Poland's top court declares ECHR article 6 unconstitutional

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) cannot evaluate the legality of the election of judges to Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal, the tribunal itself has ruled.

In its judgement, made on Wednesday, the Tribunal appears to challenge Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees the right to fair trial by an "independent and impartial tribunal established by law."

"The provision of the European Convention on Human Rights, in as far as it grants the ECHR the competence to assess the legality of the election of judges of the Constitutional Tribunal, is inconsistent with the Polish Constitution," the Constitutional Tribunal ruled on Wednesday.

The judgment was issued following a motion by Poland's justice minister and prosecutor general, Zbigniew Ziobro. In July, he asked the tribunal whether the ECHR could evaluate the legality of the election of judges to the constitutional court.

Ziobro questioned the ECHR's right to assess the legality of the elections of judges to the court, which in turn could allow it to question the Tribunal’s independence and impartiality.

According to Ziobro, the intention of the motion was 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.