Due to the transfer of judges Maciej Czajka, Beata Morawiec and Katarzyna Wierzbicka to other departments, Krakow judges for the first time in history organize an all-day rotational protest in front of the entrance to the building of the District Court in Krakow. At noon, a demonstration is also to take place in front of the Krakow Court of Appeal.
Last week, 11 judges of the District Court in Kraków refused to adjudicate with judges nominated by the new National Council of the Judiciary. They reported this in a letter dated September 20 this year. In their opinion, judgments issued in such a composition would violate the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights, as they would be issued by an authority that is not an “independent and impartial court”.
Three judges transferred to other departments
Three of these judges were relegated to the court structure. Judge Morawiec was transferred from the Fourth Appeal Division, which examines appeals against first-instance judgments, to the Third Criminal Division, where first-instance judgments are issued. Morawiec is the president of the board of the Judges Association “Themis”, which strongly criticizes the reform of the justice system carried out by the current government. In the past, she was the president of SO in Krakow. In November 2017, she was dismissed from this function by the Minister of Justice Zbigniew Ziobro.
Judge Katarzyna Wierzbicka, former vice-president of this court, recalled in the past together with Judge Morawiec by Ziobro, also went to the VI Criminal Division, adjudicating in the first instance, from another appeal department.
Maciej Czajka, a long-time criminal judge from the 3rd Criminal Division was transferred to the 1st Civil Division. He is a member of the “Themis” Judges Association and was a proxy Morawiec, when his Disciplinary Chamber, not recognized by the Supreme Court, dealt with the issue of lifting her immunity.
All-day protest of Krakow judges
A spontaneous protest of Krakow judges will take place in Krakow on Wednesday. It will be from 9 am to 4 pm in front of the main entrance to the District Court and four district courts in Krakow. It will be attended by groups of a dozen or so judges, changing every hour. A demonstration in front of the Court of Appeal in Krakow is also scheduled for 12 o’clock.
As the organizers wrote, the protesters demand “the repeal by persons holding the positions of the president and vice-presidents of the District Court in Krakow, issued unjustifiably (and highly irrational and harmful to citizens due to the violation of their right to a quick and fair trial conducted by a properly staffed court) orders to change the scope of activities) and immediate transfer of judges between the divisions of judge Maciej Czajka, judge Katarzyna Wierzbicka and judge Beata Morawiec “.
“Due to the unjustified transfer of judges to departments other than those in which they have successfully adjudicated for many years, Krakow judges for the first time organize an all-day rotational protest” – it was reported.
In the opinion of Krakow judges, “the transfer of the above-mentioned judges is an expression of repression by the authorities of the District Court in Krakow for the previously submitted letter of September 22, 2021 concerning the refusal to adjudicate with persons who have undergone the promotion procedure for judges before the neo-NCJ. In the case of judge Katarzyna Wierzbicka it is it is also an expression of harassment for the refusal of September 16, 2021 to adjudicate at a hearing with the neo-SSO Piotr Kowalski, vice-president of SO and currently due to his promotion by Dagmara Pawełczyk-Woicka, direct superior in the criminal division of judges: K. Wierzbicka️ , M. Czajki and B. Morawiec “.
Main photo source: PAP / Łukasz Gągulski