The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) condemned Poland on Tuesday, June 29, after the dismissal of two judges without cause and without possible appeal, pinning in passing a reform of 2017 which had put justice under political control, under covered to restore “Confidence in the judiciary”.
The two judges, vice-presidents of the court in Kielce, in the south-east of the country, were dismissed from their functions in January 2018 by the Polish Minister of Justice, Zbigniew Ziobro, member of the “Solidarity Poland” party, an ally of the Law and Justice party from which the Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, comes.
At the request from those concerned for explanations of these revocations, the ministry replied that nothing required the minister to communicate the reasons for his decision, and that, in order to facilitate the implementation of the reforms, no recourse was possible. The ministry relied on a law passed in July 2017, which empowered the minister to make such decisions for six months.
“Arbitrariness of executive power”
The judges of the ECHR considered that ” compatibility “ of this law “With the requirements of the rule of law” was “Doubtful”. They also noted that the text in question did not provide “None of the fundamental requirements of procedural fairness”, and that he thus exposed the Polish magistrates to a “Anticipated and arbitrary of their functions”. The judges thus condemned Poland for “Violation of the right of access to a court” and ordered Warsaw to pay 20,000 euros for “Material and moral damage” to each of the applicants, a high amount in view of the case law of the ECHR.
The European judges also recalled the need for a “Control by an independent judicial body” of the dismissal decisions of magistrates, which aims to guard against “The arbitrariness of executive power”.
Disciplinary proceedings stalled
In May, the ECHR had already condemned Poland for an “irregular” appointment of one of the judges of the Polish Constitutional Court. The justice reforms launched by the conservative nationalist Law and Justice party, in power in Poland since 2015, have also been the subject of several condemnations by the Court of Justice of the European Union.
The situation of the rule of law in Poland has also led the European Commission to launch a procedure, known as Article 7 of the Treaty on the EU, which can in theory go as far as the suspension of the country’s voting rights. to the European Council. However, this procedure is at a standstill for the time being.