All posts by Redactie

New Report Colombia Caravana: confronting impunity, protect lawyers and judicial independence

The theme of the VII International Caravana of Jurists was the need for judicial independence to combat impunity and guarantee access to justice and dignity for victims and survivors and for human rights lawyers and defenders to be able to carry out their work in safety and with dignity. The VII Caravana travelled to Colombia from 20 to 28 August 2022, four years since the previous one,  rather than the usual two years owing to pandemic-related travel restrictions in 2020. The delegation visited the departments of Bolívar (Cartagena), Norte de Santander (Cúcuta), Santander (Bucaramanga) and Valle del Cauca (Cali).

The delegations are coordinated alongside Colombian lawyers’ associations with which there is a long history of collaboration, such as Asociación Colombiana de Abogados de Derechos Humanos (ACADEHUM); Colectivo de Abogados José Alvear Restrepo (CAJAR); Corporación Colectivo de Abogados Luis Alberto Carlos Pérez (CCALCP); Colegio de Abogados de Cartagena; Corporación Justicia y Dignidad (Southwest Region) (CJD); Corporación Agencia Nacional Étnica; Equipo Jurídico Pueblos (EJP); Equipo Jurídico Humanitario 21 N and MOVICE.

The VII Caravana comprised 18 legal professionals and human rights experts from Canada, France, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Spain, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The VII Caravana was co-organised with the support of the Fédération des Barreaux d’Europe (FBE) , Global Justice Association, Human Rights Committee: The Law Society England & Wales, International Association of Lawyers -Institute for the Rule of Law ( UIA-IROL ) , International Observatory of Lawyers at Risk (OIAD), Judges for Judges , Lawyers for Lawyers , Lawyers’ Rights Watch CanadaPeace Brigades International-Canada (PBI-Canada) and Working Group Switzerland-Colombia (ASK).

You can read the full Report here English. With your support, we hope to provide a Spanish translation as soon as possible.


Dinsdag 30 mei 2023, 16:30 uur: Opkomen voor de rechtsstaat

Opkomen voor de rechtsstaat: dat is in ieders belang
Uitnodiging bijeenkomst dinsdag 30 mei 2023 (16:30-19:00 uur)
Atrium, Spui 70 te Den Haag


In de aanloop naar de Week van de Rechtsstaat die van 30 mei t/m 3 juni 2023 plaatsvindt, is de Poolse fototentoonstelling Sprawiedliwość (Gerechtigheid) met foto’s van fotograaf Piotr Wójcik te zien in het Atrium Den Haag van 27 mei t/m 16 juni 2023. Onze stichting heeft deze tentoonstelling georganiseerd in samenwerking met het College voor de Rechten van de Mens.


De gerenommeerde fotograaf Piotr Wójcik (Picture Doc Foundation) vertelt in zijn documentair fotografisch project Justice/Gerechtigheid het verhaal van onafhankelijke rechters, aanklagers en advocaten, die een belangrijke stem zijn in het debat over de Poolse rechtsstaat.

Wójcik portretteerde vertegenwoordigers van deze verschillende juridische beroepen die, omdat ze niet toegeven aan de druk van de autoriteiten, dagelijks geconfronteerd worden met de gevolgen van hun standvastigheid. Kom deze inspirerende tentoonstelling bekijken om te begrijpen hoe burgers met hun keuzes vorm kunnen geven aan de rechtsstaat.


Op dinsdag 30 mei 2023 vindt er in het kader van deze tentoonstelling vanaf 16:30 uur in het Atrium een bijeenkomst (Engelstalig) plaats met als thema:

Opkomen voor de rechtsstaat: dat is in ieders belang.



De volgende sprekers zullen een bijdrage leveren:

Monika Frąckowiak (rechter in Polen, lid van Poolse rechtersvereniging Iustitia en vice-voorzitter van Europese magistratenvereniging Medel) over de huidige situatie van onafhankelijke en onpartijdige rechters en aanklagers in Polen;


Prof. dr. John Morijn (bijzonder hoogleraar recht en politiek in de internationale betrekkingen en universitair docent Europese mensenrechten aan de Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, tevens lid van het College voor de Rechten van de Mens) zal spreken over de Europese en Nederlandse relevantie van uitdagingen voor de rechtsstaat en de noodzaak deze beter uit te leggen;


Studenten van het ‘Our Rule of law’ team zullen met ons hun ideeën delen omtrent: Wat jonge Europeanen voorstellen om de rechterlijke onafhankelijkheid en de rechtsstaat beter te beschermen. Aanwezig zullen zijn Anna Walczak, Zuzanna Uba en Elene Amiranashivili.


Tijdens de borrel (start circa 17:45 uur) zal de fotograaf Piotr Wójcik een toelichting geven bij zijn foto’s.


Wij nodigen u van harte uit voor deze bijeenkomst op dinsdag 30 mei 2023 (16:30 – 19:00 uur).

In verband met de catering verzoeken wij u ons vóór 16 mei 2023 te laten weten of u dan aanwezig zult zijn.

U kunt zich opgeven door deze e-mail te beantwoorden (Ja, ik kom graag op 30 mei naar de bijeenkomst met ….perso(o)n(en)).

Deelname is gratis maar een donatie aan Rechters voor Rechters wordt buitengewoon op prijs gesteld (dat kan ook makkelijk via onderstaande QR-code).



Graag tot ziens bij onze bijeenkomst op 30 mei!


Hartelijke groet namens het bestuur,



Tamara Trotman en Esther de Rooij



UPDATE Rule of Law Lawsuit against the Polish Recovery and Resilience Plan

Press Release / Update

In a notable procedural decision, the General Court will hear arguments on the substance of the Rule of Law Lawsuit against the Polish Recovery and Resilience Plan, reserving objections on standing raised by the Council to be dealt with later. The Court has moreover triggered the Expedited Procedure for the case.

On 28 August 2022, the four main European judges’ organisations filed lawsuits in the EU General Court for annulment of the Council’s approval of the Polish Recovery and Resilience Plan (“RRP”).[1] The judges’ organisations argue that the RRP contains inadequate safeguards (so-called “milestones”) regarding the rule of law.[2] In a rare move, the case is being treated in an expedited procedure, last used for the RT France case.

In addition, on 27 February 2023, the judges’ organisations brought another lawsuit,[3] challenging the Financing and Loan Agreements entered into by the Commission on the basis of the Council’s approval of the RRP.[4] These agreements contain details of how the EU funds will be paid out to Poland by the Commission. This additional lawsuit is being brought as a precaution because the Council has contested the admissibility of the judges’ organisations’ case, notably on the basis that it is the Financing and Loan Agreements which constitute “the individual legal commitment within the meaning of the Financial Regulation” that technically needs to be the target of an annulment action. The lawsuit, which is directed against the Commission, is accordingly based on five identical pleas to the original lawsuit against the Council. A sixth ground is added, as the Commission has drafted the agreements in terms which could allow payments even where the flawed rule of law milestones have not been met – and thus without even minimal remedial action on the part of Poland.

In an Order of 31 March 2023, served on the parties this week, the General Court considers that, notwithstanding the Council’s arguments on admissibility, it is appropriate to continue the proceedings on the substance. The Court will accordingly rule on the admissibility arguments only after having heard arguments on the substance of the cases. The Council was given until 26 April 2023 to lodge a defence. By letter date 5 April 2023, the Council sought an extension of this time limit to 5 June 2023 and suggested that the Court reconsider its decision to apply the expedited procedure. The Court granted a 1-week extension to 3 May 2023. No hearing date has been set yet, but it can be expected to be convened before the summer vacation.

The judges’ organisations are in particular concerned that the “milestones” approved by the Council deviate from and are inconsistent with the case-law of the Court of Justice concerning the Disciplinary Chamber of the Polish Supreme Court. While the Court required unlawfully imposed disciplinary sanctions to be immediately set aside, the Council’s decision would authorise Poland to require wrongly sanctioned judges to commence potentially cumbersome “review proceedings” to have their names cleared. While it seems that all the unlawfully suspended judges have in the meantime been able to return to work,[5] there are still numerous sham disciplinary proceedings pending against judges and a vast range of previous sanctions that have not been set aside and continue to put these and other judges under undue pressure.


The four main European organisations of judges are the Association of European Administrative Judges (AEAJ), the European Association of Judges (EAJ, a regional branch of the International Association of Judges – IAJ), Rechters voor Rechters (Judges for Judges), and Magistrats Européens pour la Démocratie et les Libertés (MEDEL). They are represented by Carsten Zatschler SC and Emily Egan McGrath BL, Barristers, assisted by Anne Bateman and Maeve Delargy, Solicitors of Philip Lee LLP, Dublin. The support provided by The Good Lobby Profs is gratefully acknowledged.

The deterioration of the rule of law in Poland has been conclusively established in a range of judgments of the Court of Justice of the EU and the European Court of Human Rights, as well as in numerous documents of the Parliament, the Council and the Commission. It is therefore not possible to guarantee that the EU funds[6] will be spent as intended under the RRP. It is uncontested that effective judicial protection is a prerequisite for the functioning of the internal control system required by the applicable legal rules[7] and that without an adequate internal control system, no payments are legally possible.


[1] See previous Press Release:

[2] The cases were registered as Cases T-530/22 to T-533/22 and subsequently joined:

[3] Case T-116/23:

[4] Commission Ref. Ares (2022)6239700 and Ares (2022)6239884, disclosed to the public on 24 January 2023 in response to a request from the judges’ organisations.

[5] Judge Maciej Ferek returns to adjudication, the new Chamber of the Supreme Court has lifted his suspension:

[6] The Council authorised the payment of financial support to Poland encompassing up to some 23.8 billion euros of non-repayable support and up to some 11.5 billion euros of loans.

[7] Article 22 of the RRF Regulation.

Four European organisations of judges sue EU Council for disregarding EU Court’s judgements on decision to unblock funds to Poland

The four main European organisations of judges:

  1. Association of European Administrative Judges (AEAJ)
  2. European Association of Judges (EAJ, a regional branch of the International Association of Judges – IAJ)
  3. Rechters voor Rechters (Judges for Judges)
  4. Magistrats Européens pour la Démocratie et les Libertés (MEDEL)


represented by Carsten Zatschler SC, Emily Egan McGrath BL, Barristers, assisted by Anne Bateman and Maeve Delargy, Solicitors, of Philip Lee LLP,

have filed today before the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) a lawsuit against the EU Council over its decision to unblock Recovery and Resilience funds for Poland.

Read the full press release (PDF)

TONIGHT ONLINE – The March of a Thousand Gowns two years later

Sovereignty and rule of law – the role of the courts in postpandemic era
30th of March 2022

moderator: judge Bogdan Jędrys (Association of Polish Judges „Iustitia”)

Zoom link below!


  • judge dr hab., ass. professor Katarzyna Gajda – Roszczynialska (Association of Polish Judges „Iustitia”,
    ICBWS, University of Silesia in Katowice)

Continue reading TONIGHT ONLINE – The March of a Thousand Gowns two years later

Solidarity with the Ukrainian colleagues and Ukrainian citizens

Together with basically the rest of the world we are deeply shocked by the military invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation. The human rights of people across Ukraine are put at grave risk.

Judges for Judges specifically expresses its solidarity with the Ukrainian colleagues and Ukrainian citizens who have contributed to strengthen the rule of law in Ukraine over the last years.

We encourage everybody to help and support the victims of this war in any way possible. Continue reading Solidarity with the Ukrainian colleagues and Ukrainian citizens

Resolution of the Board of the Polish Judges Association Iustitia of 9 February 2022, concerning the suspension of Judge Joanna Hetnarowicz-Sikora

Joanna Hetnarowicz-Sikora

The Board of the Polish Judges Association Iustitia has received with highest indignation the news on the suspension of Judge Joanna Hetnarowicz-Sikora for a judicial decision. This action, undertaken during court session, when she was forbidden to enter the courtroom, has placed the judge alongisde criminals, insulting her dignity and undermining her professional credibility. Initiation of disciplinary proceedings for a judicial decision by the deputy Disciplinary Prosecutor Michał Lasota and the order to suspend the judge issued by the Minister of Justice-Prosecutor General Zbigniew Ziobro, executed by the president of the District Court in Słupsk Agnieszka Leszkiewicz constitute a direct infringement of the decisions of the Court of Justice of the European Union of 14 July 2021 (case C-204/21) and of 15 July 2021 (case C-791/19), stating that it is forbidden to hold judges responsible for their judicial decisions, including the examination of a status of a judge, as disciplinary delicts. Continue reading Resolution of the Board of the Polish Judges Association Iustitia of 9 February 2022, concerning the suspension of Judge Joanna Hetnarowicz-Sikora

Ondertussen in Frankrijk

Rechter Vincent Sizaire tijdens de staking op 15 december 2021

Ofschoon op het eerste gezicht de zorgen van onze Franse collega’s in het niet vallen bij wat er in bedreigde rechtsstaten als Polen gaande is, is ook daar de situatie verre van rooskleurig.

Op 23 augustus 2021 pleegde een jonge rechter, Charlotte G., zelfmoord. Zij maakte deel uit van wat wij de vliegende brigade zouden noemen. Haar naaste collega’s twijfelden er niet aan dat het de aanhoudende werkdruk was geweest die haar had doen besluiten om uit het leven te stappen. De verontwaardiging hierover werd allengs breder gedeeld.  Charlotte was immers bepaald niet de enige voor wie doorwerken in de weekenden en vakanties eerder regel dan uitzondering was. Continue reading Ondertussen in Frankrijk