Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends
It is worth recalling the times when the Polish “Iustitia" was born. It was 1990 - Tadeusz Mazowiecki became prime minister, and the Wall separating the east from the west fell in Berlin. Soon after, governments collapsed one after another, the geopolitical map of Europe changed, and "Iustitia" continued, maintaining its independence, developing its activity and structures.
"Iustitia" has been the head of the Polish independent judicial family for 31 years. And it is for quite a large family, because it gathers together 3,600 judges - about 30% of all judges in Poland and 95% of all associated judges.
We owe the beginning of Iustitia`s activity to the long-term President of the Board, Judge Maria Teresa Romer, one might say - the senior woman of our family. We remember this and thank you very much.
I must admit that the life of "Iustitia" has not been easy since childhood. But it was adulthood, especially after the age of 25, that brought her many difficulties. Currently, mature, wise and experienced "Iustitia" is constantly concerned about what is happening around: politicians have managed the National Council of the Judiciary, the Constitutional Tribunal, the positions of disciplinary commissioners, large part of the Supreme Court.
Although very sociable and socially active, "Iustitia" is such a young unmarried lady by her own choice: she has never entered into any relationship with political power; she had never flirted with it, although many wanted to dance with her to a song of their choice.
However, "Iustitia" can always count on the support of the legal community - lawyers, legal advisers, but also brave prosecutors. Support is provided by the great judicial community abroad, whose numerous representatives marched with us during the March of a 1000 Robes last January.
Iustitia is not only Polish, but also European. She is a leader followed by millions of citizens. Iustitia will never abandon people whose rights are being violated. We are not indifferent to what is happening in Turkey, Belarus or Afghanistan. “Iustitia" embraces with her long arms and supports everyone who`s values are law, freedom and civil liberties, regardless of whether they are a judge or a lawyer at all.
We have been aware for some time that we have an important social mission to fulfill. That is why Iustitia talks and educates. We have hundreds of meetings behind with children at schools, with young people at rock festivals and fairs, with adults at legal cafes, conferences and webinars. Through Iustitia's well-functioning social media profiles, we reach millions of internet users, not only in Poland, but all over the world. As some people may have noticed, at music festivals, Iustitia recently wears T-shirts with the words "Liberty and Justice for All". The second part of the print ("... And_Justice_for_All"), refers - as you can guess - to the famous album of the American band Metallica.
Indeed, ladies and gentlemen - freedom and justice are for everyone! Not for the chosen ones! And where values are at stake, IUSTITIA – like Ancient Roman Goddess of Justice uses and will use her sword. This weapon is not only for decoration - our 30-years-old always has the sword and will not hesitate to use it in the event of a need to fight for freedom and the rule of law
Now let me give you some facts from our recent history.
We, the Iustitians (members of Iustitia), initiated the Chain of Light action. At first, the chains surrounded the Supreme Court building with a light of hope, and then they became a symbol of resistance to all those taking our rights and freedoms away.
It is us, Iustitians, who started the idea of "March of a 1000 Robes", which was the largest demonstration of judges in modern Europe. 30,000 participants, including hundreds of judges from 27 European countries, walked for several hours through the streets of Warsaw. Iustitia also makes a significant contribution to the integration of the judicial family from all over Europe.
It is us, Iustitians, who have always stood behind every judge who was attacked by the political authorities. This solidarity is our great strength, it is an attitude that is hard to find in other professional associations.
We, the Iustitians, have fought and are constantly in the legal battles, questioning the legality of the actions, such as nomination proceedings before the neo-National Council of the Judiciary. We fought in Polish and European courts, challenged unlawful decisions, asked legal questions to the Supreme Court, questions for a preliminary ruling to the CJEU and complaints to the ECtHR.
And we, the Iustitians, are paying a huge price for it all - we have been subjected to institutionalized hatred action, we are still harassed by disciplinary, criminal and immunity proceedings.
At this important moment, I want to make it clear - on behalf of thousands of Polish judges, including those hurt by various harassment, such as Paweł Juszczyszyn, Monika Frąckowiak, Ania Ciesielska-Bator or Igor Tuleya, but also on behalf of those who have not decided to apply for higher positions before the illegal National Council of the Judiciary, and finally, on behalf of millions of Poles protesting all over Poland - that Iustitia does not compromise on the rule of law.
We cannot agree to “some rule of law, but ...” A formula which I recently picked up with great sadness, in one of the interviews with a famous Polish judge.
Let us remember: many of us in Poland and in Europe have devoted not only their time and energy to defending the rule of law, but have been repressed by the authorities. Many judges behaved decently and missed the opportunity to gain a higher position and salary. Because due to respect for all these people and initiatives and in the name of fundamental legal principles - the "reset" option in relation to those destroying the rule of law – is just not possible.
However, I would like to emphasize that Iustitia is not looking for revenge. And we do not only fight for values. We have a ready plan to restore the rule of law and organize systemic issues in Poland, starting with the National Council of the Judiciary, through incorrectly selected judges and on the end with the system of disciplinary proceedings.
Moving slowly to the end, I would like to warmly thank all of you who are here, the organizations you represent, the lawyers from home and abroad, my predecessors, all the Iustitia female and male members of the last 30 years, and the millions of citizens who support us.
Friends and family.
I assure you that 31-year-old Iustitia is in the prime of her life - full of energy, courage and determination, because she has freedom in her heart, a sword in her hand, and millions of wonderful Poles behind her, some of whom have gathered in this room.
Liberty and justice for all!
Iustitia has freedom in her heart, a sword in her hand, and millions of wonderful Poles behind her. Prof Krystian Markiewicz President of the Polish Judges Association Iustitia - Gala celebrating the 31st anniversary of the Polish Judges Association IUSTI
Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends