of the Board of the “Themis” Association of Judges of 2 December 2020.
on illegally pressuring judges of the District Court in Poznan
The Board of the “Themis” Association of Judges adamantly objects to the illegal and unacceptable attempts by Deputy Prosecutor General Bogdan Święczkowski and Deputy Disciplinary Commissioner of the Judges of the Ordinary Courts Przemyslaw Radzik to exert pressure on the judges of the District Court in Poznań in connection with the examination by the judges of the complaint regarding the preventive measures taken by the Prosecutor’s Office against Roman Giertych.
Bogdan Święczkowski gave an interview on 24 November 2020, in which he unequivocally negatively assessed the work of several judges of the Poznań court, accusing them of not having read the files, described the decisions in which the judges set aside the petitions for preventive measures as “bizarre” and announced that the prosecutor’s office will break the court’s resistance. Such words spoken by the Deputy Prosecutor General (recently referred to as the Minister of Justice, he exercises administrative supervision over the courts and has extensive powers in disciplinary proceedings against judges) extend beyond the scope of admissible criticism, are clearly seen as a means of pressuring judges and simultaneously constitute a breach of the presumption of innocence.
It is no coincidence that, of the hundreds of hearings taking place every week on the application of preventive measures, Commissioner Radzik demanded documents related to precisely the case of former Deputy Prime Minister Roman Giertych, who has been critical of the government’s actions for a long time and, as an active attorney-at-law, he represents several opposition politicians in court proceedings. The request for these documents and the initiation of an investigation (which may turn into disciplinary proceedings) several days before the scheduled date of the hearing at which the defence attorney’s complaint against the preventive measures of the prosecutor’s office is to be considered, is a clear attempt to exert direct pressure on the judges adjudicating in the particular case and simultaneously an unimaginable abuse of power.
The paradox is that all this is happening at the same time that representatives of the Polish government are trying to convince the EU Court of Justice and the European Commission that the independence of the Polish judiciary is not at risk.
In a state governed by the rule of law, judges cannot make decisions about civic rights and freedoms with a gun to their heads in the form of disciplinary proceedings, where the politicians of the ruling camp are holding their finger on the trigger. Such methods of conduct related to the unlawful persecution of political opponents are typical of authoritarian regimes. So far, they have been unthinkable in a European Union member state that is to constitute an area of freedom, security and justice in accordance with Article 3 (2) TEU.
We simultaneously express our solidarity and respect for the persecuted judges of the District Court in Poznań.
Fellow judges, we are with you.