26 listopada 2020

Financial Times: Suspended judge fights rearguard action over Polish judicial reforms


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„In the bitter five-year battle over the future of the Polish judiciary, judges have often been on the front line. But few more so than Igor Tuleya. Last week, the Warsaw judge, one of the most outspoken critics of a controversial judicial overhaul introduced by the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS), had his immunity […]


„In the bitter five-year battle over the future of the Polish judiciary, judges have often been on the front line. But few more so than Igor Tuleya. Last week, the Warsaw judge, one of the most outspoken critics of a controversial judicial overhaul introduced by the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS), had his immunity from prosecution revoked in relation to a highly political case three years ago, and was suspended from his duties. Prosecutors demanded the move so that they could file criminal charges against Mr Tuleya, alleging he had overstepped his powers by allowing journalists to hear and record his ruling on case relating to a disputed 2016 parliamentary vote.”

„Mr Tuleya dismisses the claims as false and says the move is designed to stifle dissent. “This is an attempt to intimidate judges,” he told the Financial Times in an interview at the central Warsaw court where he has worked for a decade. “And I think it is also about removing an inconvenient judge.” The softly spoken 50-year-old’s position is a testament to how much Polish politics has changed over that decade. He was appointed to the Warsaw court in 2010 by then-president Lech Kaczynski. Ten years on, Mr Kaczynski’s twin brother Jaroslaw, the PiS leader, is the driving force behind the party’s judicial changes. Now a colleague fetches a key for the room where the interview is to take place as it is not clear whether Mr Tuleya would be given it himself.”

„The removal of his immunity is both a message to his Polish colleagues and, Mr Tuleya suspects, a gesture of defiance “to European courts and the EU”. Over the past five years, Warsaw and Brussels have clashed repeatedly over PiS’s judicial changes, with the European Commission launching legal action over fears they undermine rule of law. Those tensions escalated last week when Poland and Hungary threatened to block the EU’s €1.8tn budget and recovery package after European officials struck a deal to link access to the funds to EU principles, including judicial independence.”

Text comes from the official Financial Times site. 

Full article: Financial Times: Suspended judge fights rearguard action over Polish judicial reforms