Threats to the rule of law in Europe (UN statement)

The ICJ today put the spotlight on serious threats to the rule of law in Hungary, Poland and Turkey, speaking at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.The statement, made during general debate on situations that require the Council’s attention, read as follows:

“The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) would like to bring to the Council’s attention the serious threats to the rule of law in Hungary, Poland and Turkey.

In Poland, the Government has adopted legislation to arbitrarily force into involuntary “retirement” one third of its Supreme Court Justices, delivering a fatal blow to the independence of the judiciary, already strained by past reforms.

In Hungary, multiple legal reforms have weakened judicial independence and effectively criminalized the activities of certain human rights NGOs and curtailed their financing.

Finally, in Turkey, consolidation of emergency measures in ordinary law, regressive constitutional reforms, and the mass dismissal of judges and prosecutors have removed essential protection for the independent functioning of the judiciary.

The ICJ is further concerned by the protest ban against the Saturday Mothers to hold weekly protests in memory of their disappeared family members, in breach of their right to freedom of assembly.

The ICJ is alarmed at the escalation of such threats to the very basic tenets of the rule of law in Europe, without specific action being taken by this Council to address them.

The ICJ urges the Council to give attention to these developments, which indeed form part of a broader global attack on the rule of law,[1] and to keep under observation the human rights situation in these countries.”

[1] See ICJ, “The Rule of Law under Global Threat” (statement in general debate on the oral update of the High Commissioner), 11 September 2018:

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