Value of democracy and rule of law
The characteristics of a true democracy are the right of citizens to choose their government representatives, a government with limited powers, majority rule, minority rights, and effective checks and balances on the government.
Even a democratically elected government must respect human rights, therefore rights of citizens stand above rights of the state. Handing over judicial system under political control is completely unconstitutional as it violates democratic separation of powers. According to country’s most prominent lawyers, Poland has now have been stripped of independent constitutional tribunal and therefore stripped of any defense from unconstitutional laws turning violently against their people.
Poland, which was an important player in the European Union for the past decade now is becoming more and more marginalized. The country is now subject of vast criticism by the Venice Commission and ultimately subject to resolutions of European Commission calling the country twice to return to the path of modern democracy and rule of law.
“The rule of law is one of the common values upon which the European Union is founded. … Recent events in Poland concerning in particular the Constitutional Court have led the European Commission to open a dialogue with the Polish Government in order to ensure the full respect of the rule of law.” — European Commission issues recommendation to Poland — Europa.eu Jul 27, 2016
The European Union could freeze member country Poland’s voting rights unless it changes course and agrees to stick to the rule of law - European Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen
Despite internal political dispute the international opinion is clear that the country violently turns its back democracy. Leading Polish legal authorities recognise that the ruling party disregards a series of constitutional tribunal rulings.
The government refused to publish and recognize a series of tribunal orders, explaining to the public that it cannot be kept hostage of the legal system and therefore cannot respect rulings of the judicial system over the democratic mandate it received from the people of Poland.
Bold statements triggered protests across the country at a scale unprecedented for the last decades. Government unti-judicial agenda also spurred criticism from the country top legal authorities:
“Currently, the Constitutional Court, it is an institution which is not known to the Polish legal system,” — said Andrzej Zoll, former head of the Constitutional Court in Poland (21st December 2016)
“The president (of Poland) should not sign the new law on the Constitutional Court, but instead respect the constitution. That is his duty” — said Andrzej Rzepliński, , former head of the Constitutional Court in Poland (19th December 2016)
“Judges are very tired of this situation. Maybe they already had enough, but on the other hand, we will be appeal to the judges not to give up and defended the fortress to the end.” — said Jerzy Stępień, former head of the Constitutional Court in Poland (28th November 2016)
“If constitution will be treated as just a piece of paper. And if it is so treated, it can happen that, for example one day parliament adopts the extension of its own term for two more years” — Adam Strzembosz, the first president of the Supreme Court, former chairman of the State Tribunal (7th November 2016)
“The conflict around constitutional tribunal is not a political dispute. It is about whether the country will continue to be following the rule of law” —Marek Safjan. Former of the Constitutional Court in Poland (29th October 2016)
Futher to that, Polish version of democracy proceeds with bold plans to hand over whole judicial system to hands of politicians.
Poland ended an era when citizens could rely on art. 2 of the Constitution — defining the principle of a democratic state ruled by law — Małgorzata Gersdorf — First Chairman of the Polish Supreme Court
Yet the government already handed over control over publi cprosecutors to the ministry of justice. Attorney General Zbigniew Ziobro ordered investigation against judges, including the judge handling the case concerning the death of his father. This is bypassing of the Constitutional immunity of judges, and the violation of their independence — protests the National Judicial Council.
“Justice can not function under conditions of intimidation” — National Judicial Council