What about the amendment to the Act on the National Council of the Judiciary? Minister of Justice Adam Bodnar comments

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Regarding the government's amendment to the act on the National Council of the Judiciary and the Senate's amendments thereto, we are at the stage of analyzing legal opinions that were presented to the Sejm Justice Committee – said the Minister of Justice and Attorney General Adam Bodnar on Wednesday after a meeting with the KO club.

On Wednesday, the Sejm held a meeting between the Minister of Justice and Prosecutor General Adam Bodnar and the KO club, the topic of which was primarily the improvement of the rule of law in Poland, including further parliamentary work on the government's amendment to the Act on the National Council of the Judiciary. On May 9, the Senate proposed an amendment to this act, according to which the so-called neo-judges could run for the National Council of the Judiciary, which caused controversy.

See also: Meeting of the KO club regarding changes to the National Court Register. Prime Minister: I will rely on Adam Bodnar's opinions

– We analyzed various general issues related to restoring the rule of law. Of course, the Act on the National Council of the Judiciary was also the subject of discussion. Now we are at the stage of analyzing the legal opinions that were presented to the (parliamentary) Justice and Human Rights Committee, Bodnar told journalists after the meeting.

When asked whether it was possible to establish a consensus on the Senate amendment that provides passive voting rights for judges nominated by the current National Council of the Judiciary, the Minister of Justice emphasized that legal opinions on this matter should first be carefully read. – Once we analyze and make a decision, it will be communicated appropriately – he assured.

Adam Bodnar TVN24

When asked about the prosecutor's office's next requests to waive parliamentary immunities, Bodnar replied that the topic of the prosecutor's office's planned activities would be the last thing he would discuss with politicians. – I try to ensure that the prosecutor's office is independent in its proceedings and when the conclusions are presented, the MPs will learn about them – Bodnar noted.

Read also: “I doubt there is any will to cooperate.” Adam Bodnar on the letter he received from the president

The head of the Ministry of Justice also added that at the meeting with the KO club, the talks concerned not only the strategy of further legislative plans related to restoring the rule of law, but also details regarding the appointment of court managers and financial expenses made in recent years at the Ministry of Justice.

Kwiatkowski: there is no need for the minister's information here

Also, a representative of KO, former Minister of Justice, currently Senator Krzysztof Kwiatkowski, told journalists that at the meeting, Minister Bodnar presented systemic plans for the justice system. The topics – as he reported – included the work of, for example, codification commissions dealing with criminal law and civil law, as well as changes related to the functioning of individual institutions in the area of, among others, judiciary, prosecutor's office and prison system.

When asked whether the subject of the government's amendment to the National Council of the Judiciary had been raised, the KO politician recalled that this act was at the stage of parliamentary work. – There is no need for the minister's information here. This will be a decision at some point, ladies and gentlemen of the MPs, he noted.

Giertych: the creation of neo-judges must be stopped

The meeting of the KO club with the head of the Ministry of Justice, Prosecutor General Adam Bodnar – according to the head of the KO club, Zbigniew Konwiński – was one of the cyclical meetings of parliamentarians with ministers. Just before the meeting, the deputy head of the KO club Roman Giertych he told journalists that he would convince the minister to take faster action to repair the rule of law. He announced that he would propose that the Sejm adopt a resolution listing all laws that were adopted under the previous government in contradiction with the constitution.

Read also: Giertych wants to speed up the accountability of PiS. He has a plan

He assessed that this would allow for solving problems related to the functioning of the current National Council of the Judiciary, which – as he pointed out – nominates so-called neo-judges, which deepens the division in the justice system. – I say this as a practitioner – he added. – We must at all costs stop the situation in which new neo-judges are created. Because we have situations like the one with Mr. (Mikołaj) Pawlak, i.e. hiding people from PiS behind judicial immunities – said Giertych.

Roman Giertych PAP/Tomasz Gzell

– The government, I would like to remind you, considers some acts to be invalid. For example, those about the nomination of people to the European Commission. The government rightly recognizes that the president has no right to nominate or block nominations. So if we rightly consider some acts as unconstitutional, why can't we consider other acts as unconstitutional – said the KO MP.

Amendment to the Act on the National Council of the Judiciary

The government's amendment to the Act on the National Council of the Judiciary, which the Sejm passed on April 12, assumes that 15 judge-members of the National Council of the Judiciary are to be elected in elections direct and secret ballot by all judges in Poland, and not – as is the case after the change in regulations in December 2017 – by the Sejm. After the election of new members of the National Council of the Judiciary, the current judges-members of the Council would lose their mandates.

The amendment also provides that the right to run for a member of the National Council of the Judiciary will not be available to judges (so-called neojudges) who became judges after the regulations regarding the National Council of the Judiciary were changed in 2017. On May 9, however, the Senate unanimously approved the amendment, according to which the passive electoral right will be available to all judges, regardless of whether they were in the National Council of the Judiciary before or after the change in 2017.

Also check: The National Council of the Judiciary is still producing neo-judges. Taxpayers bear the consequences

The Senate amendment concerning the passive electoral right of so-called neo-judges has been approved by the Ministry of Justice, which in this matter referred to the opinion of the Venice Commission. The Commission positively assessed the direction of changes in the amendment to the KRS. It assessed that the total exclusion of “neo-judges” from the possibility of running for the KRS omits their individual assessment.

However, the judicial and prosecutorial circles spoke out against the Senate's amendment, according to which people with judicial nominations or promotions received as a result of violating the constitution should not sit on the National Council of the Judiciary. In turn, social organizations did not agree with this assessment – including: Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights and Civic Development Forum.

The issue of eliminating the passive electoral right for judges who were appointed after the changes to the National Council of the Judiciary in December 2017 was also an element of the dispute between the Ministry of Justice and the president. Andrzej Duda. In the opinion of the president, who was critical of the changes to the regulations proposed by the Ministry of Justice, all judges have equal status. The President also expressed reservations about interrupting the term of office of the current National Council of the Judiciary.

Main photo source: TVN24



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