The constitutional crisis in Poland 2015-2016 – report by Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights

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Details of the course of events and the stages of the Constitutional Tribunal capture crisis, supported by contemporaneous press releases, opinions, expert analyses, quoted statements of politicians. Report also includes reactions of Polish and supranational bodies and institutions. In conclusion, the crisis is assessed as violating the principles of the separation of powers and the rule of law.



  • Since 2015, Poland has been going through a constitutional crisis related to the functioning of the Constitutional Tribunal. The crisis poses a serious threat to the rule of law, democracy and human rights protection;
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  • The crisis main aspects are the elections of new judges of the Constitutional Tribunal and legislation amending aimed at paralysing the Tribunal’s work;
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  • In the report, HFHR documented in detail the course of events and the most important stages of the crisis until September 2016, supported by contemporaneous press releases, opinions, expert analyses, quoted statements of politicians delivered in the course of parliamentary debates, reactions of Polish and supranational bodies and institutions;
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  • HFHR concludes that executive and legislative branches of government have tried to change the entire system of the state without changing the Constitution. This creates a severe risk of violating the principles of the separation of powers and the rule of law and constitutes a serious threat to the functioning of a democratic state based on the rule of law.
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Full report can be found here: The constitutional crisis in Poland 2015-2016, published in September 2016



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September 15, 2016

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