Manifestations of the erosion of the law enforcement system – LSO Report on the Prosecution of hate crimes of the Polish prosecutor’s office in the years 2016 – 2022
Our study contains a summary of information on selected aspects of the practice of prosecuting
hate crimes in Poland in 2016-2022 – that is, in the period when Zbigniew Ziobro is the Prosecutor
General, and the prosecutor’s office under his control operates on the basis of legislative changes
introduced during the United Right government. It describes actions and omissions leading to the weakening of the systemic capacity of the prosecutor’s office to respond effectively to hate crimes, examples of extraterritorial interference by the management of various levels of the prosecutor’s office in the course of pending proceedings for crimes of this type, as well as circumstances proving that in the discussed period the management of the public prosecutor’s office selectively provided legal protection, providing it more willingly and effectively to those people and environments whose political beliefs, worldview and activity profile are close to the ruling camp.
Since 2016, the discussed area of the prosecution is part of the overall picture of the instrumental treatment of criminal proceedings by the political authorities and plays an important role in this process. Proceedings for offenses motivated by prejudice, due to their specific object, are treated as a weapon in government-led cultural conflicts and as a tool for gaining the support of the right-wing electorate, and for subjective reasons – as a means of repressing political and ideological opponents, as well as demonstrating loyalty to people and useful environments for the ruling camp.
The result of the above-mentioned actions and omissions is the loss of the ability of law enforcement agencies to reliably perform a significant part of their tasks, a decrease in the authority of the state and the level of respect for the law, an increase in tolerance for the use of unlawful violence in social life and a decrease in the sense of security among members of minority groups.
The followers of the hate crime perpetrators described above will continue to refer to the – widely reported in the media – trial decisions resulting in their actual impunity, and eliminating the negative social consequences of the phenomena described in this study will be a long and costly process.