Poland: European Court finds removal of court’s vice presidents in breach of European Convention on Human Rights

The Polish government should immediately reinstate two judges removed from their posts in line with the newly released judgment of the European Court of Human Rights, said the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) today.

The European Court’s ruling, released on 29 June 2021, held that the removal of Judges Mariusz Broda and Alina Bojara from their posts as vice presidents of a regional tribunal by Poland’s Minister of Justice had violated their right of access to a court under article 6.1. ECHR, since their removal was ordered by the Minister without providing any motivation and possibility of appeal before an independent tribunal.

The ICJ and Amnesty International submitted a joint third-party intervention in the case to the Court highlighting the erosion of the independence of the Polish judiciary in contravention of international and European standards.

“This ruling is yet another indictment of the profound crisis of the rule of law in Poland”, said Massimo Frigo, ICJ Senior Legal Adviser. “Judges Broda and Bojara should be reinstated to their positions of court vice-president”.

“The Court has held that the removal of judges Broda and Bojara was based on legislative provisions that did not comply with the tenets of the rule of law,” said Massimo Frigo, “This is the result of years of legislation undermining the independence of the judiciary, that should be immediately repealed.”

The case concerns the premature termination of the two judges’ mandates as vice-presidents of the regional tribunal of Kielce in Poland. The two judges, who had been appointed to six-year terms in 2014, had their position revoked by the Minister of Justice in 2018.

The revocation was based on article 17.1 of the Law of 12 July 2017 modifying the Law on the Judicial System. This provision, presented and approved by the ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS), gave the Minister of Justice the power to revoke courts’ presidents and vice-presidents without justified grounds and with no possibility of appeal.

In an open letter of 5 February 2020, 44 ICJ Commissioners and Honorary Members denounced the recent legislative changes adopted by the Polish government threatening the role and the rights of judges and denouncing the risks faced by legal practitioners when fighting for the rule of law.


Massimo Frigo, ICJ Senior Legal Adviser, Europe and Central Asia Programme, t: +41797499949 – e: massimo.frigo(a)icj.org

NewsWeb stories