Resolution of the Extraordinary General Meeting of Members of the Association of Prosecutors „Lex super omnia” of January 26, 2019 on the use of the prosecutor’s office as a tool for political struggle
Association of Prosecutors „Lex super omnia” states that the law on the public prosecution service, adopted on 28 January 2016 (Journal of Laws of 15 February 2016, item 177), which entered into force on 4 March 2016, destroyed the 6 year period of building an executive-independent apolitical public prosecutor’s service, headed by a Prosecutor General free from the current pressure of politicians.
Developed in the comfort of cabinets, and then submitted to Parliament as a draft prepared by a couple of MPs, it not only stopped positive changes to the prosecution service, in line with European standards, but set back this institution to the distant times, making it to a large extent a political tool to pursue the interests of the ruling parties.
Re-unification of the functions of the Minister of Justice and Prosecutor General and appointing as head of the ministry of justice a person who is an active politician, a member of a political party, who in the course of his current activity has shown that standards of rule of law, independence, objectivity and impartiality of the prosecutor’s office are foreign to him, is proof of this.
The abolition of fixed office terms of the main positions and competitions for higher positions meant the rejection of professionalism and professional experience as criteria for the selection of staff which issues rulings, and the recognition of informal social relations and nepotism as the only and sufficient criteria.
The unprecedented personnel exchange, initiated by the degradation of 113 prosecutors, and continued by a system of delegations to higher-level units, and to lower-level units as a quasi-disciplinary penalty, and the unlimited possibility of dismissing prosecutors from any managing positions, were aimed at creating an obedient and subservient prosecuting staff motivated by an promotion and reward system which is as extensive as it is expensive for the budget. The implemented system of supervision in everyday practice goes beyond the limits of the abolished approval and equates prosecutors with the assessors, who are just taking their first steps in the profession.
In such a public institution, structured to be passive and inert, in which independence is only a façade, it is the politician with authority over preliminary proceedings granted to him by the legislator, who determines the place where preliminary proceedings are to be conducted, are they to be initiated or discontinued, time of their completion and the content of any substantive decisions. Initiating or taking up discontinued proceedings against political opponents, highlighting cases against representatives of civil society who defend the rule of law and the separation of powers on the one hand, and failing to prosecute or drawing out cases against people from one’s own political environment on the other – are all effects of instrumentalizing the influence on the course of affairs and using the prosecution service for propaganda purposes, to build one’s political position.
A clear example of this is the lack of uniform response from law enforcement and prosecution authorities to manifestations of discrimination, xenophobia and the accompanying manifestations of hatred, the result of which are substantive decisions made by prosecutors arousing a lot of controversy in legal environments, but above all among citizens.
Prosecutors who remain defiant, as well as those who are socially and medially active, propagating the principles of the rule of law and constitutional values, have disciplinary charges brought against them by disposable disciplinary prosecutors in order not only to intimidate them, but also to warn other public prosecutors.
The people directing the prosecution service should be reminded that prosecutors should act on behalf of the society and in the public interest, respecting the civil rights and freedoms set out in the Constitution and the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. In this context, the independence of the prosecutor is not a privilege granted in his interest, but a guarantee of a fair, impartial and effective justice system and protects the public and private interests of the citizens concerned.
For these reasons, the Association of Prosecutors „Lex super omnia” categorically opposes the use of the public prosecution service as a tool of political struggle and pursuit of particular interests, undermining its credibility, lowering the prestige and public trust in prosecutors and their objectivity, reliability and impartiality in making their decisions.
That is the Association demands:
1. the immediate resignation of the Prosecutor General and the National Prosecutor, who are synonymous with politicization of the public prosecution service, from their functions, as well as taking action to restore the highest possible independence of the public prosecution service from political influence that is possible within the framework of the existing regulations,
2. entrusting the function of the Minister of Justice – Prosecutor General to a person of recognized legal authority, politically neutral, guaranteeing the impartiality of the public prosecution service,
3. introducing transparency of conducted cases, in particular those having a political dimension and those in public interest, disclosing personal data and professional experience of prosecutors running them, as well as informing the public in a clear and transparent manner about findings arising therefrom,
4. immediately starting legislative work, the purpose of which would be to create a new law on the public prosecution service, which would respecting the rule of law standards and recommendations of EU bodies, including the separation of the functions of the Minister of Justice and Prosecutor General and separation of the latter institution from the executive.