Free Courts, Free People – report by Amnesty International

Awareness of the changes in the Polish judicial system implemented by the ruling party, Law and Justice, is growing both domestically and internationally.

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President Andrzej Duda’s attack on Polish constitutional court

On 3 July, the President of Poland Andrzej Duda visited Lwówek Śląski and gave a speech in which he criticized the activity of the Constitutional Tribunal, whose ruling from 2014 recognized the conformity of a gradual increase in the retirement age with the Polish Constitution.

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This judge may blow up the new disciplinary regime. The ECJ may help

For the second time in recent months, in June 2019 the Supreme Court referred preliminary questions to the European Court of Justice regarding disciplinary proceedings against judges. The most recent case involves judge Frąckowiak of the Poznań regional court.

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A Polish judge describes her experiences of harassment

Dorota Zabłudowska, a judge at the Gdańsk District Court, has penned an article for Euronews describing how her efforts in defence of an independent judiciary and the rule of law have led to harassment by officials of the ruling Law and Justice party.

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Helsinki Foundation releases report detailing how Polish judges are impacted by judicial system changes

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has released its report titled “The Time of Trial”, based on interviews with judges in Poland who explain how changes by the Law and Justice-led government have impacted them in their work.

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The Obsession with Timmermans. “Anti-Polish”, “a tremendous saboteur”, “the European gendarme “

Poland, arm in arm with Hungary, the Czech Republic and Italy, countries ruled by populists, blocked Frans Timmermans’s candidacy for head of the European Commission for the simple reason that, as the former Commissioner for the Rule of Law, he did his job. Over the last three years, the narrative of the Law and Justice party has portrayed him as a dark figure oppressing Poles in the name of “left-wing ideology” and his own career.

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Slovakian president appeals for observance of rule of law in Visegrad Group and queries Poland’s president on changes to justice system

During an official visit to Budapest and Warsaw, Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová reminded the Central European leaders that the rule of law was one of the fundamental values of the Visegrad Group. She called for an end to the violation of the rule of law, which weakens the position of the eastern Member States in the EU. She also asked Poland’s president asked about the status of the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court.

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European Commission presents proposals for strengthening rule of law – Poland’s government reacts

The European Commission has initiated the second stage of proceedings concerning the new disciplinary system for judges in Poland. On the same day, the Commission announced a new packet of measures for the rule of law. The Commission wants to prevent and respond more effectively to infringements of Treaty values in Member States and plans to support NGOs in promoting a rule of law culture. The Polish government is taking a dim view of most of the proposed solutions.

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Freedom House “Freedom in the World” 2019 report ranks independence of the judiciary in Poland

An annual report by the NGO Freedom House summarizes key developments surrounding the independence of the judiciary in 2018. Poland scored 1 out of 4 on this measure.

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Forced transfer as harassment and “disciplinary measure”

The forced transfer of acclaimed prosecutor Mariusz Krasoń from the Regional Prosecutor’s Office in Cracow to a lower-ranked office in Wroclaw has generated controversy among prosecutors and other legal professionals in Poland. The decision was issued after the prosecutor Krasoń participated in the drafting of a document highlighting defects in the current system earlier this year. A number of organizations and individuals, including the Polish Commissioner for Human Rights, have expressed their support for prosecutor Krasoń and criticized the decision of the National Prosecutor, Bogdan Święczkowski.

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