Statement of the National Board of the Polish Judges’ Association “IUSTITIA” on the escalation of the repression against judges in Poland and the signature of the repressive act by the President of the Republic of Poland

04/02/2020

The government`s repression of Polish judges defending the rule of law and independent courts has reached a critical point. By using people who are at the beck and call of politicians and are members of the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court, judge Paweł Juszczyszyn has been suspended indefinitely in his duties because of his judgment which was inconvenient for the governing party. The objective of this judgment was to implement the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union of 19 November 2019. His salary was also reduced by 40%. Although, in the light of Polish and European Union law, this body is not a court and, pursuant to the resolution of the joint Civil, Criminal and Labour & Social Insurance Chambers of the Supreme Court of 23 January 2020, rulings of the Disciplinary Chamber are not legally binding, the rulers announced the immediate enforcement of this decision.
The signature by the President of the Act of 20 December 2019 increases the legal chaos and devastation of the basic principles of a democratic state governed by the rule of law. The objective of this Act is to take over the Supreme Court, in line with the model of the Constitutional Tribunal, to eliminate the independence of the courts and to completely subordinate them to the politicians. This puts Poland outside the European Union, among the countries where civil rights are violated and the principles of the rule of law do not apply, which are ruled by force and not reasoning and law. This is the last straw in the process of removing the safeguards protecting the citizens from the abuse of power by the authorities.
In view of the above:


1. We appeal to all judges to remain faithful to the law and their judicial oaths and to support their harassed colleagues in every way possible. Today, we, judges have a tremendous responsibility to protect the constitutional legal order in Poland and keep our country in the democratic family of the European Union Member States.
We also appeal to all citizens to continue to support the judges. Only the great solidarity of Poles can stop the unlawful actions of the rulers.


2. We ask the European Commission and the Court of Justice of the European Union to immediately take all possible measures to protect Polish judges against political repression because of their application of European Union law and fulfilment of CJEU judgments. Today, Polish judges are defending not only the rule of law in Poland, but also the legal order of the whole of the European Union. The case of Judge Juszczyszyn proves the validity of the concerns expressed in the preliminary questions of the Polish courts. It shows that court judgments that are unfavourable from the point of view of the interests of the politicians in power will be beaten down using all the measures that these politicians have created. In such a situation, the citizen has no chance of a favourable ruling in the clash with the interests of the ruling camp or its member, because even if such a judgment is passed, the political officials and their nominees will make criminals of the judges taking part in it.


3. The repression of the ruling majority has now also taken on a financial form. Depriving judges of a significant proportion of their salary for political reasons also affects their families. For this reason, on the initiative of associations of judges, as the founders, the Senior Judge's Home Foundation has created a special Aid Fund, from which the funds will be allocated as non-refundable financial aid to persecuted judges. People who would like to join the repressed judges financial aid campaign can make payments to the bank account of the Senior Judge’s Home Foundation, no. 20 1090 1346 0000 0001 4426 7265.


We shall ensure that Judge Paweł Juszczyszyn will not be left on his own. No judge will be left alone if he is subjected to repression by taking advantage of a politically appointed ministerial disciplinary commissioner for judges, his deputies or members of the Disciplinary Chamber because of the observance of the fundamental principles of the rule of law.


We, judges, will not stop fighting to preserve the rule of law and Poland's place in the European Union. We will remain faithful to the Republic of Poland and judicial service, honest in applying the law, in accordance with the Constitution and international conventions.