Poland violates the fundamental principle of law

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Børge Brende (Conservatives)Minister of Foreign Affairs, Børge Brende (Conservatives).Photo: Håkon Mosvold Larsen / NTB scanpix

Foreign Minister, Børge Brende, reacted to elected Polish representatives adopting a law that, in practice, leaves control of the Supreme Court to politicians.

 

‘If these legislative changes are implemented, they will both undermine themselves, and undermine the overall independence of the courts, thus constituting a breach of the fundamental rule of law,’ said Brende to Aftenposten newspaper.

235 members of the National Assembly’s Lower House ignored street protests, powerful warnings from the opposition, and threats from the EU, when they voted yes to the bill on Thursday. 192 voted against it, while 23 abstained.

Brende calls on the Polish authorities to enter into dialogue with the European Commission, and the Council of Europe, to meet and find solutions that will ensure free and independent courts in Poland. The leader of the Norwegian Judges Association, Ingjerd Thune, called the bill a danger to legal integrity.

‘We have never seen anything similar to this in Western democracy. The courts must control the politicians, not the other way around. When you remove all the judges, and hire your own people, this check becomes illusory, said Thune.

In practice, the legislative amendments give politicians power to appoint new judges to the Supreme Court. At the same time, sitting judges will be removed, except for some who will be appointed by the Minister of Justice himself.

 

The law still needs approval by the National Assembly’s Upper House, and from President Andrzej Duda. The EU President, Donald Tusk, has requested an emergency meeting with Duda to discuss what he called on Thursday,’ a political crisis with dangerous consequences’.

According to the UK’s ‘Guardian’ newspaper, Duda has refused the request for a meeting.

© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today

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