Zbigniew Ziobro announced that, as the minister of justice, he would ask the Polish government to consider starting a legal procedure to sue Germany before the CJEU for violating the European Union treaties by politicizing the judiciary. He also commented on the words of the president of PiS, Jarosław Kaczyński, regarding the Disciplinary Chamber.
– If the Court of Justice of the European Union in Luxembourg finds that the participation of politicians in the procedure of electing authorities [sądowniczych w Polsce – przyp. red.] raises doubts as to the independence of such future judges, so let us ask the question how this participation affects the independence of future judges in Germany, said Minister of Justice Zbigniew Ziobro during Monday’s press conference.
Ziobro: I will ask the Polish government to consider undertaking a legal procedure
He pointed out that in the case of this country, the participation of the Bundestag (the lower house of the German parliament) in the election of the authorities of the Federal Court of Justice (the highest criminal and civil judiciary in Germany) is “total, much further than in Poland”. He assessed that “if there is an accusation against Poland for this reason that it is at some stage [wyboru sędziów – przyp. red.] the participation of the parliament takes place, the more so with regard to the largest EU country, the conclusions of the CJEU, based on the analysis of the European treaties, must apply “.
– Therefore, as the Minister of Justice, I will ask the Polish government to consider undertaking a legal procedure based on Article 259 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which gives each state the right to bring an action against another EU country, if there are significant treaty grounds for it, he announced. This procedure is to bring Germany before the CJEU for violating the EU treaties by politicizing the judiciary.
Ziobro emphasized that German courts also adjudicate in cases concerning Polish entrepreneurs and citizens. – We are within the EU. These rules must be shared and must be strictly adhered to, he stressed.
– If it turns out that the CJEU applies different norms and legal standards to one country and another to another, it would be a very momentous and important fact related to the assessment of the place where the European Union is today and the place it is heading to in in the field of functioning and systemic relations between states and EU bodies – he added.
Kaleta on the comparison of the National Court Register with the authority in Germany
At the Monday press conference, Deputy Minister of Justice Sebastian Kaleta pointed out what the body that nominates judges in Poland and Germany looks like. – In Poland, judges have the leading voice as to who can be a judge in Poland. Nobody in Poland will become a judge if there is no substantial acceptance of the judiciary community – he said.
On the other hand, in Germany – as the deputy head of the Ministry of Justice added – “there is not a single judge in the counterpart of the body that appoints judges to the Supreme Court.”
– In Poland, we have 25 people in the composition of such an authority as the National Court Register, i.e. a body nominating to the Supreme Court. There are 17 judges, 15 elected under various procedures, (…) currently they are judges elected by the Polish Sejm. Two judges enter this body ex officio, the first president of the Supreme Court and the president of the Supreme Administrative Court. There are 6 representatives of the parliament – the Sejm and the Senate, and two representatives of the executive power – the representative of the president and the minister of justice present here – emphasized Kaleta.
According to him, it is “completely different” in Germany. – Not just judges, but ministers of justice or other competent ministers with regard to the jurisdiction of the federal court whose judges are elected to the Federal Court of Justice, these are the ministers of justice. There are currently 16 of them in the German Länder. And these ministers directly account for half of this body, the other half are representatives of the Bundestag. The German constitution does not indicate what the conditions are for these members, Kaleta said.
– So we have a comparison – 17 out of 25 places – judges in Poland, politicians maximum 8 places, in Germany 0 out of 32 places for judges, 32 out of 32 for politicians – said the Deputy Minister of Justice.
Ziobro on Kaczyński’s words
Sebastian Kaleta also commented on Kaczyński’s words about the Disciplinary Chamber. Jarosław Kaczyński spoke on Saturday in RMF FMthat the committee he chaired approved several months ago draft changes to the judiciary. As he assessed, “this anarchy that prevails in Polish courts today must be mastered”. – And it is necessary to liquidate those institutions that have completely failed, and the Disciplinary Chamber [Sądu Najwyższego – red.] it did not work – he assessed.
The deputy prime minister and PiS leader said that “all courts will have the status of district courts.” He stated that “there will be a transfer of the cassation appeal to the level of large regional courts”. – And we’ll have a Supreme Court. It will be a small court whose task will be to organize the jurisprudence – he added.
– Judges are also people and people acting in a specific reality, also in the media, social and environmental – said Ziobro.
– The judges of the Disciplinary Chamber were subjected to enormous pressure, harassment, were publicly challenged, insulted. All this certainly had an impact on the ability of this organ to work – he added. – We can say with certainty that even the recent rulings of the CJEU led to the destabilization of the functioning of the Disciplinary Chamber by taking actions by the First President of the Supreme Court, which consequently led to the cessation of the actual operation of this important judicial body. The combination of all these circumstances related to the constant pressure and attack on the Disciplinary Chamber unfortunately created a specific atmosphere and working conditions for the judges who found themselves there, which also influenced their way of acting, at least some of them. I think that this is how the statement of President Kaczyński should be understood – added the Minister of Justice.
Main photo source: TVN24