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 Waldemar Żurek.
The case of Żurek v Poland concerns the premature termination of a judge’s mandate as a member of the National Council of the Judiciary, his dismissal as spokesperson for that organ, and the alleged campaign to silence him.
Four 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, has been well established by both the European Commission and the European Parliament but also by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) and national courts.
- The existence of systemic and generalised deficiencies as regards the rule of law in Poland has revealed a now well established pattern whereby Polish authorities, including the courts they have captured or the new bodies they have created, deliberately ignore national but also EU rulings they do not approve of.
- European and international standards when it comes to freedom of expression of judges not only protect their right to speak up to defend the rule of law and judicial independence but also imply a duty to speak up 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 (CoE).
- Due to systemic and generalised deficiencies regarding the independence of the Polish judiciary identified by EU and CoE bodies as well as the ECJ and a number of national courts in EU Member States, it is submitted that the right to an independent tribunal must be considered as being no longer guaranteed for any suspected person brought to trial in Poland or more broadly, any person targeted by national authorities, due to multiple legislative changes enabling the executive to interfere at will throughout the entire structure and output of Poland’s justice system.