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Poland's Supreme Court opposes government in constitutional wrangle

PR dla Zagranicy
Nick Hodge 27.04.2016 08:25
Poland's Supreme Court adopted a resolution on Tuesday saying that rulings of the Constitutional Tribunal should be respected, in spite of a deadlock with the government.
Poland's Supreme Court, Warsaw. Photo: PAP/Marcin ObaraPoland's Supreme Court, Warsaw. Photo: PAP/Marcin Obara

Rulings of the Constitutional Tribunal are made binding when they are published by the prime minister, but PM Beata Szydło has declined to do so since the tribunal rejected a raft of reforms on 9 March.

Tuesday saw the General Assembly of the Supreme Court Judges, whose resolution was applauded by former Justice Minister Borys Budka, of the opposition Civic Platform party.

I am glad that the voice of the third power in Poland, the judiciary, is uniform and universal, as nothing strengthens the sense of respect for the law more than when judges speak with one voice,” he said.

However, Prime Minister Beata Szydło of the governing Law and Justice party took a contrary view.

I am surprised by the stance of the Supreme Court,” she said.

I have the impression that things are very bad when judges become entangled in a political struggle,”she added.

On 13 April, the European Parliament adopted a resolution warning that the “effective paralysis” of Poland's Constitutional Tribunal endangers the rule of law, democracy and human rights in the country.

Law and Justice's reforms, which were voted through parliament in December, changed the order in which cases are heard, and insisted on a two-thirds majority in reaching verdicts rather than a simple one, among other factors.

The tribunal declared the reforms would prevent it from working “reliably and efficiently.”

Meanwhile, the councils of the cities of Warsaw, Łódź and Poznań have also resolved to respect the Constitutional Tribunal's decisions, in spite of the fact that the government is not publishing its rulings. (nh/pk)

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