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Police break up protest that blocked National Judicial Council session

PR dla Zagranicy
Victoria Bieniek 27.08.2018 13:39
Police tried to remove a group of people who had blocked the entrance to a National Judicial Council meeting in Warsaw on Monday in protest against Poland’s Supreme Court reforms.
Police remove protesters. Photo: PAP/Jakub KamińskiPolice remove protesters. Photo: PAP/Jakub Kamiński

The judicial council was on Monday scheduled to consider candidates for vacancies in the Supreme Court after more than 40 positions became available since the reforms entered into effect, forcing judges aged 65 and over -- including the chief justice -- into retirement.

Meanwhile, the European Court of Justice on Monday was to start considering questions from some of the Polish Supreme Court’s judges.

They previously asked whether the reforms could affect the independence of the court and its judges and if the new laws break the European Union’s anti-age-discrimination rules.

The European court’s decision could result in the Polish reform being “suspended”, according to those Supreme Court judges.

But Poland’s Deputy Prime Minister Jarosław Gowin told some Polish media that the government would ignore a European Court of Justice decision if it were to render the Polish reforms ineffective.

Poland's Supreme Court reforms, introduced earlier this year, have been slammed domestically and abroad.

Last month, the European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm, launched a procedure against Warsaw over its reform of the Supreme Court, saying that it undermined “the principle of judicial independence, including the irremovability of judges”.

The move followed the European Commission last December taking the unprecedented step of triggering Article 7 of the EU Treaty against Poland, stepping up pressure on Warsaw over judicial reforms and possibly paving the way for sanctions being imposed on Poland.

But Poland's governing Law and Justice (PiS) party, which came to power in late 2015, has said that sweeping changes were needed to reform an inefficient and sometimes corrupt judicial system tainted by the communist past, accusing judges of being an elite, self-serving clique often out of touch with the problems of ordinary citizens. (vb)

Source: PolskieRadio.pl, IAR, PAP

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