Warsaw, June 18, 2019.
Opinion of the Justice Defence Committee – KOS (no 18 (5) / 2019)
regarding the false statement of the President of the Republic of Poland, Andrzej Duda, which took place during a press conference in Washington on June 13 , 2019.
The Committee for the Protection of Justice KOS strongly protests against the false statement of the President of the Republic of Poland, Andrzej Duda during a press conference in Washington on June 13, 2019.
Responding to a question from an American journalist, the President of the Republic of Poland said that the "reform" of the Supreme Court was dictated by the necessity of removing judges who issued sentences during martial law and belonged to the communist party. At the same time, he stated that all democratic standards are respected in Poland, such as the right to assembly, freedom of speech and free and fair elections. He also stated that the duty of each ruling camp that wins elections is the implementation of its program.
We assess the President's statement as another example of an attack on the Supreme Court and its judges by using false information and claims.
First of all, it is not true that the purpose of the "Supreme Court" reform was to remove the judges who were members of the communist party and judged during martial law. This argument was commented and countered many times during public debates or conferences.
Lowering the retirement age of all judges of the Supreme Court - then reinstated by the EU Court of Justice - had one goal, which is to exchange the actual judges for judges, who will be disposal to ruling party. What is it, if not subordinating the Supreme Court to politicians, an attempt to remove people who before 1990 did not occupy judges' positions or ruled in civil matters, without applying the repressive martial law legislation? The application of the principles of collective responsibility towards judges, especially after their verifications carried out in 1990 and in subsequent years, has nothing to do with either the goal of "reform" declared by the President or with the standards of the rule of law, which the ruling party are warning about.
The commented statement is in line with the narrative of the ruling party, who have been attacking Polish judges for several decades, thus justifying the politicization of the justice system. Words such as those spoken by the President of the Republic of Poland or repeated by the Prime Minister or the Minister of Justice are harmful to the honest discussion about the condition of the Polish judiciary, including the Supreme Court, and they build a false image of our country towards foreign partners.
Therefore, using the freedom of speech accented by the President, we strongly dissagre with the false statement presented in Washington on June 13, 2019 and once again we call for a public debate based on real and factual arguments.
Stowarzyszenie im. Prof. Zbigniewa Hołdy
Stowarzyszenie Sędziów Polskich „Iustitia”
Stowarzyszenie Sędziów „THEMIS”
Stowarzyszenie Prokuratorów „Lex Super Omnia”
Inicjatywa Obywatelska „Wolne Sądy”
Helsińska Fundacja Praw Człowieka
Instytut Prawa i Społeczeństwa INPRIS
Stowarzyszenie Amnesty International
Forum Obywatelskiego Rozwoju FOR
Ogólnopolskie Stowarzyszenie Sędziów Sądów Administracyjnych
Forum Współpracy Sędziów