Justice Minister Adam Bodnar argues that he does not intend to withdraw from the decision regarding the national prosecutor because – as he says – he is right. In his opinion, Dariusz Barski was incorrectly reinstated, so he simply could not become a national prosecutor. The problem is that Barski still considers himself one and has a chorus of PiS politicians behind him. A former MP from this party, who is now a judge at the Constitutional Tribunal, also came to the rescue.
First, President Andrzej Duda appealed to the Minister of Justice. – Mr. Bodnar should step back from the path of lawlessness he has entered and stop these pathetic actions – said the president. Andrzej Duda did not have to wait long for the response from the head of the Ministry of Justice. – I absolutely do not intend to withdraw, because I believe that I am absolutely right – assured Adam Bodnar.
This is a case of the national prosecutor. At the end of their rule, when there was a risk of losing power, PiS and Sovereign Poland limited the competences of the Minister of Justice and Prosecutor General in favor of one of his deputies – the national prosecutor, Dariusz Barski. Additionally, after the changes, the president’s consent is required to revoke it. The opposition at that time said that PiS wanted to extend its rule and that when the Minister of Justice, i.e. the prosecutor general, changes, PiS still wants to have its national prosecutor.
Dariusz Barski is a long-time collaborator of Zbigniew Ziobro. After a month in office, the Ministry of Justice under Bodnar announced that there were errors in the procedure for appointing Barski to this position. – By mistake, or probably not on purpose, someone made an incorrect file on his reinstatement to active service a year ago, so it had to be invalidated – says Arkadiusz Mrycha, deputy minister of justice and MP of the Civic Coalition.
The Minister of Justice refers to the opinions of three lawyers who claim that Barski was incorrectly reinstated from retirement, so he simply could not become a national prosecutor. Professor Jan Zimmermann from the Jagiellonian University, the supervisor of Andrzej Duda’s doctoral thesis, has the same opinion on this matter.
Divided opinions of lawyers
When the president says that Barski could not be dismissed without his consent, the government responds that Barski was not dismissed – but in fact he was never legally appointed. Therefore, it was concluded that he could no longer perform his duties and an acting national prosecutor was appointed.
– I would like it to happen that the establishment of new, civilized relations when it comes to the authorities in Poland – the executive power, the judiciary, but also the functioning of the prosecutor’s office – will allow us to stand on firmer ground. I’m afraid it will be difficult, comments Jan Grabiec, head of the prime minister’s office.
Some lawyers believe that Adam Bodnar’s actions in this case had no legal basis. There is even a dispute as to whether the provisions on the basis of which Barski became the national prosecutor, which were considered outdated under Bodnar, are actually outdated.
Another issue is resistance within the prosecutor’s office itself. – Do not succumb to media pressure pointing to the alleged chaos in the National Prosecutor’s Office. I would like to inform you that the situation in the National Prosecutor’s Office is stable. The prosecutor general heading the prosecutor’s office is Professor Adam Bodnar, and his first deputy is Dariusz Barski – informs Michał Ostrowski, deputy prosecutor general.
Currently, Dariusz Barski and acting Jacek Bilewicz consider themselves the current national prosecutors. Deputy national prosecutors from Zbigniew Ziobro’s time wrote to the head of the European Commission. In the letter they write about “ostentatious violations of the rule of law.”
The attitude of the opposition is also a problem. – What is happening there is another serious violation of the law. I hope that the time will come when those who do this will be brought to justice, says the president of Law and Justice, Jarosław Kaczyński.
Sovereign Poland submits a notification to the prosecutor’s office. – From Article 127 of the Penal Code, which is simply a coup d’état – says Michał Woś, MP of Sovereign Poland. – This is a violent attempt to change the political system in Poland – adds Michał Wójcik, MP from Sovereign Poland.
The government responds that PiS is trying to protect itself. – PiS is panicked that investigations will soon be initiated regarding the settlement of their theft – says Roman Giertych, an MP from the Civic Coalition.
The Civic Coalition assures that it has full confidence in Bodnar and adds that his actions in the National Prosecutor’s Office are justified. – We will make decisions. Some of them will be very tough, because there is no other way to clear the situation in Poland, but we will be subject to the same rules and laws as any other Pole, like any other Polish woman, said Prime Minister Donald Tusk.
Applications to the Constitutional Tribunal
The head of government emphasizes that Dariusz Barski can take this to court, but Barski went to the Constitutional Tribunal headed by Julia Przyłębska. – As is usually the case in Poland recently, the Constitutional Tribunal came to the rescue – comments the Minister of Justice.
Judge Krystyna Pawłowicz, a former PiS MP, single-handedly applied interim measures, ordered Bodnar to refrain from preventing Barski from working, and banned Bilewicz from performing the tasks of a national prosecutor.
– This decision cannot be approached on the basis of treating it as a decision made in good faith – says Bodnar. – This is some wishful legal thinking and, unfortunately, it indicates the availability of the Constitutional Tribunal in its adjudicating composition – comments Dariusz Mazur, Deputy Minister of Justice.
The president also sent his application to the Constitutional Tribunal, in which he writes about the competence dispute. However, the government says that there is no dispute over competences in this matter, everything is clear, and PiS wants to use the Tribunal. – Cronyism cannot be the basis for the functioning of the justice system or the work of the government – emphasizes Grabiec.
Dariusz Bilewicz, acting national prosecutor, is to be the acting national prosecutor for two months. An open competition for this position is to be held at this time. In the future, the structure of the prosecutor’s office is to change. By the end of the week, we are expected to learn about the project on separating the functions of the Minister of Justice from the position of the Prosecutor General.
Main photo source: TVN24