Ewa Siedlecka, ”Conservative blog” of „Polityka” weekly
Link to the original publication: https://siedlecka.blog.polityka.pl/2020/02/28/tak-sie-dzieje-polexit/
Igor Tuleya, one of the icons of resistance against the politicization of the courts, is to be accused of abuse of powers. The allegation is so absurd that it would not stand up in any court. But the prosecutor’s office has an excuse to ask for waiver of his immunity. This means that he will be removed from judicial activity for many years.
The day after the announcement of this information, the Secretary of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Audun Halvorsen announced that Norway is withdrawing from cooperation with the Polish ministry and transferring nearly PLN 300 million to it. Namely he said: „In the light of recent events in Poland it is clear that the Norwegian authorities will not sign the agreement with Poland in the justice sector on financing from EOG funds. This is a strong signal for the Polish authorities, which demonstrates the Norwegian Government’s concern for the rule of law and independence of the courts in Poland”.
PLN 300 million is a significant amount of money. And a big shame. Similarly as when the Irish court asked the Court of Justice of the European Union whether it could give an EAW prosecuted drug dealer to Poland, since the impartiality and independence of our justice system is questionable. Like a few days ago, when the chairman of the European Network of Councils of the Judiciary announced his intention to expel the Polish neo-KRS from this organization.
That’s how – „softly” – Polish exit is happening. Not only from the European Union, but from a group of countries based on common values and trust in general.
With the „reforms” of the justice system, PiS claims that we have the right to create a system of our own. Depriving judges of office can no longer be justified by discretion.
Igor Tuleya has been waiting for this accusation for over two years – since he announced a decision ordering the prosecutor’s office to resume the investigation into the so-called column chamber voting in the Sejm. He pointed out, inter alia, that the testimonies of the witnesses: Deputy Marshal Terlecki and MP Pawłowicz, who admitted that PiS intentionally blocked the opposition from voting and submitting motions, were not taken into account. Then Tuleya reported to the prosecutor’s office about 230 PiS deputies, including Terlecki, Prime Minister Szydło and Prime Minister Morawiecki, of suspected false testimony. His notification was based on contradictions in the testimonies and the prosecution’s findings.
PiS does not forgive such things. One can only wonder why the „implementation” of judge punishment has started so late.
The criminal prosecution made by the prosecutor’s office is contrary to the law and logic. They accuse the judge that the order and reasoning ordering the initiation of discontinued proceedings was openly announced and there were journalists who informed the public about everything. They classify a judge’s crime as „disseminating unauthorized messages from pre-trial proceedings before they were disclosed in court proceedings” (Article 241 para. 1 of the Penal Code), or unlawful disclosure of information he has become familiar with in connection with his function.
The allegations are contrary to the law, which says that the judge decides whether or not the court session is public (Article 95b par. 1 of the Code of Criminal Procedure: „The court session is held in public, unless the law provides otherwise or the president of the court or the court orders otherwise”), and it is the judge who decides what he will reveal and not reveal in the course of the proceedings he is the host of. Tuleya decided that due to the importance of the case and public interest, the court meeting was public – and agreed to be registered by the media (Article 357 para. 1 of the Code of Criminal Procedure: „The court allows representatives of mass media to make video and audio recordings using equipment during the proceedings’). The materials of the investigation he referred to were not classified.
Such an indictment would not persist in front of any court. But executive doesn’t care. It is not about convicting a judge, but about depriving him of his immunity until the case is resolved. Which is a tantamount to prevent him from judging until the statute of limitations, that is, five years from the act plus an additional five from the initiation of the investigation against the judge.
Prosecutors who are fully subordinated to the PiS authorities will take care for this. And if a prosecutor thought to discontinue this bizarre investigation, he or she could expect a delegation to a distant prosecutor’s office, such as Mariusz Krasoń, or a degradation, such as prosecutor Małgorzata Kalecińska, until Thursday the head of the Wrocław Old Town District Prosecutor’s Office, after she ordered in December last year detention of former priest Jacek Międlar on charges of inciting for persecution based on nationality, (he called for arming „with firearms, organizing in squadrons and commandos” against the „name changing plague” to stop „the return of international Jews with their gifts – terror deviants, persecution of patriots, floods of blacks and Arabs”).
Igor Tuleya is to be the next – after Paweł Juszczyszyn suspended in the ruling. And it probably won’t end there.
Suspensions and waivers of immunity are to be ruled by the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court. The same, which a month ago was indefinitely suspended by the resolution of the three joint chambers of the Supreme Court. The decisions of the Disciplinary Chamber are therefore ex lege invalid, and Tuleya says he will not appear in front of it, if summoned. Just as Juszczyszyn did not appear. The presidents of the two courts in which Juszczyszyn adjudicates – district and regional in Olsztyn – however, recognized the decision of the suspended Disciplinary Chamber and removed him from adjudication. What will the President of the Regional Court in Warsaw Joanna Bitner do if there is an unlawful decision to deprive judge Igor Tuleya of immunity?
We’ll see. For now, the First President of the Supreme Court Małgorzata Gersdorf, who presided over the composition of the three joint chambers of the Supreme Court when adopting the resolution and who is absolutely bound by this resolution, ignores her own ruling and sends cases to the Disciplinary Chamber, as reported by “Gazeta Prawna” two days ago.
This is how Polish justice looks today. In this situation, it is really not surprising that the Norwegian government does not trust it and refuses money. Director of the Norwegian Judicial Administration Sven Marius Urke told the daily ”Aftenposten”: „Poland simply wants to transform the courts into a political tool. No other country in Europe has such explicitly negative changes”.
Paradoxically, Polish judges have never been so aware of the ethos and determined to defend the right to an impartial court in the Third Polish Republic. Not only against their own interest, but even heroically. Knowing, like Judges Tuleya or Juszczyszyn, that revenge of political power is inevitable.