In July 2017 Poles stood up for their right to judicial independence.
In the course of few days, democratically elected parliamentary majority decided to change the rules of how judicial appointments are made, how the local and the supreme courts are run. The changes were aimed to make the judges dependent on and answerable to the politicians. This, in practice, would mean the end of judicial independence. The ruling party claimed this was necessary to conduct further court reforms. Poles decided it was an assault on their freedom instead.
Every day for eight days, despite the holiday break, thousands of ordinary citizens walked out onto the streets and squares of their towns and villages. Burning candles in front of the courts of the common and Supreme courts have become the symbol of the protest.
In this way, Poles supported the independence of the judiciary from political power as well as the judicial independence. Protests were taking place in the front of the courts everywhere, even in the smallest towns. Poles have shown an unprecedented understanding of the courts as a guarantee of their independence and freedom. July’s protest resulted in a partial victory. President Andrzej Duda vetoed two of the three bills, blocking coming into force the amendments in regards of the National Council of Judiciary of Poland and the Supreme Court. However, he signed the bill which changes the system of common courts. Poles will not give up their freedom. They will always monitor closely the ruling party’s decisions. Victory, even if only partial, proves that civic protest makes sense.
Freedom, Equality, Democracy.
Please sign the petition, which KOD and other groups are directing at President Andrzej Duda to address the wording of the bills concerning the judiciary under Duda’s supervision. Share it with your friends.
Please feel free to use the printable leaflet in the link below.
5xYES to independent judiciary. Political courts will deprive you off your freedoms!
- YES to independent judiciary and judicial independence. Instead of courts supervised by the General Prosecutor, let’s have courts working for the good of the citizens. Instead of judges instructed by the politicians, let’s have judges answerable to the Constitution and the letter of the law.
- YES to peaceful courts. Instead of justice dished out by the politicians, let’s allow the jury of our peers to be the judges, wherever possible.
- YES to civic supervision of the courts. Instead of National Council of the Judiciary of Poland (KRS) elected by the political parties, let’s have the KRS elect judges with the support of the citizens.
- YES to irremovability of judges. Instead of politicians interfering in the selection of judges presiding on the Bench, let’s guarantee irremovability of judges, who adjudicate by the letter of the law.
- YES to civic oversight of the judges. Instead of hidden political disciplinary investigations, let’s have transparence with findings of the disciplinary investigations, where judges broke the Constitution or the letter of the law, published and available online.