‘President Julia’ will be blamed. Is that why she was allowed to remain in office?
When it comes to the reckoning – and the first act of reckoning will be the CJEU judgment on the legality of the Tribunal – it will turn out that it is only (with the accent on ‘only’) ‘President Julia’ who is responsible for the whole of the demolition of the rule of law. The others were ‘only implementing the judgments of the Constitutional Tribunal’.
The Polish government has refused in writing to comply with the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights. We are following in the footsteps of Putin’s Russia. The next step is to give notice of termination of the European Convention on Human Rights. Thirty years after the ratification of the Convention (in 1993), we are returning to the times of the People’s Republic of Poland.
A communiqué appeared on the website of the European Court of Human Rights
The Polish government has informed the Court’s Secretariat that ‘the interim measure specified by the European Court of Human Rights (…) will not be respected’.
The ECtHR ordered the Polish authorities to reinstate three judges, Ewa Leszczyńska-Furtak, Ewa Gregajtys and Marzena Piekarska-Drążek, in the criminal division of the Court of Appeal in Warsaw in December last year.
They all complained that they had been transferred to the labour division without their consent and to the detriment of the administration of justice. This was harassment for applying the judgments of the CJEU and ECtHR and for refusing to adjudicate with neo-judges.
The government refused to enforce this interim measure of the ECtHR, citing a statement from the President of the Court of Appeal in Warsaw, Piotr Schab.
President Schab (and the disciplinary commissioner for judges in one person) stated that he was not bound by the ECtHR rulings because the (once) Constitutional Tribunal had ruled that they were in conflict with the Polish Constitution. Therefore, the government concludes that ‘since the ruling of the Constitutional Tribunal is binding on the President of the Court of Appeal in Warsaw, the fulfilment of the order regarding interim measures would constitute a breach of Polish law’.
This is a closed loop: the government is refusing to enforce the judgments of the CJEU and the ECtHR, while the European Commission announces that it is taking action against Poland before the CJEU for the judgments of Przyłębska’s Tribunal ‘invalidating’ the judgments of the CJEU.
And, in addition, stand-ins are ruling in the Polish Tribunal, while Julia Przyłębska is managing it, having been appointed in breach of the Polish laws. The same person who – if the President sends a motion to review the Act allegedly implementing a rule of law ‘milestone’ – will decide when the Tribunal adjudicates on the provisions on which the disbursement of money for the National Recovery and Resilience Plan is supposed to depend.
The Polish Constitutional Tribunal and Julia Przyłębska are in the middle of this vicious rule of law circle
When it comes to the reckoning – and the first act of reckoning will be the CJEU judgment on the legality of the Tribunal – it will turn out that it is only (with the accent on ‘only’) ‘President Julia’ who is responsible for the whole of the demolition of the rule of law.
Well, after all, what is the Polish government, the Polish parliament, the president of a Polish court and the disciplinary commissioner to do when they have rulings of the Constitutional Tribunal preventing them from listening to international courts and confirming, for example, that the takeover of the National Council of the Judiciary by politicians was constitutional?
Przyłębska locuta, causa finita. And what are these poor teddy bears to do? If it were to come to being put up before the Tribunal of State, they will say: we were only implementing the decisions of the Polish Tribunal, which is the only one that can rule on the constitutionality of the law. Prime Minister Morawiecki and other state officials headed by the President are already emphasizing this.
It’s not a matter of feeling sorry for Chairperson Julia: she’s an adult, who is well paid, no harm will come to her.
If she is put up before the Tribunal of State, the most that will happen will be that she will lose her judicial pension and will receive a pension on normal terms.
But the whole story is a bitter summary of the past seven years, during which the state institutions – as the lawyers say – have had their functions hollowed out and privatized, or rather become subordinated to the party. As have been state assets – too. After years in which the judiciary has been in ruins, which Prime Minister Morawiecki himself admitted without noticing that this ruin has arisen with his permission, because, after all, he is the one who chooses the ministers and is responsible for the state of the country.
And – apart from the Przyłębska Tribunal – no one is guilty, because this Tribunal, within the framework of its services to the authorities, is releasing the authorities from the obligation to act in accordance with the Constitution and the international conventions adopted by Poland.
We have a state of legalized lawlessness, and we are closer to the People’s Republic of Poland today than we were in 1990, when we were joining the Council of Europe.
What we as a society once considered ennoblement and an honour, Poland is rejecting today as enslavement and an attack on sovereignty through its authorities.
Our sovereignty today is the right to lawlessness.
Translated by Roman Wojtasz
Published in Polish in OKO.press on the 17t of February, 2023.