On Saturday, at the European Solidarity Center in Gdańsk, a gala was held on the occasion of the 31st anniversary of the Association of Polish Judges “Iustitia”. The president of the association, judge Krystian Markiewicz, said that it “will never leave people whose rights are violated”. – As long as there are independent judges in Poland, they will defend civil rights and freedoms – he said.
The event was attended, among others, by representatives of the legal community, former president Lech Wałęsa, president of Gdańsk Aleksandra Dulkiewicz, former president of the Supreme Court Małgorzata Gersdorf, deputy spokesman for civil rights dr Hanna Machińska, president of the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity Jerzy Owsiak. The president of the association, judge Krystian Markiewicz noted that for 31 years “Iustitia” has been “the head of an independent, judicial family, which associates over 30 percent of judges in Poland”.
– Iustitia is constantly concerned about what is happening around her. Politicians managed the National Council of the Judiciary, the Constitutional Tribunal, the positions of disciplinary commissioners and, to a large extent, the Supreme Court – said Markiewicz.
Markiewicz: “Lady Justice” will never leave people whose rights are violated
He added that the association has never entered into a relationship with any political authority. He recalled that it is the duty of judges to fight for the rule of law.
– “Lady Justice” will never leave people whose rights are being violated. We are not indifferent to what is happening in Turkey, Belarus or Afghanistan. (…) We have an important, social mission to fulfill, which is why “Iustitia” educates. Hundreds of meetings with children, youth and adults are behind us. Freedom and justice is for everyone, not for the elect, and where these values are at risk, “Iustitia” uses and will use her sword – emphasized the judge.
He also listed a number of actions, initiatives and undertakings organized by the association. – We pay a huge price for our actions. We are harassed by disciplinary, criminal and immunity proceedings. On behalf of thousands of Polish judges and protesting citizens all over Poland, I would like to make it clear that “Lady Justice” does not accept any compromises in the matter of the rule of law, he stressed.
Markiewicz assessed that the freedom of people in Poland is being gradually limited. – After LGBT-free zones, there may be zones free from Muslims, Jews, vegetarians, and maybe also from judges. Journalists-free zones have already appeared. We will not allow it. As long as there are independent judges in Poland, they will defend civil rights and freedoms. This is our duty. We are not alone in this fight. We know that free people will remember about free courts, free elections, free Poland – he added.
Strzembosz: Currently, admitting to the profession of judge is an honor
The former first president of the Supreme Court, professor Adam Strzembosz, also addressed the judges assembled at the European Solidarity Center.
– I am proud to be able to speak to you colleagues. Currently, admitting to the profession of judge is an honor because of your attitude, decisions and judgments. Your attitude is not only appreciated by a valuable, thinking part of society, but it is appreciated all over Europe. (…) You are stigmatized by various people, but you are right. There is truth on your side. You implement the principles of the rule of law. It will bear fruit – said professor Strzembosz on the recording broadcast during the gala.
Wałęsa: we are in between the ages today
Former president Lech Wałęsa also made a speech.
– Today we are in between ages. One is over and the age of intellect, information, and globalization is on the horizon. This epoch demands from us solutions that we must find. We have to consider what foundation the new world should be based on, which the economic system requires. It is also necessary to think how to deal with populism and frauds of politicians – said the former president.
Addressing the judges, Wałęsa also spoke about the need to amend the constitution. As he noted, its provisions should be clear and precise.
– You are the elite, think a little further, move away from the old and ineffective solutions. The constitution as it is, it is – it must be respected and defended, but it does not fit our future. A new constitution must be prepared. You see what the world is like today, you see combinations, deceptions. You have to be smarter and you cannot allow for different interpretations of the regulations – he added.
The gala was accompanied by the announcement of the winners of the “Iustiti” Prize in the following categories: citizen, lawyer, journalist. The awards are given to people who “distinguished themselves by promoting the principles of the rule of law among citizens and defending the rule of law in Poland and in the world”.
Hanna Waśko was the winner in the “citizen-defender of the rule of law” category. Yavuz Aydin, former Turkish judge, was honored in the “lawyer” category. In the last category, Mariusz Jałoszewski, journalist of the ok.press portal, was awarded.
Main photo source: PAP / Piotr Wittman