The Romanian Judges’ Forum Association expresses its deepest concern about the refusal of the Polish authorities to respect the Rule of law and independence of the judiciary.
Our Association constantly drew attention upon the recent skidding related to breaking the independence of judges or the freedom of expression (see press releases, http://www.forumuljudecatorilor.ro/index.php/archives/3923 or http://www.forumuljudecatorilor.ro/index.php/archives/3312).
Moreover, these skiddings from the rule of law were also acknowledged by the Court of Justice of the European Union, as well as by other relevant international bodies.
For example, in nowadays, the Polish law allows ordinary court judges to be subjected to disciplinary investigations, procedures and sanctions on the basis of the content of their judicial decisions, including the exercise of their right under Article 267 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union to request preliminary rulings from the Court of Justice of the EU. Moreover, the new disciplinary regime does not guarantee the independence and impartiality of the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court, which is composed solely of judges selected by the National Council for the Judiciary, which is itself politically appointed by the Polish Parliament. Furthermore, the new disciplinary regime does not ensure that a court ‘established by law’ will decide in the first instance on disciplinary proceedings against ordinary court judges. Instead, it empowers the President of the Disciplinary Chamber to determine, on an ad-hoc basis and with an almost unfettered discretion, the disciplinary court of first instance to hear a given case brought against an ordinary court judge. The new regime no longer guarantees that cases are processed within a reasonable timeframe, allowing the Minister of Justice to keep charges pending over ordinary court judges through disciplinary officers appointed by the Minister. The new regime also affects ordinary court judges’ right of defence. In short, judges are not insulated from political control and thus judicial independence is violated.
In this context, our Association has supported unconditionally the efforts of Polish judges and their associations, concerning the fight for the independence of the judiciary.
That is why in order to give further moral support for the Polish judges and their march in defense of the Rule of law, Romanian judges and prosecutors will go out in front of the Romanian courts to show solidarity with their Polish colleagues on January 10, 12 a.m. (in Bucharest, Cluj, Brașov and other main cities).
We call on colleagues from the Member States to support this movement of Polish magistrates, as breaking the independence of the judicial system in one of these States endangers the rule of law in all States.
”When democracy and the fundamental freedoms are in danger, the judge’s reserve duty becomes subsidiary to the indignation obligation.” (Declaration on Judicial Ethics, adopted by the General Assembly of the European Network of Judicial Councils, held in London on June 2-4, 2010)
The Romanian Judges’ Forum Association
January 8, 2020
judge Dragoș Călin, Court of Appeal, Bucharest, co-president
judge Lucia Zaharia, Court of Appeal, Bucharest, co-president
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