Tag Archives: Poland

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/

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

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Poland/EU: Poland has not addressed key concerns over court independence: EU’s Timmermans

June 13, 2018

Poland has not addressed the key concerns of the European Commission over the independence of courts, the First Vice President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans said on Wednesday, adding he would travel to Warsaw for talks next week.

Image result for Frans Timmermans

Speaking in the European Parliament, Timmermans said amendments introduced by the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party to its reforms of the judiciary were not enough and the reforms still posed a risk of undermining the democratic division of powers, a core European value.

“I regret to inform you that overall and in spite of all of these legislative changes, key concerns which the Commission identified in the recent proposal, remain unaddressed,” Timmermans told parliament.

Timmermans said Polish authorities needed to urgently address the risk of irreparable damage to its Supreme Court, in which some 40 percent of judges could be forced into retirement on July 3 under the reform, and be replaced by nominees of a body now also dominated by the ruling PiS.

“The risk of creating irreparable damage fully remains. On July 3, 27 out of 72 Supreme Court judges will face the risk of being forced to retire,” Timmermans said.

“The forced retirement of these Supreme Court judges would constitute an irreversible violation of the rule of law. The Commission is at present examining this issue,” he said.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-poland-rule-of-law/poland-has-not-addressed-key-concerns-over-court-independence-eus-timmermans-idUSKBN1J91TJ

http://uk.businessinsider.com/r-political-control-of-courts-in-poland-violates-eu-treaties-eus-timmermans-2018-6

https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/timmermans-on-poland-changes-are-not-sufficient/

https://www.politico.eu/article/poland-rule-of-law-will-face-disciplinary-hearing-on-with-eu/

http://www.thenews.pl/1/10/Artykul/368216,Poland-will-defend-contested-court-reforms-FM

https://sundiatapost.com/2018/06/13/eu-appeals-to-poland-on-rule-of-law-as-time-runs-out-for-judges/

https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/973745/eu-news-poland-referendum-european-union-Andrzej-Duda-constitution

https://euobserver.com/political/142077

https://www.theparliamentmagazine.eu/articles/news/poland-could-be-referred-ecj-over-controversial-judicial-reforms

https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2018-06-14/eu-parliament-urges-commission-to-act-against-poland

https://emerging-europe.com/in-brief/former-polish-presidents-ask-eu-to-help-defend-rule-of-law/

https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2018/06/16/how-jaroslaw-kaczynskis-filial-duty-dark-obsession-and-grief-have-shaped-a-decreasingly-democratic-poland.html

http://www.liberation.fr/planete/2018/06/17/reforme-de-la-justice-l-ue-menace-la-pologne-tenace_1659875 (FRANCAIS)

#RuleofLaw

Poland: Poland’s Top Judge Rings Alarm as Populist Makeover Takes Hold

June 7, 2018

As Italy’s new government prepares to challenge the European Union, Poland has a timely lesson for how quickly a particular brand of politics can change a country.

 

Poland is so far the biggest example of how the sort of populism pioneered by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has inspired anti-establishment firebrands across Europe. With the new Italian cabinet’s euroskeptic rhetoric and budget-busting spending plans spooking financial markets, the concern is those tendencies are spreading and will undermine the world’s biggest trading bloc.

 

Two-and-a-half years after winning power and setting out to drain the Polish swamp, the Law & Justice party has propelled a deep transformation of the nation’s 29-year democracy. The head of the country’s Supreme Court says that a “terrifying” new system is emerging, where a single party makes all the rules and puts pressure on independent judges.

 

“Poland is on a path to authoritarian rule and judges are being bullied,” Malgorzata Gersdorf, the chief justice, said in an interview last month. “What can still be salvaged from Poland’s democracy? I don’t know. Maybe the Supreme Court can be safe for some time.”

Unprecedented Conflict

The Supreme Court and Gersdorf herself are at the heart of Poland’s unprecedented conflict with the EU over what the 28-nation bloc’s executive says is an erosion of the rule of law. The government says its efforts to overhaul the judiciary are meant to modernize a justice system weighed down by red tape and the influence of what it calls a self-serving “caste” of communist-era judges.

 

The standoff has turned the country of 38 million people from a poster-child for eastern Europe’s transition to democracy and market economy to one of the EU’s biggest headaches, while raising the prospect of political sanctions and risking billions of euros in aid.

https://www.bloombergquint.com/politics/2018/06/06/top-polish-judge-raises-alarm-over-populist-court-revamp

https://www.politico.eu/article/poland-article-7-test-for-eu-on-rule-of-law/

https://vaaju.com/poland/the-un-criticizes-the-reform-of-the-polish-judiciary-report-details/

https://www.liberties.eu/en/short-news/21912/21912

http://www.dw.com/en/poland-ex-president-lech-walesa-leads-fight-against-judicial-reform/a-44162285

Poland: The Irish Times view on Poland’s authoritarian drift: a big question for the judiciary

June 1, 2018

Ms Justice Aileen Donnelly of the High Court has asked the European Court of Justice to determine whether changes to the judicial system in Poland have undermined its ability to give a Polish national a fair trial. Photograph: Alan Betson

Artur Celmer will not be in the court today. He’s still in an Irish jail awaiting the deliberations of the Luxembourg-based Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) over the Polish warrant for his extradition. The hearing, expedited because of Celmer’s incarceration, will also be closely watched all over Europe. On the court’s view of a question referred to it by Ms Justice Aileen Donnelly of the High Court hangs the future of all extraditions to Poland from the EU.

And, just as importantly, the court could deliver a damning judicial assessment of the state of the rule of law in Poland and the “reforms” of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party.

That would provide important political ammunition for the European Commisssion’s action against Poland under Article 7 of the EU treaty which accuses Warsaw of “systematic” undermining of the rule of law and judicial independence. That lengthy procedure could ultimately see Poland stripped of its voting rights in the union.

 

The changes to the role of the minister for justice in Poland have given the holder of that office “too many powers for one person” and have weakened the independence of the judiciary, the Commission has said. Ms Justice Donnelly has understandably asked the CJEU to determine whether such changes have undermined both Poland’s ability to give Celmer a fair trial and the mutual trust between member states in each other’s judicial systems that is the basis for the near-automatic transfer of accused under the European Arrest Warrant system.

https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/editorial/the-irish-times-view-on-poland-s-authoritarian-drift-a-big-question-for-the-judiciary-1.3515407

https://euobserver.com/political/141956

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-courts/court-disease-in-poland-hungary-could-spread-judicial-body-chief-idUSKCN1IW2KK

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

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-06-06/top-polish-judge-raises-alarm-over-populist-court-revamp

https://euobserver.com/tickers/142008

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

https://www.euractiv.fr/section/justice-affaires-interieures/news/eu-rule-of-law-generally-good-but-clouds-on-the-horizon/ (FRANCAIS)

Poland: AP Interview: Poland against EU linking funds to rule of law

April 30, 2018

Jacek Czaputowicz

Poland says it will oppose a European Union proposal to cut funding to countries where the rule of law is deemed under threat, calling it unfair political pressure that would hurt Poland while letting other countries off the hook for different problems.

Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz spoke to The Associated Press two days before the European Commission announces tough new rules for the bloc’s 2021-2027 budget. Last week, Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova said the plan would include a “rule of law mechanism” that would link funding to observing democratic principles.

“We see this as an intention to exert pressure on some states, as political pressure before talks,” Czaputowicz said. “For this reason, we have a very negative opinion about these ideas.”

Poland, a nation of some 38 million, is the largest recipient of EU funds. Its economy has boomed for years, partly thanks to the infusion of billions of euros from Brussels that have helped upgrade Polish infrastructure and develop its poorest regions. According to the World Bank, Poland’s economy is on pace to grow 4.2 percent this year.

http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/ap-interview-poland-eu-linking-funds-rule-law-54824112

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

https://www.ft.com/content/d7e25900-408f-11e8-93cf-67ac3a6482fd

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-poland/eu-looks-to-resolve-very-soon-row-with-poland-over-rule-of-law-idUSKBN1HI2VF

https://www.politico.eu/article/eu-calls-for-concrete-measures-from-poland-in-judiciary-dispute-frans-timmermans-jacek-czaputowicz/

https://euobserver.com/justice/141733

http://www.euronews.com/2018/05/04/poland-plans-new-concessions-to-eu-over-contested-court-reforms

https://www.europeaninterest.eu/article/poland-amend-controversial-judicial-reform/

https://www.politico.eu/article/frans-timmermans-poland-rule-of-law-article-7-make-progress-on-rule-of-law-or-we-up-the-ante/

https://www.ft.com/content/49c44a30-5790-11e8-bdb7-f6677d2e1ce8

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/europe/allies-poland-and-hungary-reject-eu-budget-cuts-and-migration-1.3495070

https://www.ft.com/content/8583b916-6014-11e8-9334-2218e7146b04

https://www.amnesty.fr/presse/union-europenne-les-changements-superficiels-propo (FRANCAIS)

http://www.lemonde.fr/europe/article/2018/04/16/pologne-les-parlementaires-ne-modifient-qu-a-la-marge-la-reforme-controversee-de-la-justice_5286273_3214.html (FRANCAIS)

https://www.capital.fr/economie-politique/budget-de-lue-coups-de-rabot-en-vue-apres-le-brexit-1285847 (FRANCAIS)

https://www.zonebourse.com/actualite-bourse/L-opposition-polonaise-manifeste-a-Varsovie-pour-la-liberte–26574439/ (FRANCAIS)

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A letter addressed to the Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers successfully raised awareness about the Polish Parliament’s worrying reforms of the justice system.

Read more about this issue in the 2017 Annual Review: https://tinyurl.com/y7rhftx4

(International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute Facebook 2/5/18)

Law Society of Ontario: Law Society expresses grave concerns regarding human rights violations against members of legal prof(1)

December 21, 2017

The Law Society of Ontario

The Law Society of Upper Canada expresses grave concerns regarding human rights violations against members of the legal profession across the globe.

Lawyers should be able to exercise their legitimate duties without fear for their lives, for their liberty or for their security. The Law Society of Upper Canada urges all governments to comply with international human rights laws, including the United Nations’ Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers.

The Law Society’s Human Rights Monitoring Group recently issued public statements regarding the following lawyers:

The Human Rights Monitoring Group is a group of benchers of the Law Society of Upper Canada appointed by the Law Society’s governing body to monitor human rights violations that target members of the legal profession and the judiciary as a result of the discharge of their legitimate professional duties.

The Law Society regulates lawyers and paralegals in Ontario in the public interest. The Law Society has a duty to protect the public interest, to maintain and advance the cause of justice and the rule of law, to facilitate access to justice for the people of Ontario and act in a timely, open and efficient manner. 

http://www.lsuc.on.ca/newsarchives.aspx?id=2147485737&cid=2147504363

http://www.jurist.org/paperchase/2018/02/maldives-government-declares-state-of-emergency-after-refusing-to-enforce-supreme-court-order.php

http://www.lsuc.on.ca/newsarchives.aspx?id=2147485737&cid=2147504363&langtype=1036 (FRANCAIS)

Poland/EU: Joint statement of the current situation in Poland on behalf of UCPI, IAPL, IDHAE and Dutch League for Human Rights

December 22, 2017

PolandUCPIetc22.12.17logo

L’Unione delle Camere Penali Italiane, con l’Institut des Droits de l’Homme des Avocats Européens, l’International Association of People’s Lawyers e la Liga vor de Rechten van
de Mens esprime la propria preoccupazione per l’attacco allo Stato di diritto in atto in Polonia.

In tal senso accoglie con favore l’avvio da parte della Commissione europea della complessa procedura di cui all’art. 7 del Trattato sull’Unione europea.

Quello della Commissione è solo il primo passo di un lungo iter che dovrà coinvolgere tutte le istituzioni dell’Unione; si tratta, però, di una presa di posizioni senza precedenti che testimonia la forte attenzione verso il rispetto dei valori dello Stato di diritto.

The Union of Italian Criminal Chambers, with the Institut des Droits de l’Homme des Avocats Européens, the International Association of People’s Lawyers and the Dutch League for Human Rights express their concern over the attack on the rule of law in Poland.

In this sense, it welcomes the launch by the European Commission of the complex procedure referred to as article  7 of the Treaty of the European Union.

This action by the Commission is only the first step in a long process that must involve all the institutions of the Union; however, it is a question of taking unprecedented positions that bears witness to the strong focus on respect for the values ​​of the rule of law.

L’Unione delle Camere Penali Italiane, conjointement avec l’Institut des droits de l’homme des avocats européens, l’Association internationale des avocats du peuple et la Ligue néerlandaise pour les droits de l’homme exprime leur profonde préoccupation  face à l’atteinte à l’état de droit en Pologne.
En ce sens, il se félicite du lancement par la Commission européenne de la procédure complexe visée à l’art. 7 du Traité sur l’Union européenne.
L’action de la Commission n’est que la première étape d’un long processus qui doit impliquer toutes les institutions de l’Union; Cependant, il s’agit d’adopter des mesures sans précédent qui témoignent du fort accent mis sur le respect des valeurs de la primauté du droit.

http://www.camerepenali.it/public/file/Comunicati/C-216—Comunicato-congiunto_situazione-Polonia.pdf (ITALIANO/ENGLISH/FRANCAIS)

http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=22564&LangID=E

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-poland-un/u-n-judicial-rights-expert-decries-polands-political-legal-reforms-idUSKBN1EG1GS

https://www.politico.eu/article/frans-timmermans-brussels-puts-warsaw-on-path-to-sanctions-over-rule-of-law/

http://www.dw.com/en/hungary-will-block-punitive-eu-action-on-poland/a-41903647

http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-17-5367_en.htm

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-42464007

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/26/polish-judges-urged-fight-independence-supreme-court

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ma%C5%82gorzata_Gersdorf

http://www.camerepenali.it/cat/8956/polonia_ed_unione_europea_cos%C3%AC_vicine,_cos%C3%AC_lontane.html (ITALIANO)

http://www.huffingtonpost.it/2017/12/20/strappo-storico-fra-ue-e-polonia-attivato-per-la-prima-volta-larticolo-7-dei-trattati_a_23312966/ (ITALIANO)

https://www.rtbf.be/info/monde/detail_etat-de-droit-en-pologne-la-presidente-de-la-cour-supreme-denonce-un-coup-de-force-des-conservateurs?id=9796473 (FRANCAIS)

http://www.lefigaro.fr/vox/monde/2017/12/21/31002-20171221ARTFIG00266-l-injustice-faite-a-la-pologne-un-deni-de-democratie.php (FRANCAIS)

http://www.lemonde.fr/europe/article/2017/12/21/en-pologne-la-justice-s-exerce-sous-controle-politique_5232859_3214.html (FRANCAIS)

https://www.swissinfo.ch/fre/le-parti-au-pouvoir-en-pologne-accus%C3%A9-de-mener–un-coup-de-force-/43776778 (FRANCAIS)

https://www.rtbf.be/info/monde/detail_etat-de-droit-en-pologne-la-presidente-de-la-cour-supreme-denonce-un-coup-de-force-des-conservateurs?id=9796473 (FRANCAIS)

http://www.radiomaryja.pl/informacje/malgorzata-gersdorf-odpowiada-podpisanie-ustaw-ws-reformy-sadownictwa-prezydenta-rp/ (POLSKI)

http://wiadomosci.onet.pl/kraj/malgorzata-gersdorf-dla-burzycieli-panstwa-prawnego-nie-ma-zadnego-usprawiedliwienia/5pb3fc3 (POLSKI)

https://www.elespanol.com/mundo/europa/20171222/polonia-oveja-negra-union-europea/271223686_0.html (ESPANOL)

http://www.mediafax.ro/externe/presedintele-curtii-supreme-din-polonia-acuza-guvernul-de-la-varsovia-ca-pune-la-cale-o-lovitura-de-stat-16896261 (ROMANESC)

https://www.realitatea.net/haos-in-polonia-efa-cur-ii-supreme-denun-a-o-lovitura-de-for-a_2129081.html (ROMANESC)

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