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Czech minister voices concern about Polish judiciary reform

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Prague, July 19 (CTK) – Czech Justice Minister Robert Pelikan has sent a letter to his Polish counterpart, Zbigniew Ziobro, voicing concern about Poland’s draft judiciary reform now under discussion and urging Ziobro to reassess the bill on the supreme court which the Sejm passed in first reading on Tuesday.

The Czech Justice Ministry released the text of Pelikan’s letter to the media today.

The European Commission (EC), too, has criticised Poland over the controversial reform, as has Czech Constitutional Court chairman Pavel Rychetsky.

“I was concerned at learning about the planned reforms of the Polish supreme court, including the termination of the mandate of all its judges,” Pelikan wrote in the letter.

“I believe that radical and flat solutions can hardly enhance the desired stability, independence and effectiveness of any court,” he wrote.

“I am aware of the current distribution of forces in the Polish Sejm, but still I propose that you once again thoroughly consider whether to pass a bill on the supreme court in its current form,” Pelikan wrote, alluding to the strong position of the Polish ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party.

Independent judiciary is crucial for an effective system of courts, Pelikan added.

Rychetsky told iRozhlas.cz server that the legislative and executive powers in Poland are trying to take control of courts and strip them of independence.

“A hypothesis or even suspicion inevitably emerges that this general attack on the judicial power simultaneously means a general attack on basic pillars of a democratic law-abiding state in Poland,” Rychetsky said.

EC First Vice-President Frans Timmermans told journalists in Brussels today that the bill discussed by Sejm markedly increases the threat to the rule of law in Poland.

He said the moment has drawn nearer for the EC to propose that the EU member countries state that Poland seriously and permanently violates the values the EU is based on.

This would for the first time in history open the path to punishing a member country by stripping it of some voting rights.

rtj/dr/kva

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