2019 World Justice Project award acceptance speech

Share

Human Rights Commissioner since 2015. PhD in law. Rafto Prize 2018 Laureate.

More

This distinction is an important recognition for all rule of law defenders in Poland - the Ombudsman is just one of them - said Dr Adam Bodnar in the Hague



30 April 2019

 

Adam Bodnar, Stanisław Trociuk

 

Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights

 

Ceremony – World Justice Project award

 

Dear Honourable Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

It is my great honor to receive the World Justice Project award.

 

I would like to thank the Award Committee for this honorable distinction.

 

I would like to dedicate this Award to Professor Karol Modzelewski, a great Polish hero, who passed away on Sunday in the age of 81.

 

Karol Modzelewski was a historian and dissident, imprisoned for 8 years for his political beliefs during Communist times.

 

He was always fighting for democratic Poland. But – he was not satisfied with changes after 1989. He claimed that Poland regained freedom, but it forgot about equality and brotherhood.

 

Poland over 25 years of democratic transformation has reached the stage when liberal democracy stopped to meet expectations of the whole society.

 

In his opinion vulnerable and neglected people started to regard democracy as a machinery which is hiding the conspiracy of elites. One of the reasons was not delivering justice to all of them.

 

Such distrust of a huge part of the Polish society (approximately 1/3) opened the way for populist narrative and attack on democratic and rule of law institutions in 2015.

 

This attack is still ongoing. The ruling party is trying to create – as Karol Modzelewski framed it – “police state” with different instruments allowing to stay in power and controlling citizens.

 

Currently the judicial independence is at stake.

 

As the Ombudsman I try to do everything what is possible in order to save rule of law in my country. I know that rule of law is not a zero-one game. Rule of Law Index by World Justice Project is a great tool to explain to the public opinion that the change is not happening overnight.

 

States may slide into authoritarian rule as a result of series of actions, which are not even noticeable by citizens on a daily basis. But after a few years you are waking up in a completely different country. That is the reason why you have to be cautious almost every day.

 

But you must also respond to needs of society, that rule of law guarantees should be of value for everybody. My office tries to show its importance to citizens by regular visits in different regions of Poland, by litigation of numerous cases, by submission of hundreds of interventions and recommendations.

 

I think that this distinction is an important recognition for all rule of law defenders in Poland – the Ombudsman is just one of them. I treat this award as the solidarity of whole global rule of law community not only with myself, but with all those who fight in Poland for freedom, human rights and rule of law: civil society, members of academia, judges, prosecutors, attorneys.

 

I do believe that thanks to intensive work and international solidarity we will be able to overcome the current serious crisis. If we succeed, our experience will be of great value for other countries and institutions facing similar attacks on judicial independence and constitutional order.

 

This recognition is not only for myself, but for the whole Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights. I am just the seventh Ombudsman. I am like a captain of a big ship.

 

When I will step down in September 2020, this 300-staff ship will continue its cruise with such a great people like my deputy – Mr. Stanislaw Trociuk, a navigator of this office. Mr. Trociuk started his career 30 years ago as an assistant to first Ombudsman – Professor Ewa Łętowska.

 

He was deputy ombudsman of four last ombudspersons. He is a great legal mind, with many successes achieved over years, including over 100 victories before the Polish Constitutional Court. For last four years we are like “brothers in arms” in our fight for rule of law in Poland.

Mr. Trociuk, the floor is yours.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen!

 

On behalf of the employees of the Ombudsman Office of Poland I would like to express sincere thanks for this honorable distinction.

 

The distinction is a sign that we do our job successfully, but it is also a sign that in Poland the rule of law and the protection of human rights are in crisis. It is only in crisis situations that the defenders of these values come to the fore. They are then perceived and arouse interest.

 

In our work we follow the principle developed by professor Ewa Łętowska, first Polish Ombudsman. She said that every Ombudsman who wants to do his job well, must first and foremost resist the authorities and as strong and loud as possible. Sometimes he loses, sometimes he wins – like in life.

 

However, the Ombudsman “understanding the situation” and liked by government would be a denial of his own sense. Happy persons do not turn to Ombudsman. Our work usually involves encountering human harm and attempting to repair it. Bringing help to others gives satisfaction. This satisfaction is doubled if, as today, our work is noticed and appreciated.

 

Once again, on behalf of the employees of the Ombudsman Office in Poland, thank you for granted award.

 

Source: rpo.gov.pl 



Author


Human Rights Commissioner since 2015. PhD in law. Rafto Prize 2018 Laureate.


More

Published

May 1, 2019

Tags

Supreme CourtDisciplinary Chamberdisciplinary proceedingsPolandrule of lawConstitutional Tribunaljudicial independenceZbigniew ZiobroEuropean CommissionCourt of Justice of the EUjudgesNational Council of the JudiciaryCourt of JusticeEuropean UnionAndrzej DudaIgor TuleyaMałgorzata Manowskadisciplinary systemMinister of JusticeCommissioner for Human RightsEuropean Court of Human RightsMateusz MorawieckiCJEUpresidential electionsjudiciaryAdam Bodnarpreliminary rulingsdemocracymuzzle lawHungaryJarosław Kaczyńskielections 2020Beata MorawiecFirst President of the Supreme CourtprosecutorsKamil Zaradkiewiczdisciplinary commissionerEuropean Arrest WarrantCOVID-19PresidentProsecutor GeneralConstitutionfreedom of expressioncriminal lawMarek SafjanOSCEWaldemar ŻurekPaweł JuszczyszynNational Public ProsecutorPiotr SchabPrzemysław Radzikcriminal proceedingsPrime MinisterJulia PrzyłębskaExtraordinary Control and Public Affairs Chambermedia freedomSupreme Administrative Courtconditionality mechanismconditionalityEU budgetCriminal ChamberLaw and JusticeprosecutionNCJNational ProsecutorelectionsWojciech HermelińskiStanisław PiotrowiczAndrzej ZollMałgorzata Gersdorfacting first president of the Supreme CourtAleksander StepkowskiOrdo IurisMay 10 2020 electionsmedia independenceAmsterdam District CourtKrzysztof ParchimowiczMaciej NawackiEAWmediaimmunityAnna DalkowskaCouncil of Europe2017freedom of assemblyFreedom HouseLech GarlickiStanisław BiernatArticle 7Venice CommissionWłodzimierz WróbelPM Mateusz MorawieckiAndrzej StępkaK 3/21P 7/20Ministry of JusticeC-791/19disciplinary liability for judgesNational Electoral CommissionGeneral Assembly of the Supreme Court JudgesPresident of PolandPresident of the Republic of PolandJarosław GowinLGBTLGBT ideology free zonesSejmBroda and Bojara v PolandMichał LasotaZuzanna Rudzińska-BluszczSylwia Gregorczyk-AbramdefamationTHEMISTVPLex Super OmniaAdam TomczyńskiBelgiumNetherlandsBogdan Święczkowskidemocratic backslidingViktor OrbanOLAFdecommunizationNext Generation EUvetopoliceJózef IwulskiLaw on the NCJJustice Defence Committee – KOSrecommendationTeresa Dębowska-RomanowskaKazimierz DziałochaMirosław GranatAdam JamrózStefan JaworskiBiruta Lewaszkiewicz-PetrykowskaWojciech ŁączkowskiEwa ŁętowskaHuman Rights CommissionerMarek MazurkiewiczCCBEAndrzej MączyńskiThe Council of Bars and Law Societies of EuropeJanusz NiemcewiczMałgorzata Pyziak- SzafnickaStanisław Rymarpublic opinion pollFerdynand RymarzAndrzej RzeplińskiSupreme Court PresidentJerzy StępieńPiotr TulejaSławomira Wronkowska-JaśkiewiczMirosław WyrzykowskireportBohdan ZdziennickiMarek ZubikDidier ReyndersEuropean ParliamentZiobroMichał LaskowskiMarek PietruszyńskiPiotr Gąciarekhuman rightscorruptionEuropean Association of Judges11 January March in WarsawCourt of Justice of the European UnionJustice FundAdam SynakiewiczcoronavirusPiSresolution of 23 January 2020Piotr PszczółkowskiJarosław WyrembakLeon KieresPKWinfringment actionEU valuesENCJlex NGOcivil societyRussiaIsraelforeign agents lawOrganization of Security and Co-operation in EuropeFirst President of the Suprme CourtLGBT free zonesequalityChamber of Extraordinary Verificationhate crimeshate speechcriminal codeGrzęda v PolandXero Flor w Polsce Sp. z o.o. v. PolandŻurek v PolandSobczyńska and Others v PolandReczkowicz and Others v. PolandRafał Trzaskowskimedia lawIustitiaKrystian MarkiewiczPrzemysła RadzikSenateMarcin WarchołElżbieta KarskaMarcin RomanowskiJacek CzaputowiczPrzemysław Czarneklegislative practiceENAZbigniew BoniekcourtsOmbudsmanKraśnikNorwayNorwegian fundsNorwegian Ministry of Foreign AffairsMichał WawrykiewiczFree CourtsC-487/19Article 6 ECHRArticle 10 ECHRRegional Court in AmsterdamOpenbaar MinisterieUrsula von der LeyenEwa WrzosekAK judgmentSimpson judgmentEU law primacyForum Współpracy Sędziówpublic broadcastermutual trustLMIrelandIrena MajcherAmsterdamthe Regional Court in WarsawUnited Nationsjudcial independenceLeszek MazurMaciej Miterapopulisminterim measuresautocratizationMultiannual Financial Frameworkabortion rulingequal treatmentabortionprotestsfundamental rightsthe NetherlandsDenmarkSwedenFinlandMariusz KrasońCT PresidentGermanyCelmerC354/20 PPUC412/20 PPUAusl 301 AR 104/19Karlsruheact on misdemeanoursCivil Service ActParliamentary Assembly of the Council of EuropeEUWhite Paperlustrationtransitional justice2018Nations in TransitCouncil of the EUmedia taxStanisław Zabłockiadvertising taxmediabezwyboruJacek KurskiKESMAIndex.huTelex.huJelenJózsef SzájerKlubrádióSLAPPLIBE CommitteeStrategic Lawsuits Against Public ParticipationFrans TimmermansGazeta WyborczaOKO.pressUS Department of StatePollitykaBrussels IRome IISwieczkowskiArticle 2Forum shoppingadvocate generalDariusz ZawistowskitransparencyEuropean Economic and Social Committeepress releaseSebastian KaletaRights and Values ProgrammeC-156/21C-157/21C-619/18Marek Piertuszyńskidefamatory statementsWorld Justice Project awardNational Prosecutor’s Officeintimidation of dissentersWojciech SadurskiBogdan ŚwiączkowskiDisicplinary ChamberjudgeTribunal of StatetransferPechOlsztyn courtKochenovPrzemysła CzarnekEvgeni TanchevEducation MinisterFreedom in the WorldKrystyna PawłowiczECJIpsosFrackowiakOlimpia Barańska-Małuszeretirement ageMariusz MuszyńskiAmnesty InternationalHudocŁukasz PiebiakRegional Court in KrakówPiebiak gateKonrad SzymańskiPiotr Bogdanowicztrans-Atlantic valuesPiotr BurasLSOauthoritarian equilibriumlawyersArticle 258Act of 20 December 2019clientelismoligarchic systemRecovery FundEuropean Public Prosecutor's Officerepressive actPolish National FoundationLux VeritatisKoen LenaertsMałgorzata BednarekPiotr WawrzykPaweł FilipekMaciej TaborowskiharrassmentMarian BanaśAlina CzubieniakSupreme Audit OfficeTVNjournalistslexTVNGerard BirgfellerBelarusEwa MaciejewskaPolish mediastate of emergencypostal votepostal vote bill