Poland must take swift action to solve judiciary issues says European court

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Poland must act quickly to solve problems surrounding its National Council of the Judiciary (KRS).

The court was responding to a complaint filed against Poland by two Polish judges who had applied for posts but had failed to get recommendations from the KRS.

They also took their case to the Supreme Court, which dismissed the appeals.

The two judges claim that the Extraordinary Control and Public Affairs Chamber, and the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court, which had dealt with their appeals, were not impartial and independent since they were made up of judges recommended by the KRS.

On Monday, the ECtHR ruled that Poland must take prompt action to remedy the National Council of the Judiciary’s lack of independence. It also said the Extraordinary Control and Public Affairs Chamber of the Supreme Court was not an "independent and impartial tribunal established by law."

Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro said Poland was treating the ruling as "an element of a wider political action conducted against the Polish state," and argued that in order to abide by the court's ruling, Poland would have to recognise that it is "a democracy under special supervision," and that, "there is a limit to how such a verdict can be taken seriously.

"We do not care about it, at least not in such a way as to draw such conclusions as the judges adjudicating these bizarre decisions would wish," Ziobro told a Monday press conference.

The justice minister went on to argue that the decision's justification meant that there are mature democracies and other democracies "that are not yet mature enough to exercise all their rights, including for citizens to be able to decide on the form of the third power (the judiciary - PAP)."

Commenting on the decision, Sebastian Kaleta, a Polish deputy justice minister, wrote on Twitter: "The ECtHR has issued another ruling in which it challenges the National Council of the Judiciary, based on the bizarre principle that there are states with mature democracies, like Germany, which can have extremely political ways of choosing judges and countries, and states like Poland, which need guardianship."

Kaleta also wrote that "by stating that the Extraordinary Control and Public Affairs Chamber of the Supreme Court, which heard the cases, was not 'a court established by law,' it is questioning the results of the 2019 and 2020 elections in Poland, which were approved by this Chamber of the Supreme Court."