The Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court will deal with the case of Judge Józef Iwulski’s immunity on 21 January
‘The Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court has set the date for examining the case of immunity of a judge of that court, the President of the Labour and Social Insurance Chamber, Józef Iwulski, on 21 January next year,’ Piotr Falkowski, that Chamber’s press officer, informed the Polish Press Agency PAP.
by Sonia Otfinowska
The article was posted in Polish on PAP website.
The Divisional Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation in Kraków requested the Supreme Court’s consent to hold Judge Iwulski liable on criminal charges.
The prosecutors intend to charge Iwulski with the illegal conviction of a 21-year-old worker for distributing leaflets attacking the communist authorities.
‘This is the third Supreme Court judge whose immunity case is in the Disciplinary Chamber, albeit the first judge who is still active,’ Falkowski emphasised earlier in an interview with PAP.
The remaining cases apply to retired judges Stanislaw K. and Jan R., whose immunity has been lifted in non-final decisions for the time being. Both cases apply, among other things, to judgments against oppositionists under martial law.
According to the findings of the investigators of the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN), in 1982, Iwulski was a member of the Warsaw Region Military Court, which sentenced a worker from Oświęcim, Leszek W., to three years’ imprisonment for distributing ‘anti-state’ leaflets presenting the contours of Poland surrounded by barbed wire.
‘He found Leszek W. guilty of publicly deriding the People’s Republic of Poland and, by distributing leaflets, he was inciting riots and strikes. The court convicted him, even though, even under the provisions of the Penal Code and the Martial Law Decree that were applicable at that time, the suspect’s actions did not constitute a crime,’ emphasised the Chief Commission, adding that this conclusion was also confirmed by the Supreme Court.
In May 1992, after considering an extraordinary review, the Supreme Court acquitted the oppositionist. According to the Supreme Court, the content of the leaflets being distributed by the accused was an expression of his legitimate views and it is impossible to see how it mocks the state, while inciting a strike did not satisfy the signs of a crime, because participation in a strike was purely a misdemeanour under the law of that time.
In turn, according to the prosecutors of the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN), the evidence gathered shows that ‘the unlawful sentencing of Leszek W. to a severe punishment only had a deterrent objective and was part of the repressive policy of the authorities of the Polish People’s Republic with respect to the democratic opposition activists’. ‘The sentence was therefore an act of national lawlessness, while the judges who issued it cannot enjoy the protection afforded for a judge’s action under his statutory rights and duties’ summarised the Central Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation.
The investigation conducted by the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) into the illegal imprisonment of democratic opposition activists by the Warsaw Region Military Court was extended to other former judges of that court.
Translated by Roman Wojtasz