WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Thousands of judges and prosecutors in Poland have signed an appeal urging state and justice authorities to heed recent rulings by Europe’s top court and immediately suspend a chamber disciplining judges.
Poland’s government has taken no action on the ruling by the European Court of Justice, which said last week that Poland’s way of disciplining high judges contravenes EU law and undermines judicial independence. The court said it must be changed.
It also told Poland’s right-wing government, which shaped the procedure, to immediately suspend the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court. The EU is threatening financial sanctions if this not done.
Poland, instead, has ignored the rulings, insisting that it is solely responsible for shaping its judiciary and justice system.
The appeal to implement the European court of Justice rulings has gathered at least 3,500 signatures of judges and prosecutors, the independent OKO.press portal reported. On Wednesday, Supreme Court Judge Wlodzimierz Wrobel posted it on Facebook with the signatures of 47 of the court’s current and 42 retired judges.
“We, undersigned, Supreme Court judges appeal to all state bodies for a full implementation of the decisions of the Court of Justice of the European Union …. including the immediate suspension of the activity of the Supreme Court’s Disciplinary Chamber,” the appeal says.
It says a refusal to abide by the EU court’s ruling would be a violation of the law of the 27-member bloc which Poland joined in 2004, but would also go against Poland’s national constitution.
Under the right-wing government that won power in 2015, Poland has been in an intensifying dispute with the EU as the government asserts more political control over the nation’s judicial system.
Poland’s Constitutional Court ruled last week that that temporary injunctions issued by the EU court regarding the national judiciary were nonbinding. One of them was an injunction for the suspension of the body disciplining high judges.
However, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said last week that he would not exclude the possibility of a review of the Disciplinary Chamber, saying it has not met all the expectations placed in it.
Supreme Court President Malgorzata Manowska, a government loyalist, has recently spoken in favor of removing the flaws that the EU sees with the disciplinary body or with the political control of judicial appointments.
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