Justice minister wants top court to declare ECHR article 6 unconstitutional

The Polish justice minister and prosecutor general has asked the Constitutional Tribunal whether the European Court of Human Rights could evaluate the legality of the election of Poland’s top court's judges.

Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which Zbigniew Ziobro wants to be recognised as unconstitutional, reads in part as follows: "In the determination of his civil rights and obligations or of any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law."

The charge made by Ziobro concerns, among other things, an evaluation of the legality of the election of the top court's judges by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), in order to decide if the Constitutional Tribunal is an independent and impartial court established by law.

"The intention of the motion is not to depreciate Poland's international obligations stemming from this country's ratification of the European Convention on Human Rights," reads a statement justifying the motion.

According to the motion, the point is also to avoid a situation in which the ECHR's verdicts distort the original meaning of the convention's articles in a way that is not accepted by the convention member countries.

In Ziobro's opinion, the ECHR verdict of May 7, 2021, regarding a Xero Flor-Poland case "seems to look like this."

According to the Xero Flor, a Poland-based company, one of the Constitutional Tribunal judges examining its constitutional charge against Poland was unauthorised to do so since his election to the top court was illegal.

Xero Flor stated in its charge that this situation had violated its right to be heard by a court established by a law stemming from article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The ECHR ruled that in this case, article 6 of the convention had been violated.