PACE committee calls for the rejection of Polish candidates for European court
The Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has recommended the rejection of all the Polish candidates for judges at the European Court of Human Rights.
According to a statement by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe released on Wednesday, the committee appointed to evaluate candidates recommended the rejection of the entire list of Polish candidates.
It explained that the procedure for selecting candidates in Poland does not meet the standards required by the Parliamentary Assembly and the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.
The committee also recommended restarting the entire election procedure.
The move is set against a backdrop of heightened tensions between Poland and the EU. Brussels has attacked the Polish government over a controversial overhaul of the judicial system, and has taken Poland to the European Court of Justice alleging it is undermining the rule of law.
The list of Polish candidates includes Aleksander Stępkowski, spokesman for the Supreme Court, Professor Elżbieta Karska and Agnieszka Szklanna, a Council of Europe expert.
But according to Aleksander Stępkowski, the list has been "rejected due to alleged procedural flaws which were committed during its preparation." He added that none of the three candidates took part in a hearing "so it cannot be said that they were assessed."
A special team set up at the Foreign Ministry headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Piotr Wawrzyk is responsible for organising the selection of the Polish judges.
Adam Bodnar, the state ombudsman, has argued that the candidates were selected by a team composed only of people designated by the executive authority. He has also said that the team held its meetings behind closed doors.