"Seven sins against the state of law". Members of the judiciary speak out
The new National Council of the Judiciary (KRS) is not safeguarding independence and freedom of the courts. It's not a voice of judicial circles, it's a voice of politicians and a tool used to politicise courts - said judge Igor Tuleya, at a conference "7 sins against the state of law", during which changes made by the ruling PiS party were criticised. "It will take many years to fix what's been done," said judge Beata Morawiec.
Judges: Michał Laskowski, Beata Morawiec, Igor Tuleya, attorneys: Jacek Dubois and Sylwia Gregorczyk-Abram, prosecutor Krzysztof Parchimowicz and Marta Ejchart-Dubois from the "Free Courts" association, summed up at a conference on Friday changes made to the justice system in the last parliament term, by the ruling Law and Justice party.
Terrifying work atmosphere
Beata Morawiec, judge and chairman of Judges Association "Themis", said that "the work atmosphere in courts is terrifying" and "employees earn starvation wages".
"It will take many years to fix what's been done, and the justice system will struggle with backlogs that will haunt it. It will mostly affect the citizens," she stressed.
Judge Igor Tuleya added that "the body currently operating has nothing to do with the National Council of the Judiciary". "That body does not fulfil its duty, specified in Article 186, Paragraph of the Constitution, namely it's not safeguarding freedom of the courts and independence of judges. It's not a voice of judicial circles, it's a voice of politicians and a tool used to politicise courts," he said.
"It appears that its (KRS) members do not represent judicial circles. Judges didn't have a chance to put forward their candidates. Judges, who were appointed to the neo-KRS, are representing politicians," judge Tuleya argued.
Whip for judges
"According to the constitution, we were supposed to equal before the law," attorney Jacek Dubois pointed out. He added: "It turned out that some of us are better and some are worse: supporters of the "good change" are better and the "lesser sort"".
"The "lesser sort" has been subjected to hate speech, systemic hate, and they got blamed for all failures of the government. Consent to hate came from the top. It was Jarosław Kaczyński who ahd spoken about "scoundrels, traitorous mugs," and encouraged stigmatisation," Mr Dubois reminded.
Supreme Court Justice Michał Laskowski underscored that "changes made to disciplinary measures for judges have indeed strenghtened the role of the justice minister in such proceedings, and reduced at the same time the rights of judges in question".
"Reduced to such extent that in some points they are worse than the rights of a defendant in a criminal trial. There's a school of thought that it's an actual whip for judges," he argued.
Politically controlled prosecutor's office
The chairman of the Prosecutors' Association Lex Super Omnia, Krzysztof Parchimowicz, said that "politically controlled prosecutor's office had ceased to serve on behalf of the state, and has begun to represent the ruling political party".
"Such prosecutor's office persecutes political adversaries and protects those in power, it's an instrument used in political fight, and thus poses a threat to democracy. Prosecutor's office is not safeguarding the rule of law, it participates in its violation," said prosecutor Parchimowicz.