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Sejm for increasing the power of the National Prosecutor. The opposition: they are trying to barricade themselves there

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The Sejm was in favor of transferring some of the powers of the Prosecutor General to the National Prosecutor. The opposition sees the move as another stage of “concreting” the prosecutor’s office, as the National Prosecutor can only be dismissed with the president’s consent. The bill will now go to Andrzej Duda’s desk.

On Thursday, the Sejm spoke out against the Senate’s resolution rejecting the amendment, which, among other things, delegates some of the powers of the Prosecutor General to the National Prosecutor. 234 deputies voted for the rejection of the Senate’s resolution, 217 deputies voted against it, no one abstained from voting. Thus, he was in favor of amending the Code of Civil Procedure, the Code of Criminal Procedure, the provisions on the system of courts, and the Law on the Public Prosecutor’s Office. The amendment will now go to the president’s desk Andrzej Duda.

Sejm for increasing the power of the National ProsecutorTVN24

Delegating part of the powers of the Prosecutor General

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At the end of July, the Senate adopted a resolution rejecting this amendment. Many comments on the amendment were made at that time, among others by the Senate Legislative Office, indicating that it concerns 31 acts, when such a regulation – in accordance with the principles of legislation – should amend only one act or refer to one issue. On Wednesday, however, the Sejm extraordinary committee for changes in codifications recommended rejecting the Senate’s resolution.

One of the extensive parts of the amendment relates to the competences of the Prosecutor General and the National Prosecutor. According to it, the scope of powers of the latter is to be increased, while the scope of powers of the Prosecutor General is to be narrowed. It’s about, among others o the issue of direct instructions to subordinate prosecutors, as well as the appointment and dismissal of heads of public prosecutor’s offices.

Warsaw, February 24, 2023. Minister of Justice, Prosecutor General Zbigniew Ziobro (R) and National Prosecutor Dariusz Barski (L) during a press conference at the National Prosecutor’s Office Tomasz Gzell/PAP

“The Public Prosecutor General issues instructions to subordinate prosecutors through the National Public Prosecutor. In particularly justified cases, due to the good of the proceedings or the proper functioning of the public prosecutor’s office, the National Public Prosecutor may request a change or repeal of the order addressed to him” – states the amendment.

Opposition about “concreting” the prosecutor’s office

As Marcin Warchoł, Deputy Minister of Justice, explained at the end of May, “the need to speed up a number of decisions within the prosecutor’s office speaks in favor of the amendment.” – In this act, the National Prosecutor, as the chief prosecutor’s office, is strengthened – he pointed out. – I would like to point out that the Prosecutor General will continue to be the chief authority of the prosecutor’s office and will continue to set directions for the prosecutor’s office – he added.

As noted by TVN24 reporter Michał Gołębiowski, some of his powers were transferred to the National Prosecutor, whose dismissal requires the consent of the president. These solutions are criticized by the opposition, who see them as another stage of “concreting” the prosecutor’s office.

– It’s about keeping all the officers safe PiSand in this institution, after the change of power, PiS feels that it is losing. That is why they are trying to barricade themselves there properly and shift the powers from the Prosecutor General to the National Prosecutor, who has the protection of the president. And this is what they are trying to protect themselves with – commented Robert Kropiwnicki, MP from the Civic Coalition.

Main photo source: Tomasz Gzell/PAP

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