Tag Archives: European Union

Poland/EU: Polish judges set to be suspended from European network

August 17, 2018

Warsaw has repeatedly clashed with Brussels over changes to its judicial system.

An organization representing Europe’s judiciaries has moved to suspend the Polish Council for the Judiciary (KRS) on the basis it lacks independence from the executive in Warsaw.

The board of the European Network of Councils of the Judiciary (ENCJ) put forward the proposal to suspend its Polish member, to be voted on at a meeting September 17.

“The Board considers that the KRS is no longer the guardian of the independence of the judiciary in Poland,” the ENCJ wrote in a detailed opinion. “It seems instead to be an instrument of the executive.”

The ENCJ represents judiciaries from across the EU, and it acts as an advisory body to EU institutions. Its Polish member, the KRS, is the body responsible for selecting Poland’s judges.

Chairman of the KRS Leszek Mazur told Polish news site Onet: “We consider these actions as unauthorized and unjust.” Stating that a decision to exclude Polish judges “would be extremely regrettable,” Mazur said, “Let us hope that we will be able to appeal against such a decision.”

In January, a new law came into effect in Poland under which judicial members of the KRS are no longer selected by their peers but rather by the parliament. KRS members originally vehemently opposed the new law, but following the change its chairman issued a letter to the ENCJ defending the shift in how it functions.

But the international body deemed the legal changes are problematic.

https://www.politico.eu/article/polish-judges-set-to-be-suspended-from-european-network-rule-of-law-poland/

https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1004626/EU-news-Poland-supreme-court-reform-European-Network-of-Councils-for-the-Judiciary

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-poland/eu-judicial-body-to-suspend-poland-for-flouting-freedom-of-courts-idUSKBN1L11YD

https://www.urdupoint.com/en/world/eu-judiciary-network-may-suspend-poland-over-412703.html

https://www.encj.eu/index.php/node/492

http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-18-4987_en.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judiciary_of_Poland

http://www.bruxelles2.eu/2018/08/18/lappel-au-secours-de-la-presidente-de-la-cour-supreme-de-pologne/ (FRANCAIS)

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Iran: EU concerned over detention of human rights lawyer in Iran

August 15, 2018

Nasrin Sotoudeh faces charges such as espionage as Tehran continues to stifle dissent

Iranian lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh

The European Union has expressed serious concerns about the continuing detention of Nasrin Sotoudeh, the prominent Iranian human rights lawyer who is serving a five-year jail sentence.

Sotoudeh was arrested in June amid a crackdown on defence lawyers representing cases deemed sensitive to the country’s national security.

“The EU is seriously concerned about the arrest of the prominent Iranian lawyer and 2012 laureate of the European parliament’s Sakharov Prize, Ms Nasrin Sotoudeh,” an EU spokesperson told the Guardian on Wednesday.

Sotoudeh’s arrest comes amid an exceptionally tense atmosphere in Iran, where authorities are stifling dissent as they scramble to contain weeks of street protests over economic grievances, environmental issues and a lack of political and social freedoms.

“We have contacted the Iranian authorities on the matter to seek more information about her situation,” said the spokesperson. “We will continue following the issue closely. The EU attaches high importance to the human rights situation in Iran and has been raising concerns in the context of the High Level Dialogue, in bilateral meetings and in the UN framework.”

Sotoudeh, 55, is facing a torrent of charges, including espionage, after arguing a string of cases involving women arrested for defying hijab rules by taking off their headscarves in public and waving them on a stick.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/aug/15/eu-concerned-over-detention-of-rights-lawyer-in-iran

https://www.rferl.org/a/jailed-iranian-rights-lawyer-sotoudeh-charged-espionage/29435599.html

https://en.radiofarda.com/a/iran-rights-advocate-sotoudeh-sentence-unlawful/29435470.html

https://www.kuna.net.kw/ArticleDetails.aspx?id=2741551&language=en

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2018/08/15/Iran-rights-advocate-spy-sentence-unlawful-Defense-team-.html

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/alarm-at-crackdown-on-lawyers-in-iran/5067268.article

https://www.iranfocus.com/en/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=32973:iran-rights-advocate-s-sentencing-in-absentia-is-unlawful-according-to-defense-team&catid=5:human-rights&Itemid=110

https://www.en-hrana.org/two-new-cases-opened-against-nasrin-sotoudeh

https://www.iranhumanrights.org/2018/08/nasrin-sotoudehs-lawyer-they-came-after-her-from-three-directions/

https://www.en-hrana.org/women-prisoners-of-conscience-write-letter-of-condolence-to-human-rights-lawyer

https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/08/17/iran-rights-defender-faces-new-charges

https://www.gopetition.com/petitions/immediate-release-of-human-rights-lawyer-nasrin-sotoudeh.html (SIGN THE URGENT PETITION!)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nasrin_Sotoudeh

https://persian.iranhumanrights.org/1397/05/nasrin-sotouded-five-years-sentence-husband-response/ (FARSI)

https://www.radiofarda.com/a/29433695.html (FARSI)

https://www.dw.com/fa-ir/iran/a-45087342 (FARSI)

http://fa.euronews.com/2018/08/16/eu-concerns-over-jailed-iran-human-rights-lawyer-nasrin-sotoudeh (FARSI)

http://www.rfi.fr/moyen-orient/20180816-iran-avocats-celebre-militante-nasrin-sotoudeh-denoncent-detention-mehdi-zaker (FRANCAIS)

https://www.lorientlejour.com/article/1130133/iran-les-avocats-dune-militante-condamnee-pour-espionnage-fustigent-un-verdict-illegal.html (FRANCAIS)

https://advokatwatch.dk/Advokatnyt/Internationalt/article10807116.ece (DANISH)

https://www.amnesty.no/aksjon/advokat-fengslet-etter-hijab-protester (NORWEGIAN)

Poland: Polish Supreme Court turns to ECJ for help

August 2, 2018

Poland’s Supreme Court on Thursday suspended the application of a law forcing the early retirement of older judges and turned to the European Court of Justice to rule on whether recent changes to the court’s functioning violate EU rules.

The move pulls the EU’s top court into the midst of an ongoing constitutional battle in Poland, where the ruling Law and Justice party has been accused of revamping the judicial system to bring it under tighter political control. The party says the steps are needed to cleanse the justice system of corruption and ties to the old communist regime.

One of the measures passed last month imposes a retirement age of 65 on Supreme Court justices, suspending about 40 percent of its judges including its president, Małgorzata Gersdorf.

Judges wanting to stay on past that age are supposed to ask permission from President Andrzej Duda, something most have refused to do, saying it weakens the independence of the judiciary.

Gersdorf has also refused to comply, arguing the measure violates the Polish constitution, which gives her a six-year term ending in 2020.

https://www.politico.eu/article/polish-supreme-court-turns-to-ecj-for-help-older-judges-retirement-eu-rule/

http://r.email3.wikafi.be/3f3wg93pnwjf.html

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-08-02/polish-supreme-court-suspends-judge-retirements-until-eu-ruling

https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/top-polish-court-halts-disputed-judge-retirements-pending-ecj-ruling/

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jul/26/poland-protests-thousands-cry-shame-against-judicial-reforms

http://www.france24.com/en/20180727-thousands-protest-poland-president-duda-signs-disputed-judicial-reforms

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-07-27/poland-s-takeover-of-its-courts-gets-a-weak-response-from-eu

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-poland-judiciary/eu-top-court-spells-out-independence-requirements-for-polish-judiciary-idUSKBN1KF1BB

https://euobserver.com/tickers/142463

https://www.icj.org/poland-icj-sitting-and-former-judges-call-for-immediate-reinstatement-of-supreme-court-justices/

https://www.icj.org/poland-icj-calls-for-immediate-reinstatement-of-forcibly-retired-supreme-court-justices/

http://www.euronews.com/2018/07/21/judicial-reforms-met-with-protests-in-warsaw

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-44909253

https://edition.cnn.com/2018/07/20/europe/poland-supreme-court-reform-bill-intl/index.html

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-poland/former-or-not-polish-judge-enters-supreme-court-at-heart-of-dispute-idUSKBN1K80T9

http://www.toledoblade.com/Editorials/2018/07/18/Poland-on-the-brink.html

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-poland/poland-risks-peoples-trust-with-court-dispute-rights-organization-idUSKBN1K32NX

https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/poland-pis-supreme-court-by-slawomir-sierakowski-2018-07

https://www.wsj.com/articles/poland-steps-up-supreme-court-purge-1531508976

http://news.trust.org//item/20180713182123-0koo8/

https://www.europeaninterest.eu/article/global-jurists-group-critical-polish-reforms/

https://www.ft.com/content/8d459466-85db-11e8-96dd-fa565ec55929

https://www.irishlegal.com/article/european-bars-and-law-societies-urge-end-to-purge-of-polish-judiciary

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-poland-lawyers/body-of-jurists-urges-poland-to-restore-court-independence-idUSKBN1K11Y3

https://www.europeaninterest.eu/article/global-jurists-group-critical-polish-reforms/

https://www.rte.ie/news/courts/2018/0706/976781-judiciary-poland/

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-poland/eu-judicial-body-backs-polish-supreme-court-head-in-dispute-with-government-idUSKBN1JW2BQ

https://therealnews.com/stories/polish-government-purges-judiciary-to-ensure-free-reign

https://wtop.com/holidays/2018/07/polands-judicial-purge-another-step-toward-authoritarian-democracy/

https://cyprus-mail.com/2018/07/08/the-independence-of-the-judiciary-must-be-sacrosanct/

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/07/polish-pm-defends-controversial-judiciary-reform-180704133722660.html

http://thenews.pl/1/10/Artykul/371527,EU-ministers-to-again-probe-Poland-over-rule-of-law

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-poland/polish-president-to-meet-with-supreme-court-head-before-reforms-kick-in-idUSKBN1JT13T

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-44679964

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jul/02/polands-supreme-court-constitutional-crisis-comes-to-a-head

https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/verge-autocracy-poles-protest-supreme-court-law-180701184717089.html

https://www.ft.com/content/220e88ec-7b86-11e8-8e67-1e1a0846c475

http://saudigazette.com.sa/article/538317/World/Europe/Poland-standoff-deepens-as-president-disputes-top-judges-tenure

http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/poland_supreme_court_retirement

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-44695235

Poland: Polish government grilled by EU foreign ministers over judicial reforms

June 28, 2018

EU affairs ministers pressed the Polish government on Tuesday for several hours over its controversial judicial reforms. The hearing, a first in the history of the European Union, was constructive, in the words of European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans.

In December, the European Commission opened for the first time an Article 7 procedure against Poland, in response to the judicial reform led by the Conservative government, which the EU executive fears will threaten the rule of law and make the judiciary susceptible to political influences. In theory, the full application of article 7 could lead to the suspension of Poland’s voting rights in the Council; however, Hungary’s right-wing leader Viktor Orban, has said the he will veto any such measures.

Tuesday’s hearing is the first part of the procedure, which may result in a suspension of Polish voting rights in the various councils of the European Union. After a presentation by the Polish executive that Mr Timmermans described as “detailed”, each Member State had the opportunity to ask two questions during a “constructive” and “unprejudiced” interview, added the Vice-President of the Commission.

That does not mean, however, that the European Commission now believes that threats to the rule of law are unfounded, Mr Timmermans warned.

https://eu-ocs.com/polish-government-grilled-by-eu-foreign-ministers-over-judicial-reforms/

https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/981432/eu-poland-warsaw-justice-system-judicial-reforms-judge-law

https://emerging-europe.com/in-brief/eu-continues-to-pressure-poland-of-legal-system-reform/

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-poland-court/eu-to-open-case-against-poland-over-supreme-court-law-idUSKBN1JO2OF

https://www.humanrightsfirst.org/press-release/new-report-documents-polands-escalating-assault-rule-law

https://www.dw.com/en/european-court-of-justice-ecj-sends-polish-extradition-case-back-to-ireland/a-44439428

http://www.krakowpost.com/19261/2018/06/polish-government-softens-death-camps-speech-law

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judiciary_of_Poland

Poland: Reforms a serious blow to judicial independence, says UN rights expert

June 25, 2018

Image result for office of high commissioner for human rights

A UN human rights expert has criticised Poland’s efforts to reform the judiciary, saying the Government is planning a clear-out of senior judges to be replaced by magistrates recommended by a council of mostly political appointees of the current ruling majority.

“I am very worried about the far-reaching adverse effects that the reform of the judiciary is having – and will have – on the independence of Polish courts and tribunals,” said Diego García-Sayán, the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, told the Human Rights Council.

“I appreciate the willingness of the Polish Government to listen to the concerns that I – along with several other international and regional institutions – have raised in relation to its judicial reform. Nevertheless, the amendments introduced by the governing majority are of a cosmetic nature, at best, and absolutely insufficient to address the serious concerns I expressed in my report,” added Diego García-Sayán, who visited Poland from 23 to 27 October 2017.

“Approximately 40 percent of Supreme Court judges, including the court’s president, could be forced to retire after 3 July 2018, before the end of their legal terms. This constitutes a serious blow to the principle of judicial independence, and a flagrant breach of the principle of irremovability of judges.”

The judges who leave the bench as a result of the lowering of the retirement age will be replaced by new judges appointed by the President of the Republic upon recommendation of the newly constituted National Council of the Judiciary, which will be largely dominated by the political appointees of the current ruling majority.

https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=23258&LangID=E

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2018/06/polands-protesters-will-not-be-silenced/

https://www.icj.org/hrc38-srijl/

http://www.euronews.com/2018/06/25/poland-s-protesters-will-not-be-silenced-view

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO1806/S00138/poland-reforms-a-serious-blow-to-judicial-independence.htm

https://www.ft.com/content/ace048cc-78f0-11e8-bc55-50daf11b720d

https://www.coe.int/en/web/greco/home/newsroom/-/asset_publisher/yxhkEPo3SNnS/content/poland-council-of-europe-anti-corruption-group-criticises-weakening-independence-of-courts-and-judges?_101_INSTANCE_yxhkEPo3SNnS_viewMode=view/

http://www.brusselstimes.com/eu-affairs/11719/council-meeting-without-decison-on-the-rule-of-law-in-poland

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jun/26/eu-hearing-puts-poland-in-dock-over-judicial-changes

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-poland/eu-in-last-ditch-appeal-to-poland-to-respect-basic-eu-values-on-courts-idUSKBN1JM0YT

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-poland/eu-in-last-ditch-appeal-to-poland-to-respect-basic-eu-values-on-courts-idUSKBN1JM0YT?il=0

https://www.independent.ie/world-news/no-headway-in-eu-hearing-on-polands-justice-policies-37053749.html

https://euobserver.com/political/142198

https://www.tol.org/client/article/27810-poland-protest-government-laws-pis.html

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-poland/eu-piles-pressure-on-poland-over-courts-independence-idUSKBN1JM0YT

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judiciary_of_Poland

https://www.amnesty.be/infos/nos-blogs/blog-paroles-de-chercheurs-de-defenseurs-et-de-victimes/pologne-manifestation (FRANCAIS)

“Step by step, institution by institution:” Poland’s ruling party is trying to take control of the judiciary and endangers the rule of law and EU values.

(Human Rights Watch Facebook, 26/6/18)

Thailand/EU: Rights lawyer Sirikan June Charoensiri faces court again

June 19, 2018

Image may contain: 8 people, people smiling, people standing and outdoor

On 19 June, representatives from the EU Delegation to Thailand and Embassies of Sweden, the Netherlands, France and the US observed an indictment hearing of the case of Ms. Sirikan Charoensiri, a human rights lawyer. The purpose of the hearing was to establish whether she would be charged with concealing evidence and refusing to comply with an order, after she refused to allow the authorities to conduct a warrantless search of her car, which contained her clients’ information and consequently should be protected by the lawyer-client privilege.

 

(European Union in Thailand Facebook, 19/6/18)

https://www.marieclaire.com/politics/a19664067/woman-of-courage-award-june-charoensiri-thailand/

https://www.bangkokpost.com/news/general/1434487/rights-lawyer-sirikan-wins-us-award

https://clarionproject.org/meet-2018-international-womenofcourage/

https://www.amnesty.org.uk/press-releases/theresa-may-mustnt-mince-words-over-thailands-human-rights-record-during-pm-visit

http://www.advocatenvooradvocaten.nl/13355/video-sirikan-june-charoensiri-received-l4l-award-one-year-ago/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sirikan_Charoensiri

https://prachatai.com/journal/2018/06/77501 (THAI/ENGLISH)

http://www.rfi.fr/asie-pacifique/20180622-thailande-france-prayut-chan-o-cha-premier-ministre-junte-pouvoir (FRANCAIS)

Poland/EU: ‘They’re trying to break me’: Polish judges face state-led intimidation

June 19, 2018

Judges say ruling party is tightening its grip through threats and hate campaigns

A protest against changes to the Polish justice system in July 2017

Three high-profile Polish judges have complained of a “state-led campaign of intimidation and harassment” against them, as Poland’s ruling party tightens its grip on the judiciary.

Since taking power in 2015 the Law and Justice party (PiS) has assumed direct oversight of state prosecutors and the judicial body that appoints, promotes and disciplines judges, as well as the power to dismiss and appoint court presidents, who wield considerable power and influence in the Polish justice system.

A disputed law on the supreme court, forcing the retirement of 40% of its judges, is due to take effect on 3 July.

Judges involved in politically sensitive cases or who have expressed opposition to threats to judicial independence have told the Guardian they are frequently threatened with disciplinary proceedings and even criminal charges, and in many cases are subjected to allegations of corruption and hate campaigns orchestrated by leading PiS politicians.

“I became an enemy of the state,” said Waldemar Żurek, a district court judge in the southern city of Kraków, who served as spokesman for the National Council of the Judiciary (KRS), the body that appoints and disciplines Polish judges, until it was taken over by government appointees this year.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jun/19/theyre-trying-to-break-me-polish-judges-face-state-led-intimidation

http://thecourier.com/national-news/2018/06/18/no-progress-reported-in-poland-eu-standoff-over-courts/

https://www.neweurope.eu/article/eus-timmermans-in-poland-to-calm-spat-over-justice-and-rule-of-law/

https://www.politico.eu/article/frans-timmermans-eu-commission-leaves-poland-warsaw-with-no-breakthrough-on-rule-of-law/

https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/poland-faces-turbulent-months-at-home-and-in-eu/

http://fr.euronews.com/2018/06/18/la-commission-europeenne-espere-poursuivre-le-dialogue-avec-varsovie (FRANCAIS)

https://www.lemonde.fr/europe/article/2018/06/19/etat-de-droit-en-pologne-bruxelles-dans-l-impasse_5317694_3214.html (FRANCAIS)

#Ruleoflaw