of the Judiciary enables the Sejm to control the composition of an institution which is supposed to protect courts and judges from politicians. Moreover, the new Act on the Supreme Court allows for an arbitrary removal from office of some judges of the Supreme Court and creates an illusion of justice by introducing a new legal remedy in the form of an extraordinary appeal.
Lack of public consultations
In the letter the organizations pointed out that, contrary to President’s declarations, the draft laws were not subject to wide public consultations. As a result, citizens’ right to an independent court has become a subject of a political accord whose shape was not agreed upon in cooperation with Polish citizens.
Threat of triggering the Article 7(1) procedure of the TUE
The signatories of the letter warns that in July 2017 the European Commission asked the Polish authorities notably not to take any measures to dismiss Supreme Court judges or force their retirement. If such measures were taken, the Commission stood ready to immediately trigger the Article 7(1) procedure of the Treaty on European Union.
„[…] We appeal to you, Mr. President, not to disregard the heritage of the Polish fight for freedom and basic rights. At the moment, the fate of the right to a fair trial by an independent court for everybody within the jurisdiction of the Republic of Poland depends on you” – reads the letter.
The NGOs letter is available here.
Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has published a brief on the new threats to the rule of law related to the reform of the judiciary in Poland. The brief is available here.