Legally, the performance of Adam Bodnar’s duties after the end of his term of office remains constitutional, while in the legal fiction of the Law and Justice (PiS) party, it will probably be enforced to deprive him of the tools to perform them. Polish women and Poles will be left without an ombudsman.
As representatives of civil society organizations, we oppose the hostile takeover of the office of the Ombudsman by the ruling parliamentary majority in Poland. We do not accept the de facto making decisions in regards to our rights and freedoms by the politically dependent Constitutional Tribunal.
Civil Development Forum (FOR) presents the fourth report on the crisis of the rule of law in Poland. This part deals with the restoration of the rule of law, reversal of Law and Justice’s policies and reforms of the justice system that are needed in the future.
Polish laws on abortion are the strictest in Europe. The government refuses the right to safe abortion to people with wombs, allowing for abortion tourism and self-induced miscarriage. This wasn’t enough for religious fundamentalists in the Polish parliament.
The Polish government’s war with both Brussels and a significant part of the Polish population over the rule of law is against Poland’s national interests. On October 26, the European Parliament adopted a resolution criticizing the Polish Constitutional Tribunal’s decision to ban over 95% of legal abortions in Poland.
On October 22, Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal ruled that abortions for fetal abnormalities violate the Constitution, effectively imposing a near-total ban on abortion. Tribunal’s president Julia Przyłębska said that allowing abortions in cases of fetal abnormality legalized “eugenic practices“.
The longer bad blood is circulating in the body, the sicker we get. The same applies to judiciary. The longer we allow politicians to control the courts, to appoint judges, pressure them, the more difficult healing the judiciary will get.
For over three decades, the position of the Constitutional Tribunal seemed to be solidly grounded in the Polish institutional landscape and the pluralistic public discourse. However, with the recent demolition of the Tribunal, we are faced with an end of an era.
In January 1982, after the martial law was introduced, Professors of the Warsaw University Tomasz Dybowski, refused to shake hands with Professor Sylwester Zawadzki – the then Minister of Justice – addressing him in the following manner: “for me, you are no longer a professor”. Now, it is high time to bring such gestrures back.
President Andrzej Duda has just signed the act passed recently by both the Polish parliament (o, hail, the parliamentary majority of Law and Justice!) and the Senate (yay! another session held at 3am!) that is to alter the way in which Constitutional Tribunal operates. So now instead of 5 independent judges we’ll have 15 (thus 13 will be necessary to make a binding decision) judges of somewhat dubious background while all claims will be scrutinized according to the chronological order in which they have been filed. Sounds sound, but is it really?