Report from the KOD’s visit to the session organised by ‘New Judges Association‘ in Ratzeburg, Germany.
KOD was represented by Jarek Marciniak, member of the Executive Board of KOD and Katarzyna Mortoń, KOD Foreign Affairs Representative. The most important topic discussed was the situation of the judiciary in Poland.
KOD representatives explained in detail on the events concerning the Constitutional Tribunal, including the KOD’s legislative initiative. The representatives highlighted that the existing Constitutional Tribunal is no longer an institution outlined in the Polish Constitution but a body functioning outside the rule of law. Another important matter was the bill on the National Council of the Judiciary of Poland, whose aim is to politicise the institution and further deconstruction of separation of powers. The delegates relayed to the German judges, how dangerous the Law and Justice’s (PiS) proposed legislation was, taking into consideration that the National Council of the Judiciary of Poland remains a guarantor of integrity and autonomy of the courts of law.
KOD outlined the tactics of PiS i.e. to influence various aspects of the social and public life by implementing an array of legislations. In the course of a two hour discussion, KOD representatives also referred to the global context of the decline of democracy in Poland, its causes, the crisis of neoliberalism, multilateralism, people’s inability to understand the complexity of the world and geopolitics.
Together with the German judges, KOD considered possible solutions. Effective communication with the citizens and the partnership of the politicians to highlight the demands of the reality would be a significant improvement. One of the solutions here would be higher social sensitivity.
At the same time, KOD pointed out the necessity for a change in the quality of politics as a whole, this also relates to the former ‘political elites’, whose behaviour contributed to the victory by the populists now. The representatives told the judges about KOD, the organisation’s structure and its work as well as its long and short-term objectives. KOD, despite the challenges ahead, has undoubtedly been a phenomenon in the public sphere. Apart from the protests, they have built a socially engaged community.
Katarzyna and Jarek explained that the significant element of the fight against authoritative attempts of the government, is for the activists to continue their learning processes, to direct the human resources and to change strategies and tactics in line with the developments. An important element is to keep the balance between professionalisation, which is necessary for precise and effective work and the upward move and autonomy of local activists.
Present at this meeting were among others, the judges from the local, regional and administrative courts of Schleswig-Holstein land in Germany. German judiciary and in particular, systemic solutions to the problems of the politics touching the judiciary, was an exceptionally interesting subject for the representatives. Next step is to start cooperation with the German judges in order to exchange information on good practice! The representatives were invited as a result of the legislative initiative prepared and presented by KOD in the Polish Sejm. Organisation of the event was entirely in the hands of the hosts.