The winner of this year’s Edward Wende Award was judge Paweł Juszczyszyn. As Mikołaj Pietrzak, dean of the District Bar Council in Warsaw, said, Juszczyszyn’s name is “a symbol of courage, judicial independence and the rule of law.” The Tour de Constitution initiative was also honored. This is the fifteenth edition of the award.
Judge Paweł Juszczyszyn he was suspended from adjudicating by the unrecognized, now defunct Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court in February 2020.
Mikołaj Pietrzak, dean of the District Bar Council in Warsaw, giving a laudation in honor of judge Juszczyszyn, said that he is a person “who needs no introduction in today’s Poland, in Europe, whose name has been resounding in recent years not only in Poland, among human rights defenders , in a group committed to defending the independence of the judiciary of citizens.
– Paweł Juszczyczyn’s name appears as a symbol of courage, judicial independence and the rule of law also in Brussels, Geneva, the Court of Justice of the European Union and Strasbourg, the best proof of which is the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Juszczyszyn v. Poland. Judge Paweł Juszczyszyn, through his attitude, implements the values that guided the award’s patron – courage in defending human dignity, rights, freedom, justice, courage in the face of repression by a powerful and undemocratic political apparatus – Pietrzak continued.
Juszczyszyn: the time after 2015 has become a kind of exam for lawyers
Then the winner himself spoke. – Thank you very much for the honorable distinction and honoring me with the Edward Wende Award. The patron of the award, attorney Edward Wende, was a defender of (…) people persecuted for their opposition activities in favor of democracy in the times of the Polish People’s Republic – he said.
– When I was entering adulthood in 1990, I thought that the times when undemocratic authorities trampled on our rights and freedoms were over. However, it turned out that nothing is given to us once and for all. After 2015, we experienced a deep crisis of the rule of law. The political authorities have undermined the foundations of democracy, he added.
As Judge Juszczyszyn continued, “this time has become a kind of exam for lawyers.” – Some passed it better, others worse. Those who, putting their own interests ahead of the right of each of us to an independent and impartial court established in accordance with the law, certainly failed it, took part in the defective nomination procedure for judges before the unconstitutional and politicized neo-KRS, Judge Juszczyszyn continued.
The case of judge Paweł Juszczyszyn
In 2020, Juszczyszyn was suspended from his duties by the unrecognized and now liquidated Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court in connection with disciplinary proceedings conducted against him. He was removed from adjudicating. It started with the fact that, while considering an appeal in a civil case, he found it necessary to decide whether a judge nominated by the new, politicized National Council of the Judiciary was entitled to rule in the first instance. Juszczyszyn issued a decision in which, among other things, he ordered the Chancellery of the Sejm to present lists of support for candidates for the neo-National Council of the Judiciary.
The Tour de Constitution initiative was also honored
Additionally, this year a distinction was awarded to an initiative or institution promoting the values of the Award. This is how the initiative was honored Tour de Constitutionorganized by the Congress of Civic Democratic Movements Foundation.
The aim of the project is to popularize the provisions of the constitution. As part of this year’s third edition of the event, representatives of the legal community and members of non-governmental organizations visited approximately 100 towns throughout Poland.
At the end of the ceremony, diplomas were also presented to the media patrons of the award – “Rzeczpospolita”, TVN24 and TOK FM radio “for their involvement, support and promotion of the Edward Joachim Wende Award”.
Edward Wende Award
The Edward J. Wende Award is awarded to lawyers and people involved in public activity for special achievements in the field of promoting and improving legal culture, implementing the idea of the rule of law and for activities aimed at preserving and developing both Polish and European legal achievements, strengthening democracy and Poland’s place in Europe.
“The award was established in 2003 by the Foundation for Poland on the initiative of the Wende family in order to honor the memory of Edward Joachim Wende – a lawyer – during the times of the Polish People’s Republic, a defender of the politically persecuted, after 1989 a senator and MP, independent in his views and brave in proclaiming them,” it was written on the foundation’s website.
In previous years, the following people were awarded, among others: professor Adam D. Rotfeld, attorney Mikołaj Pietrzak, Karol Modzelewski, judge Igor Tuleya or prosecutor Ewa Wrzosek.
Main photo source: TVN24