Appeal for immediate action to save independent judiciary in Poland

Rafto Foundation and partners have worked for a year to support Polish judges under heavy pressure to conform their judgments to the positions of the Polish government, in violation of both European Law and the Constitution of Poland.

In support of Rafto Laureate 2018 Adam Bodnar, the Free Courts Initiative (#WolneSady), the Stefan Batory Foundation, the European Stability Initiative and Rafto Foundation have been working to support Polish judges and to save independent judiciary in Poland.

On December 5 the Supreme Court of Poland declared its own Disciplinary Chamber and the National Council of the Judiciary to operate in violation of European standards for an independent judiciary.

Poland is approaching a critical point where the entire judiciary will be captured by the executive, through extensive legal harassment of judges who respond to their obligation to uphold the law, and steady replacement of disobedient or retiring judges at all levels with new judges loyal to the incumbent party rather than the law they are trusted to uphold. In a few months, the Supreme Court will be under political control, as the Constitutional Court already is. Hundreds of judges have already been illegitimately selected, thousands of illegitimate rulings passed. The government now threatens to explicitly gag judges by passing a new law before Christmas.

We appeal to the European Commission to ask the European Court of Justice for immediate interim measures to halt the operations of the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court and the National Council of the Judiciary until all relevant legal issues are cleared by the European Court.

The open letter is signed by 25 legal experts from Poland, Europe, and the USA, as well as 34 professional and human rights organizations from Poland and elsewhere in Europe, including Rafto.

We encourage you to sign this statement of support written by Amnesty international (in Polish).

A more extensive justification of the measures we ask for is written by the European Stability Initiative and Stefan Batory Foundation.

Photo: #Konstytucja demonstrators outside the Presidential Palace in Warsaw on 15 December 2019.

Contact

Picture of Iver Ørstavik

Iver Ørstavik

The Rafto Foundation, Senior Advisor
Means of contactContact details
Phone: 47096755
E-mail: iver.orstavik@rafto.no

Heads the partnership engagement with our most recent laureates (Kashmir 2017 and Poland 2018)
Read more about Iver