President Andrzej Duda wrote a letter to Prime Minister Donald Tusk regarding the dismissal of Dariusz Barski from the position of National Prosecutor. He assessed that the action of the head of government and prosecutor general Adam Bodnar in this case was “unlawful”. He added that the PG’s activities must “strengthen society’s sense of proper action by justice units, and not introduce a state of uncertainty and chaos, the beneficiaries of which are only the perpetrators of crimes.”
“In view of the ongoing actions of the Minister of Justice, Prosecutor General, Mr. Adam Bodnar, aimed at the unlawful removal from office of the National Prosecutor, Mr. Dariusz Barski, and the appointment by the Prime Minister of the acting National Prosecutor, Mr. Jacek Bilewicz, to a position unknown to the Polish legal order, I draw the attention of the Prime Minister to the consequences for the Polish State and citizens of these illegal activities,” the president wrote.
He pointed out that “in accordance with Article 14 § 1 of the Act of January 28, 2016 – Law on the Public Prosecutor’s Office (Journal of Laws, Journal of Laws of 2023, items 1360, 1429 and 860), the National Prosecutor as the first deputy of the Prosecutor General and the remaining deputies of the Prosecutor General in the number no more than 7 are appointed from among the prosecutors of the National Prosecutor’s Office and dismissed from performing these functions by the Prime Minister at the request of the Prosecutor General. The National Prosecutor and other deputies of the Prosecutor General are appointed after obtaining the opinion of the President of the Republic of Poland, and dismissed with his written consent.
Duda added in the letter that “due to the violation of the above procedure, on January 15, 2024 submitted a request to the Constitutional Tribunal to consider the competence dispute between the President of the Republic of Poland, the Prime Minister and the Prosecutor General.
“Pursuant to Article 86(1) of the Act of November 30, 2016 on the organization and procedure of proceedings before the Constitutional Tribunal (Journal of Laws of 2019, item 2393), the initiation of proceedings before the Constitutional Tribunal results in the suspension of proceedings before the bodies which they are in a dispute over competences. This effect occurs by operation of law,” it was written in the letter.
“Responsibility for the consequences of these actions will be held personally by the Prime Minister and the Minister.”
According to Andrzej Duda, “the actions of the Prime Minister and the Prosecutor General that are inconsistent with the law, in particular the rule of law, constitute the basis for questioning all actions taken in recent years by the National Prosecutor, Mr. Dariusz Barski, as well as the actions taken by the prosecutor, Jacek Bilewicz, in including personnel changes in the prosecutor’s office, including the dismissal of regional prosecutors.
“Particular emphasis should be placed on the consequences of questioning procedural activities performed by the National Prosecutor personally or on his authority, as well as the referred to in Article 13(3a) of the Act – Law on the Prosecutor’s Office,” we read.
As the president stated, “when presenting the above issues, it should be noted that the prosecutor’s office safeguards the rule of law, and the Prosecutor General is the chief prosecutor’s office.” “All organizational activities undertaken by the Prosecutor General in relation to prosecutor’s office units must be carried out with particular care in compliance with applicable regulations, so as to strengthen the society’s sense of proper operation of justice units and not introduce a state of uncertainty and chaos, the beneficiaries of which are only the perpetrators. crimes,” he wrote.
“Responsibility for the consequences of these actions, in particular towards citizens, including victims of crimes, will be held personally by the Prime Minister and Minister Adam Bodnar,” Duda said.
The case of Dariusz Barski
On January 12, Prime Minister Donald Tusk entrusted the duties of the National Prosecutor to Jacek Bilewicz. The Ministry of Justice then informed that Bodnar, during a meeting with prosecutor Dariusz Barski, handed him a document stating that he had been reinstated to active duty on February 16, 2022 by the previous prosecutor general Zbigniew Ziobro “was made in violation of applicable regulations and did not produce legal effects.”
As the Ministry of Justice then emphasized, “as a result, from the date of transfer of the above position of the Prosecutor General, i.e. from January 12, 2024, Dariusz Barski remains retired, which makes him unable to perform the function of the National Prosecutor.”
The National Prosecutor’s Office still maintains the position that Barski is the national prosecutor. The letter of the Prosecutor General of January 12, 2024 – as the PK therefore assesses – should be treated as “an attempt, not based on any actual legal basis, to deprive the National Prosecutor of the ability to perform his functions by circumventing the statutory mechanism of dismissal from this position specified in the Law on the Public Prosecutor’s Office, and requiring the consent of the President of the Republic of Poland for its effectiveness.
Adam Bodnar’s actions were also questioned from the beginning by Michał Ostrowski – one of the deputy prosecutors general, prosecutor of the National Prosecutor’s Office since 2016.
Concreting of the prosecutor’s office
Dariusz Barski is called an eminence grise by commentators on the political scene PIS. He is a trusted person of former Minister of Justice Zbigniew Ziobro. He is also associated with it socially. As recalled by the former national prosecutor and former boss Ministry of Interior and Administration Janusz Kaczmarek, Barski was a witness at Ziobro’s wedding.
Dariusz Barski as the national prosecutor just before the last one elections parliamentary powers, he gained extensive powers.
– When it turned out that we were going to lose the elections, it was decided that the prosecutor general should be deprived of all powers to do anything and these powers were transferred to the national prosecutor – commented former Minister of Justice, Prof. on TVN24. Zbigniew Ćwiąkalski. – Of course it is unconstitutional – he added.
Prof. Maciej Gutowski from the University of Adam Mickiewicz in Poznań explained that after the changes introduced by PiS, the national prosecutor cannot be dismissed because the president’s consent is required. – At the end of the government, a system was built to provide a lonely island that the new government would not be able to recall – he added.
Main photo source: Marcin Obara/PAP