Polish justice minister defends new rules to discipline judges
PR dla Zagranicy
New Polish measures to discipline judges are designed to fight "pathological" behaviour and are less political than those in neighbouring Germany, the country's justice minister said on Wednesday.
Poland's Justice Minister and Prosecutor-General Zbigniew Ziobro. Photo: PAP/Tomasz Gzell
Zbigniew Ziobro was speaking to reporters after the European Commission earlier in the day said it was launching an infringement procedure against Warsaw over new disciplinary rules for judges, the latest step in a protracted row over alleged rule-of-law breaches in Poland.
Ziobro told reporters that, contrary to what the EU’s executive argued, the new Disciplinary Chamber in Poland’s Supreme Court had been established to deal with lapses among judges, including cases of theft.
He added that previous procedures were inadequate to discipline such judges.
Asked by journalists about the European Commission’s decision, Ziobro said that Poland's National Council of the Judiciary (KRS), a powerful body that is tasked with selecting judges for the Disciplinary Chamber, “is much less dependent on political factors than is the case in Germany."
The European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm, said in a statement on Wednesday that it had launched an infringement procedure by sending a "letter of formal notice" to Poland regarding the country's "disciplinary regime for judges.”
It argued that the new rules undermined the independence of Polish judges "by not offering necessary guarantees to protect them from political control."
The Polish government has two months to reply, the European Commission said.
Poland's governing Law and Justice (PiS) party, which came to power in late 2015, has said that sweeping changes are 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.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said in 2017 that his country’s judicial system was “deeply flawed” and that his ruling conservatives were elected with a mandate to overhaul it.
Source: PAP, TVP Info