The head of the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) has stated that the ruling party will complete its “reform” of the justice system, overcoming what he calls “the last barrier”. Kaczyński invokes the Polish constitution, which provides mechanisms for the reorganization of the courts. In practice, this will mean a vetting of all judges in the country and the removal of those who fail to toe the line.
Krzysztof Parchimowicz, head of the Lex Super Omnia association of prosecutors, is the target of over a dozen different disciplinary proceedings. This is being done to exert a chilling effect on prosecutors who are critical of changes in the justice system that are being rammed through by the governing majority in Poland.
Judge Anna Bator-Ciesielska was the first justice in Poland to adjudicate with a judge whose name arose in conjunction with a smear campaign against independent judges. Bator-Ciesielska is already being prosecuted by the disciplinary spokesman, but in an interview with Mariusz Jałoszewski of OKO.press she says that judges must have a conscience, and that she is not afraid because judges cannot be afraid.
Prosecutor Piotr Wójtowicz from Legnica will not be formally disciplined for his appearance at a protest in defence of the Supreme Court. On Tuesday, the disciplinary court for prosecutors rejected the appeal of National Prosecutor Bogdan Święczkowski, who was seeking to punish Wójtowicz.
Prosecutors from Kraków are being summoned for questioning by the disciplinary spokesman to explain their participation in the Congress of Regional Public Prosecutors held on 15 May. At the meeting, a resolution was passed in which the prosecutors emphasized their independence and mentioned pressure “from above”.
Depoliticization of the National Council of the Judiciary, depriving the Minister of Justice of oversight with respect to courts and the prosecutorial service, speeding up cases in commercial and administrative courts, lowering court fees for citizens and elimination of the Supreme Court’s Disciplinary Chamber. These are the most important proposed changes in the law presented at the 2nd Congress of Polish Lawyers.
A judge from Łódź wrote critical remarks on the internet about the president of a court nominated by Zbigniew Ziobro, staff shortages in courts, and the promotion by the National Council of the Judiciary of judges “from their side”. Disciplinary spokesman Przemysław Radzik decided that the justice crossed a line by discussing this publicly and has brought disciplinary charges against him.
The head of the national public prosecutor’s office, Bogdan Święczkowski, is seeking to punish prosecutor Piotr Wójtowicz (pictured below) for his presence at a demonstration protesting attacks on the independence of the Supreme Court and National Council of the Judiciary (KRS). Święczkowski is demanding punishment for “political” activity, despite the fact that he himself ran as a candidate of Law and Justice (PiS) in recent elections. The verdict in this case will set a major precedent and will show whether all prosecutors are equal under the law.
Through a reorganization of existing courts and the establishment of new ones, the Ministry of Justice will achieve total control over the entirety of the justice system. The reorganization will put all judges under a microscope and facilitate a far-ranging purge of the courts. There may not be enough places for independent-minded judges in the “new” courts, or perhaps they will be exiled someplace far away from their present posts.