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EU/Poland: Urgent need for Ministers to demand Poland stops attack on Independence of Judges

“With the 3rd of July fast approaching, the European Commission and the Council must act with urgency to halt the purge of up to half the judges of the Supreme Court. This irreversible attack on the independence of the judiciary is unacceptable and Poland must be held to account.”

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

Quotation

22 June 2018

EU/Poland: Urgent need for Ministers to demand Poland stops attack on Independence of Judges

Today, the day before the General Affairs Council has scheduled a formal hearing with Polish authorities, Amnesty International launched the report ‘The Power of ‘the street’: Protecting the right to peaceful protest in Poland’. The report documents how people are taking to the street in an environment where restrictive legislation combined with heavy-handed policing, surveillance, harassment and prosecution threaten to strangle the right to peaceful protest.

This crackdown on the freedoms of assembly and expression takes place in an environment of a seriously weakened judiciary that is being placed more and more under the influence of the authorities. Crucially, on 3 July a provision will enter into force which could force almost half Supreme Court judges into retirement. This combined with the already now politicized selection process would leave it open for the appointment of politically dependent judges in their place. 

Ahead of tomorrow’s Hearing on the matter with EU European Affairs Ministers, Iverna McGowan, Head of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office said:

“With the 3rd of July fast approaching, the European Commission and the Council must act with urgency to halt the purge of up to half the judges of the Supreme Court. This irreversible attack on the independence of the judiciary is unacceptable and Poland must be held to account.”

“The hearing offers a unique opportunity for member states to raise questions and demand answers. This responsibility cannot be taken lightly. No state should be silent at tomorrow’s hearing. They must question Polish authorities in detail on the wide range of measures that, taken together, could represent an end to the rule of law in Poland. All member states carry the burden of protecting the very soul of what the EU should stand for’’.

ENDS