Judges for Judges and Professor Laurent Pech have submitted a joint third party intervention before the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Judge Igor Tuleya.
The case of Tuleya v Poland concerns the multiple disciplinary proceedings initiated against a Polish judge, who is well-known among the judges and by the public at large for his defence of the rule of law in Poland.
Five main submissions are made:
- The existence of systemic and generalised deficiencies as regards the rule of law, including the unlawful nature of the multiple legislative changes made by Polish authorities in particular as regards the disciplinary regime of judges, has been well established by both the European Commission and the European Parliament but also by the European Court of Justice and national courts.
- There is now a well-established pattern whereby Polish authorities, including the courts they have captured such as the “constitutional tribunal” or the new bodies they have created such as the so-called “disciplinary chamber”, deliberately ignore national but also EU orders and rulings they do not approve of, while the new disciplinary regime for judges is simultaneously used as a system of political control of the content of judicial decisions and a tool of intimidation.
- The privacy rights of the Polish judges who have publicly criticised the authorities’ alleged “judicial reforms” have been deliberately and systemically violated, in particular via the criminal leaking of judges’ personal information and files, without Polish authorities taking any active step to remedy the situation or sanction those who have initiated and/or participated to these leaks.
- European and international standards when it comes to freedom of expression of judges not only protect their right to speak up but also imply a duty to speak up to defend judicial independence in a situation where their country is experiencing a systemic threat to the rule of law as evidenced by the activation of exceptional monitoring mechanisms by both the EU and the Council of Europe.
- The right to an effective remedy before an independent tribunal must be considered as being no longer guaranteed for any judge targeted by current Polish authorities, due to multiple legislative changes enabling the executive to interfere at will throughout the entire structure and output of Poland’s justice system as well as the ability to punish any judge at will on account of their political views and/or content of their judicial decisions.