Joint declaration of the associations of judges: Themis, Pro Familia, the Polish National Association of Administrative Court Judges and the Association of Prosecutors, Lex Super Omnia, of 9 July 2019 on the suppression of the criticism of the pseudo-reforms of the justice administration
In support of the protection of the freedom of speech, the principles of transparency of public life and the right of citizens to a professional and independent justice administration, we adamantly protest against the repressive acts intended to gag the mouths of the people who publicly speak of the pathologies to which the politicization of the justice administration and the law enforcement agencies is leading.
We fully support the appeal of the Lex Super Omnia Association of 6 July 2019 regarding the revocation of the decision to post prosecutor Mariusz Krasoń to the prosecution office in Wrocław. Mariusz Krasoń is a prosecutor with a track record of almost 25 years, with an impeccable reputation, who has handled many of the most difficult investigations in the Kraków prosecution office. We consider the decision of the Prosecutor of the National Prosecution Office, the First Deputy of the Prosecutor General, National Prosecutor Bogdan Święczkowski to transfer and simultaneously degrade him from the Regional Prosecution Office in Kraków to the District Prosecutor’s Office in Wrocław, namely almost 300 km from his the place of residence, as the disgraceful and unjustified repression of Prosecutor Krasoń. The sequence of events unequivocally indicates that this is revenge for his involvement in the passage of a resolution of the Association of Prosecutors of the Regional Prosecution Office in Kraków of 15 May 2019, in which the authors referred to the illegal activities intended to restrict the independence of the prosecutors. Sending a well-deserved prosecutor hundreds of kilometres away from his place of residence as punishment purely in retaliation for his justified criticism is a manifestation of cowardice and abuse of power that gives rise to the worst possible historical associations.
We assess the disciplinary acts taken with respect to Barbara du Chateau, Judge of the Appeal Court in Lublin, as the press officer of that court, Judge Krystian Markiewicz, President of the Polish Judges’ Association “Iustitia” and Judge Dariusz Mazur, press officer of the Association of Judges “Themis”, after giving an interview on 3 September 2018 in the documentary named “Czarno na Białym” on the functions performed and the additional income earned by the newly-appointed Vice President of the Court of Appeal in Lublin, Jerzy Daniluk. The intervention of the Deputy Minister of Justice, Łukasz Piebiak resulted in this judge obtaining a housing allowance for being posted to the Court in Siedlce, where he did not perform any duties for six months. These circumstances indicate that the allowance was an undue performance awarded to the nominee of the ministry in exchange for political loyalty.
The payment of numerous fees to Judge Dariusz Drajewicz, who holds the post of Vice President of the Regional Court in Warsaw, Deputy Chairperson of the neo-NCJ, chairperson of the examining board conducting the attorney-at-law examination and member of the examining board for legal counsels, should be assessed in the same way, as he was absent from work for most of 2018, probably because of the huge number of his additional duties. Similarly, this time, the disclosure of pathologies in “Czarno na Białym” on 15 February 2019 resulted in disciplinary action with respect to Judge Marek Celej, and Małgorzata Kluziak, a retired judge.
These situations are related to the fact that people are currently being promoted to managerial positions without management experience and do not have any authority, whereas their positions are only legitimized by their subservience to the executive authority and personal relationships with members of the Ministry of Justice. These people are then given numerous functions for fees, which they are unable to perform properly.
After the amendments made to the Act on the Prosecution Service and the Act on the System of General Courts, having eliminated the contest procedure and the procedure of control by the authorities of the professional association, the Minister of Justice gained the right to arbitrarily appoint judges and supervisor prosecutors and simultaneously purged and made far-reaching staff changes in these positions. That is why we are witnesses of the situation in which the strength of the authority of the former court presidents is replaced by the authority of the strength of the Ministry of Justice, who has overwhelming influence on politicized disciplinary proceedings, as well as having powerful means of applying administrative pressure. We would like to point out that a bad example of the unauthorized combination of functions is flowing from above, as the current Minister of Justice – Prosecutor General Zbigniew Ziobro is simultaneously performing the function of prosecutor and member of parliament which is directly prohibited by Article 103, para. 2 of the Constitution.
Directing disciplinary actions at anyone disclosing pathologies which are eating away at the Polish justice system, instead of those who commit abuses while performing their functions, is a typical feature of authoritarian systems in which the scandals of supporters of the system of authority are “swept under the carpet”, while anyone disclosing them is repressed. We express our respect and simultaneously declare that we are prepared to help and support those for whom courage, professionalism, independence and honesty constitute the most important features of a public official.
We call on all judges and prosecutors who care about the correct functioning of the Polish justice administration not to succumb to the pressure and to disclose the pathologies caused by the politicization of the judiciary and the law enforcement agencies. Otherwise, the disappearance of criticism forced by intimidation will lead to a situation in which pathologies will become the norm, while the management of the justice administration will be based on institutional corruption and nepotism.
9 July 2019 News