POLAND: PUBLIC ANXIETY AND FRUSTRATION TOWARDS JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE




Mustafa AY – TDO – 26.07.2017 Polish Parliament voted for 3 constitutional amendments suggesting reshuffling judicial structure of Poland. President Andrzej Duda signed the only one of bills for implementation. Following Duda’s approval of the bill, it prompted the overreaction of Polish society across the whole country. Polish citizens have adjusted demonstrations which address the issue of judicial principles of ‘impartiality and independence’ in vacuum. According to many protestors, the bill signed by Duda undermines all these principles and might lead the politicization of judiciary, likewise in Soviet era. Thus, thousands of protestors reflected their will against bill by asking more freedom and democracy from Duda.

That President Duda paved the way for judicial review triggered the tension between Poland and EU. Following the approval of the bill, EU sent a diplomatic note to Polish government. Accordingly, EU threatened Poland with the suspension of right-to-vote in EU parliamentary sessions. Former PM and current Chairman of EU Commission, Donald Tusk, interpreted this statutory alteration as Poland’s failure in sustaining its image in the eyes of EU member countries. Tusk had the last words as “the decision is the political marginalization of Poland in EU which is equivalent to political suicide.”

So, what do those bills represent? According to the bill, that Justice Minister’s selection of heads of lower courts is covered. Even though EU exhibits an attitude of irritation, they also seem to be grateful for Duda’s veto against remaining 2 bills out of 3. According to other law proposals, Justice Minister could have also had the constitutional right to arbitrarily replacing all Supreme Courts members with the candidates he will determine.