MEDEL statement on the new infringement procedure against Poland
On April 3rd, 2019, the European Commission decided to launch an infringement procedure regarding the new disciplinary regime for judges in Poland.
MEDEL welcomes this decision, stressing that the mechanism of art. 258. TFUE is the only one with the effective potential to reverse the destruction of the Rule of Law in Poland.
The first call from MEDEL to take this action was addressed to the First Vice‑President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, on February 21st, 2019. Today it has become clearly evident that the unprecedented actions that have been undermining judicial independence in Poland need urgent attention.
The recent case of Judge Alina Czubieniak, punished by the new Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court with a ‘warning’ for a lawful decision in full respect of human rights – the release of a mentally disabled person, unlawfully detained and deprived of due legal assistance during arrest – is a definite example of the distortion of the disciplinary system in Poland. What’s more, judge Alina Czubieniak faces now another disciplinary investigation for sharing details of her persecution with the press.
Another striking example are the proceedings against judges for participating in courts’ assemblies, who are interrogated by the disciplinary officers in order to find information about the proposers and organisers of the votings that have approved resolutions criticizing the National Judicial Council.
Every week, more intolerable decisions come to light, taken by disciplinary officers, appointed directly by the Minister of Justice/Prosecutor General.
In these circumstances the European Commission’s decision seems to be taken at the very last moment to protect the judicial independence in Poland.
Today, as constantly in recent years, MEDEL hereby expresses its full solidarity with the Polish Judges and Prosecutors who courageously fight for the Rule of Law.
Their struggle is the struggle of all Judges and Prosecutors in Europe.