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CoE takes Poland's judiciary and rule of law under scrutiny

TVN24 | TVN24 News in English

Autor:
gf
Źródło:
TVN24 News in English, PAP, Council of Europe
Vera Jourova says EU executive wants to open "new chapter" with Poland
Vera Jourova says EU executive wants to open "new chapter" with Poland

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) decided in a vote on Tuesday to open a monitoring procedure for Poland to assess its democratic institutions and condition of the the rule of law. Authors of the adopted resolution argue that recent reforms "severely damage the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law".

The resolution was adopted with 140 votes for, 37 against, and 1 abstention. It was based on a report by Azadeh Rojhan Gustafsson (Sweden, SOC) and Pieter Omtzigt (Netherlands, EPP/CD). According to PACE, Polish judiciary reforms "cumulatively undermine and severely damage the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law". The Assembly recommended revisiting the changes and adjusting them so they meet CoE's requirements.

PACE claims that Polish justice system becomes "vulnerable to political interference and attempts to bring it under the political control of the executive, which challenges the very principles of a democratic state governed by the rule of law".

The parliamentarians also called upon President Andrzej Duda not to sign the judiciary reform bill adopted by the parliament (lower house disregarded upper house calls to reject the bill). According to PACE, the planned changes "further deteriorate the independence of the judiciary and respect for the rule of law in Poland".

They urged President Duda not to sign the amendments adopted by the Sejm on 23 January 2020, which they said “further deteriorate the independence of the judiciary and respect for the rule of law in Poland”. Furthermore, they urged the authorities to "fully respect the judgment of the Polish Supreme Court of 23 January 2020".

The Assembly also referred to the dispute over Poland's Constitutional Tribunal: "No democratic government that respects the rule of law can selectively ignore court decisions it does not like, especially those of the Constitutional Court. The full and unconditional implementation of all Constitutional Court decisions by the authorities, including with regard to the composition of the Constitutional Court itself, should be the cornerstone of the resolution of the crisis."

"Untrue information"

The Council of Europe, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, European Parliament - they all repeat the same untrue information, unfortunately very often spread by our colleagues from the opposition, who also work in these institutions" - said the Polish government spokesman Piotr Müller on Wednesday, in an interview for state-run Polish Radio.

"It's sad to be watching this, as I know these assessments aren't objective, and if same assessments were made in other EU states, it would suddenly turn out there's no democracy in the whole EU" - he added.

In his opinion, delegates to the Parliamentary Assembly "are not giving a reliable assessment, but rather act in line with what they hear in the corridors of the building they are voting in".

Müller stressed that, in Poland, all prerogatives of the lower house, Supreme Court and Constitutional Tribunal were respected in accordance with the constitution. "Even though recently the Supreme Court tries to undermine prerogatives of the former (Constitutional Court), or that of the president who appoints judges. This should be a problem and a subject of discussion for PACE" - the spokesman said.

Źródło: TVN24 News in English, PAP, Council of Europe

Autor:gf

Źródło zdjęcia głównego: Council of Europe

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