Polish courts marred by communist-era holdovers: PM
PR dla Zagranicy
Some of those responsible for communist-era crimes in Poland were never brought to justice because the country’s court system remains marred by communist holdovers, the country’s conservative prime minister said on Sunday.
Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki speaks during remembrance ceremonies in the northwestern city of Szczecin on Sunday. Photo: PAP/Marcin Bielecki
Twenty-eight years since the fall of communism in the country, some of the former top officials who issued orders to police and soldiers to open fire on defenceless workers in the early 1970s have not yet been punished, Mateusz Morawiecki said.
He was speaking during Sunday’s ceremonies marking the anniversary of a communist-era massacre of workers in northern Poland 47 years ago.
In December 1970, the country’s former communist rulers ordered the army and police to open fire on protesting workers on the country’s Baltic coast, killing at least 45 and injuring more than 1,100.
Under Poland’s previous post-communist governments, “the justice system was largely a continuation of the previous [communist] system,” Morawiecki, whose ruling conservative party swept to power in 2015, said during remembrance ceremonies in the northwestern city of Szczecin on Sunday.
Earlier in the day, during commemorations in the coastal city of Gdynia, Morawiecki said that a "fight for a better, just future” for the country required that “all the issues from the past are explained and that all our heroes of those days are honoured.”
In an opinion piece for the Washington Examiner published on Wednesday, Morawiecki said that Poland’s judicial system is “deeply flawed” and that the country’s ruling conservatives were elected with a mandate to overhaul it.
In the so-called Roundtable Talks of 1989 between Poland’s communists and the democratic opposition, then-president General Wojciech Jaruzelski – “the man who ran Poland’s martial law government for the Soviets – was allowed to nominate an entirely new bench of Communist-era judges to staff the post-communist courts. These judges dominated our judiciary for the next quarter century. Some remain in place,” Morawiecki said in the opinion piece.
To this day, he added, “an elite council of 25, dominated by 15 judges on the appellate level or above, nominates all judges including their own successors.”
Source: TVP, IAR, PAP