Zaradkiewicz: Supreme Court will soon be worthy of the trust of the citizens in Poland
New acting first president of the Supreme Court judge Kamil Zaradkiewicz asks the Supreme Court’s judges to refrain from public activity, in particular in the media
Authors: Mateusz Mikowski and Marcin Jabłoński, Polish Press Agency (PAP)
What follows is a translation of the Polish Press Agency’s article including statements of the acting First President of the Supreme Court Kamil Zaradkiewicz.
“In this difficult time, I have assumed the honourable function of leading the Supreme Court, and I declare that it is operating in accordance with the standards of independence and reliability, and with due attention to the highest standards of the functioning of the judiciary,” judge Kamil Zaradkiewicz said.
In a statement sent to the Polish Press Agency on Friday 1 May, judge Zaradkiewicz also assessed that we are witnessing a breakthrough in the functioning of justice which Polish society expects. He added that “soon the Supreme Court will be worthy of a positive assessment”.
On Thursday 30 April, the six-year term of office of the Supreme Court’s President Małgorzata Gersdorf expired. Pursuant to the entitlement arising from the Act on the Supreme Court, President Andrzej Duda entrusted the performance of the duties of the 1st President of the Supreme Court to Judge Kamil Zaradkiewicz on 1 May until the appointment of a new First President of the Supreme Court. During the next seven days, Zaradkiewicz should convene an assembly of the Supreme Court judges to select candidates for the new First President of this court.
In his statement to PAP, Judge Zaradkiewicz noted that due to the coronavirus epidemic, the implementation of this obligation “must take into account the provision of necessary precautions that will allow the judges to participate safely in the General Assembly and guarantee the safety of the Supreme Court’s employees.”
Zaradkiewicz emphasised that he would try to ensure that “the Supreme Court returns to fulfilling its obligations of jurisprudence while respecting the principles of the independence of courts and judges, the supremacy of the Polish Constitution and the rule of law.”
He noted that “the distortion of the essence of these basic values in recent years has unfortunately had a significant impact on consolidating the negative image of the judiciary, including the Supreme Court, in public opinion.”
He appealed to the judges to “refrain from taking any actions, including public statements, that could weaken confidence in the independent judiciary, and even more so, could testify to the judge’s political motivation or lack of objectivity.” “I am asking the Supreme Court’s judges to refrain from public activity, in particular in the media, which could deepen divisions and consolidate the negative image of the judiciary,” Zaradkiewicz’s statement reads.
Judge Zaradkiewicz also appealed for the principles of independence and independence to be respected, and for abandoning what he sees as the undermining of the status of judges, something which is contrary to the Polish constitution. “I expect people to refrain from calling for specific decisions, or other attempts to interfere in the sphere of judicial independence, including those in an institutionalised form,” Zaradkiewicz stressed.
The judge emphasised that a real challenge for the judiciary was to account for those responsible for perpetuating the system of Communist lawlessness, stating that “in the common opinion the judiciary has failed to meet this challenge.” “I also hope that the time has come, several decades after the Republic of Poland regained its sovereignty, when the judiciary will free itself from the shameful heritage of legal crimes and the immensity of the injustices that have so far not been resolved,” Judge Zaradkiewicz emphasised in his statement.
In his opinion, “this will not be possible without judges who respect the principles of apoliticality and independence.” “Those who are unable to meet the above standards while performing their duties, and who are guided by their often undisguised political motivation, something typical of the period of the totalitarian Communist regime, should leave the judiciary,” he stressed.
Judge Zaradkiewicz also expressed the hope that “by introducing and consolidating the standards of independence and impartiality necessary for the proper functioning of the judiciary (…) the Supreme Court, as a constitutional public authority, will soon be worthy of the positive assessment and the trust of the citizens.”
Translated by Jim Todd