WARSAW (Reuters) – Poland’s government needs to do more to preserve judicial independence and avoid “undermining public confidence in it,” the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights said in a report published on Friday.
Since taking office in 2015, Poland’s eurosceptic Law and Justice (PiS) party has carried out judicial reforms that European Union authorities say threaten the rule of law.
Party - Blend - Spending - Rhetoric - Election
The party’s blend of social spending and nationalist rhetoric remains popular, however, and it is widely expected to win a national election due later this year.
In her report, commissioner Dunja Mijatovic was broadly critical of the government’s handling of judicial reform and added that the credibility of the Constitutional Tribunal, the guardian of the constitution, had been seriously compromised.
Accountability - Efficiency - Justice - System - Expense
“Improving accountability or efficiency of the justice system may not be pursued at the expense of judicial independence,” she said in a press release announcing the report.
“Members of the executive and the legislature have a duty to uphold the independence of the judiciary and to avoid undermining public confidence in it,” she said.
Comment - Report - Government - Criticisms - Judicial
In a comment on the report, the government dismissed her criticisms and said its judicial overhaul, which includes changes modifying the way in which judges are appointed, were conducted lawfully.
The government said all judges in the Constitutional Tribunal were appointed legally. “The Tribunal under the current President carries out its duties in line with the Constitution and the statutes,” the government said.
PiS - Reforms - Efficiency - Courts
PiS justifies its reforms by saying the efficiency of courts needed to be improved...
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