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Friday, July 19, 2024

Adam Bodnar is starting to bring changes to the justice system. “We are aware of the enormity of the challenges”

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The new Minister of Women, Bodnar, is starting changes in the justice system. On Friday, at a press conference, the minister presented the main assumptions of the amendment to the Act on the National Council of the Judiciary. In the evening, there was an announcement about changes in the National Prosecutor’s Office.

National Prosecutor Dariusz Barski – a trusted person of Zbigniew Ziobro, who was supposed to de facto cement the prosecutor’s office and block the decisions of the new Prosecutor General – lost his position. According to a statement from the Ministry of Justicethat its reinstatement in service in 2022 was “done in violation of applicable regulations and did not produce legal effects.”

Earlier on Friday, Adam Bodnar presented the main assumptions of the amendment to the Act on the National Council of the Judiciary at a press conference. – The judges themselves, with the support of the National Electoral Commission, will elect judges and members of the National Council of the Judiciary. These elections will be transparent, said the Minister of Justice.

The plans are criticized by United Right politicians. – Change of the National Council of the Judiciary, i.e. friends of other people will have to choose. Judges are supposed to choose judges without the participation of society, says Michał Wójcik from Sovereign Poland, Deputy Minister of Justice in 2016–2020.

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READ ALSO: Minister of Justice: the functioning of the National Council of the Judiciary should be thoroughly reformed

After the changes introduced by PiS, politicians began to decide on the election of judges to the National Council of the Judiciary, which – in theory – was supposed to safeguard the independence of judges. A neo-KRS with its neo-judges was established. – This change has led to numerous problems related to the fact that persons nominated by the National Council of the Judiciary may have doubts as to their status in the context of individual court proceedings – Bodnar said at the conference. This concerns all judges who were promoted with the participation of the National Council of the Judiciary, which is politicized and unrecognized by EU institutions. – They should all return to the places they occupied before these false resolutions of the neo-National Council of the Judiciary, and if they want to take part in competitions, the way is open – says Monika Frąckowiak from the Association of Polish Judges “Iustitia”.

16 judges dismissed from delegations to the Ministry of Justice, the neo-KRS and the National School of Judiciary and Public ProsecutionTVN24

A legal mess

The bill only concerns the scope of appointing judges to the National Council of the Judiciary. Nothing else. As the MP from the New Left, who sits on behalf of the Sejm in the National Council of the Judiciary, explains, this is a most well-thought-out and logical decision. – We hope that this will be a bill that the president will sign and that he will not direct it anywhere. Just sign it. This is an act that applies only and exclusively to the National Council of the Judiciary – explains Anna Maria Żukowska.

For the Presidential Palace, the status of the neo-judges indicated by the neo-National Council of the Judiciary and appointed by Andrzej Duda cannot be questioned. – This method of electing the National Council of the Judiciary was confirmed by the ruling of the Polish Constitutional Tribunal – says Małgorzata Paprocka, Secretary of State in the Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Poland.

However, the independence and apolitical nature of Julia Przyłębska’s Constitutional Tribunal are also questioned by constitutionalists, lawyers and EU institutions.

WATCH THE REPORT “THE ROAD TO THE RULE OF LAW” ON TVN24 GO

Therefore, changes are also to take place in the Constitutional Tribunal. But this – as Adam Bodnar announces – is in the next stage of introducing changes. – We are aware of the enormous challenges regarding the situation of the Constitutional Tribunal, the Supreme Court, the system of common courts, and finally the prosecutor’s office – noted the minister.

What the head of the Ministry of Justice could and has already done is to dismiss 16 judges from the delegation, i.e. he reversed the decision of his predecessor – Zbigniew Ziobro. The list includes, among others, Jakub Izaniec and Łukasz Piebiak. – Mr. Piebiak was associated with the activities of a hate group that operated in the Ministry of Justice under the government of Zbigniew Ziobro – emphasizes Kamila Gasiuk-Pihowicz from PO.

Without the president’s consent, it will not be possible to depoliticize the National Council of the Judiciary, and without its depoliticization, it will not be possible to restore the rule of law. The lack of the rule of law means the lack of gigantic EU funds for KPO.

Main photo source: PAP/Paweł Supernak



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