We call on you to absolutely stop your actions that are so harmful to Polish citizens – said Kamila Gasiuk-Pihowicz, an MP from the Civic Coalition, recently elected to this body by the Sejm, during the meeting of the neo-KRS. The Neo-KRS did not take into account the new members’ requests for a break or adjournment of the meeting, and then heard the judges’ candidates, including those for the Supreme Administrative Court. The meeting began with a dispute over seats at the table.
On Tuesday, the first meeting of the neo-KRS took place with four new representatives of the Sejm. These are Kamila Gasiuk-Pihowicz and Robert Kropiwnicki from the Civic Coalition, Tomasz Zimoch from Poland 2050 and Anna Maria Żukowska from the New Left. Seats in the National Council of the Judiciary for representatives of the Sejm were occupied exclusively by members of the Sejm in the previous term PiS MPs.
The meeting began with a dispute over where each person should sit. The new members pointed out that Sejm representatives should sit next to each other in the chamber. – The fact that illegally appointed members of the National Council of the Judiciary make it difficult for us to take our seats today does not make them properly appointed – said Gasiuk-Pihowicz, commenting on the situation.
Dagmara Pawełczyk-Woicka, chairwoman of the neo-KRS, who chaired the meeting, appealed to take the seats indicated by the signs. – Having another Council member sit is not something that we consider appropriate in our culture – she said.
Gasiuk-Pihowicz on the “deep devastation of the political position of the judiciary”
Gasiuk-Pihowicz, driven – as she stated – by the “elementary need to restore the standards of the rule of law in Poland”, submitted a request to suspend all work of this body, including the assessment of candidates for judicial positions.
In its current composition, as the KO MP justified, the neo-KRS does not meet the constitutional requirements of a body that safeguards the independence of courts and judges.
– It is a paradox that the National Council of the Judiciary, constitutionally obliged to safeguard the independence of the courts, ignores the judgments of both Polish courts and European tribunals, condemning its functioning to be illegal. This proves the deep devastation of the systemic position of the judiciary that has taken place in recent years, contrary to the political narrative of good change, said Gasiuk-Pihowicz. She also assessed that “the current practice of functioning of the National Council of the Judiciary after the changes introduced in 2017 depreciates the role of this body as the guardian of judicial independence.”
– We call on you to absolutely stop your actions, actions that are so harmful to Polish citizens, expose the Polish state to huge liability for damages, and may lead to the loss of huge EU funds. The Neo-National Council of the Judiciary is coming to an end, and your time in this institution is also coming to an end. No amount of fighting with your hands and feet will change that. Today is the beginning of the end of this institution in such a politicized form, argued Gasiuk-Pihowicz.
Gasiuk-Pihowicz on “bearing responsibility”
She announced resolutions, laws and actions of the Minister of Justice. – Misappropriating and opposing these actions will also result in responsibility – added the MP.
Tomasz Zimoch requested that the media be allowed to work and be allowed to perform their duties. – The fact that journalists were not allowed to enter the building where the National Council of the Judiciary is located today is unacceptable – he said.
Zimoch also requested that the Council’s session be interrupted due to the meeting of the Sejm of the new term. He also submitted a motion to adjourn the session until the Senate elects its representative.
The MPs’ motions were not accepted by the majority of members of the neo-KRS.
Gasiuk-Pihowicz submitted a reservation to the minutes that “unauthorized persons took part in the votes, illegally holding positions as members of the National Council of the Judiciary, i.e. judges elected by the Sejm contrary to the provisions of the constitution.”
The Council then heard candidates for judges of the Supreme Administrative Court. The candidates presented their CVs and answered questions.
Kwiatkowski on the course of the meeting: from the morning it looked terrible and bad
Independent senator Krzysztof Kwiatkowski, representative of the Senate in the Council, talked to TVN24 about the course of the neo-KRS meeting.
– From the morning it looked terrible and bad, when we arrived at the Council meeting and saw a group of cold journalists who were not allowed to enter the building of the National Council of the Judiciary, because not only the National Council of the Judiciary has its headquarters there, (…), and the building itself is owned by one of the universities, is rented by the National Council of the Judiciary – said the senator.
– We behaved as any human would react. I asked for journalists to be let into the building immediately so that they would not have to stand in the rain and snow. I was told that journalists are not allowed to enter. When I asked who made this decision, I was told that the decision to admit anyone can be made by the chairwoman of the National Council of the Judiciary, to whom, of course, I immediately called. Asking for the immediate entry of journalists so that they can perform their duties, the senator continued.
– I found out that this is the spokeswoman’s competence. The spokeswoman whom I called told me that she would not make this decision without the chairman, so I tried to call the chairman again, but the chairman did not answer the phone. And I would like to convey to her what is written in the constitution, which states that a citizen has the right to obtain information about the activities of any public authority or any person performing a public function, and that this right also includes access to meetings of collegial public authorities, he said. further Krzysztof Kwiatkowski.
Main photo source: National Council of the Judiciary