The ICJ condemned today the forced retirement of 27 out of 72 judges of the Supreme Court of Poland in defiance of the most basic principles on the independence of the judiciary.
“The forced retirement of a third of the Supreme Court under the new law on the judiciary amounts to an arbitrary dismissal of judges” said Róisín Pillay, Director of the ICJ Europe and Central Asia Programme, “It is a flagrant breach of a basic tenet of the independence of the judiciary, the security of tenure of judges.”
The government claims the law and its implementing measure of forced retirements are aimed at improving the administration of justice. However, the ICJ considers them to be a deliberate attempt to destroy judicial independence and install executive control.
“We call on the Polish authorities to follow the EU’s recommendations, abolish this draconian legislation and immediately reinstate the Supreme Court justices. Not to do so strikes at the very core of judicial independence”, said Róisín Pillay.
“Universal principles of judicial independence guaranteeing security of tenure were developed long ago exactly to safeguard the kind of abuse of political authority driving this forced retirement measure, whereby judges would serve at the pleasure of the government of the day,” she added.
The ICJ considers that the implementation of the new law on the Supreme Court and the dismissal of the 27 Supreme Court Justices directly contravenes the security of tenure of judges and, hence, the principle of judicial independence, as expressed in the UN Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary, Council of Europe standards, the European Court of Human Rights’ jurisprudence and the rule of law principle of the EU Treaties.
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