Disciplinary Chamber lifts judge Morawiec's immunity

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TVN24 News in English, PAP
A rally in Kraków in support of judge Beata MorawiecTVN24
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TVN24A rally in Kraków in support of judge Beata Morawiec

The Disciplinary Chamber of Poland's Supreme Court on Monday lifted the immunity of judge Beata Morawiec from Kraków. The decision came upon a request by the prosecutor who intends to press corruption charges against the judge. The ruling is not yet legally binding and has been criticised by many members of Poland's judiciary, as well as the Commissioner for Human Rights Adam Bodnar.

The Supreme Court also decided to suspend judge Morawiec in her official duties and to reduce her salary by 50 percent.

The prosecutor's office wants to charge the judge with illegal appropriation of public funds, acting to the detriment of public interest for personal gains, overstepping authority and accepting financial gains. The charges carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

Judge Morawiec strenuously denies these allegations. "I've nothing to reproach myself for, and I think these attacks are part of the political game" - she told PAP in September.

Significant part of Polish and international judicial community, including judges, have declared support for judge Morawiec.

In April, the Court of Justice of the European Union, ordered Poland to immediately suspend the operations of the Disciplinary Chamber aimed at disciplining judges.

Risk of irreparable violation

The prosecutor's actions taken against the judge have been criticised, among other people, by the Commissioner for Human Rights Adam Bodnar.

"I think that under current circumstances judge Beata Morawiec should file a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights, together with a request to introduce interim measures (Rule 39)" - Bodnar wrote on Facebook. The ombudsman added that "although so far the ECHR has not been taking interim measures in cases involving judges, maybe it's high time to change this practice".

"It should be proven that the ruling issued by the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court poses a risk of serious and irreparable violation of one the main rights guaranteed by the Convention" - the ombudsman wrote.

According to Bodnar, "if the Tribunal in Strasbourg aims to seriously face the rule of law challenges (including its own judicial pratice), then it should do so in this particular case".

Autor:gf

Źródło: TVN24 News in English, PAP

Źródło zdjęcia głównego: PAP/Łukasz Gągulski