Opposition leader dismisses Disciplinary Chamber as political tool

The Disciplinary Chamber of Poland's Supreme Court is not a court but a group that tries to maintain Justice Minister Zbignew Ziobro's control over courts, and to intimidate Polish judges, the leader of Civic Platform, Poland’s biggest opposition party, said on Thursday.

Borys Budka went on to say that the Disciplinary Chamber also planned to expel judges from their profession if they did not wish to be subservient to Ziobro's authority.

On Wednesday, a sitting of the Supreme Court's Disciplinary Chamber lasting almost 12 hours considered a prosecutor's motion to detain Judge Igor Tuleya and force him to attend a meeting with the prosecutor's office.

Investigators want to question him and charge him with revealing information about a legal procedure. The chamber's sitting will reconvene on Thursday afternoon.

Tuleya faces disciplinary proceedings for allowing media access to a court hearing in 2017 in which he was ruling on a case sensitive to the government. His refusal to be questioned by prosecutors has come to symbolise the rift between the government and some judges over a controversial judicial overhaul that has created tension with the EU.

Speaking about the matter at a press conference on Thursday, Budka said that, "the illegal activities of the Disciplinary Chamber" had been confirmed by a legally binding ruling of the European Court of Justice.

"What is happening at the moment in the Supreme Court building is not the activities of a court," Budka said. "It is a group that has no right to adjudicate on Polish judges."

Budka went on to dismiss the Disciplinary Chamber's sitting as a "farce."

"Regardless of whether that sitting lasts an hour or a hundred hours, what they issue will not be a court ruling and will have no legal weight," he said. "That is not a court. It is a group that tries to maintain Ziobro's governance over courts, a group that wants to intimidate Polish judges and a group that aims to expel from the profession people who do not want to submit to its authority."

He said anyone harmed by such a "quasi-verdict" would be vindicated and that all those who breached Polish law and the provisions of the constitution and European law would be sentenced by an independent court.