Monday, 18 June 2018

Polish prosecutors face political pressure, they say in Brno

14 September 2017

Brno, Sept 13 (CTK) - Prosecutors in Poland face political pressure, and some of them are degraded and intimidated for their stances, Krzysztof Parchimowicz, head of the Polish association of prosecutors Lex super omnia, told journalists in Brno on Wednesday.

The association wants to work out a proposal of a new law on prosecution that would make it independent of political power, Parchimowicz said.

The prosecution must not be dependent on politicians who would make radical personnel changes in it once in four years, he said.

Parchimowicz had to move from the former general prosecution to a regional prosecution office in Warsaw.

The government of Beata Szydlo (Law and Justice, PiS) pushed through a prosecution reform in 2016. The post of prosecutor general has newly merged with the post of justice minister. Current Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro thus gained wide personnel powers and he immediately started using them.

Lex super omnia wants to convince politicians that the fundamental principles of the operation of the prosecution should be set in the constitution. It also defends prosecutors who face pressure.

The selection of prosecutors and their career advancement was transparent and had clear conditions in Poland it the past, while now all is in fact in Ziobro's hands, the representatives of the association said.

"Such personnel policy causes strong frustration among prosecutors," said Katarzyna Kwiatkowska, who had to move from the former appeals prosecution office to a regional prosecution office in Warsaw.

Czech Association of State Attorneys head Jan Lata said the interferences into the Polish prosecution are alarming.

The powers of the justice minister in Poland are wider than those of the supreme state attorney in the Czech Republic, Lata said. The minister "can intervene into any open case, which is something unthinkable," he said.

In the Czech Republic, higher attention was paid to the controversial reforms of Polish courts.

There are 5800 prosecutors in Poland. Lex super omnia has about 170 official members. "However, it is not a group of the degraded who want to take revenge," Parchimowicz said.

The situation around the judiciary in Poland has been tense for some time. The European Commission initiated legal proceedings over a new Polish law on general courts. This was the only one of three laws, which Polish President Andrzej Duda did not veto in summer. Duda vetoed the bill on the Supreme Court and the Judicial Council.

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