Newsletter 17 – 25 July 2017
Adam Bodnar was present throughout the parliamentary sessions devoted to the work on the bills on courts. He tried to explain the objections and indicated the threats to the rights of ordinary people, caused by the reform which was proceeded hastily, without consultations, and which covered three bills: on Common Courts, on the National Council of the Judiciary and on the Supreme Court.
The Commissioner spoke in the Sejm during the first reading of bill on the Supreme Court and during its third reading, just after the closure of the discussion and before the voting [the Commissioner’s speech]. He also took part in the late night session of the Senate Committee [more] and spoke at the Senate plenary session [more], presenting further arguments and reading out a letter of Czech judges regarding the threats to the Polish system of justice [more].
The Commissioner had raised his objections to the bill on the National Council of the Judiciary and the bill on the System of Common Courts a long time before [more], hence his appeal to the President to veto both acts. The Commissioner also raised objections to the bill on the Supreme Court [more].
„I believe that the recently generated great energy of the citizens may also be used to control staffing decisions in the judiciary sector at every level: the appointments of judges, court presidents, heads of court departments, spokespersons, etc. What should be ensured is the transparency of procedures, assessment of qualifications of candidates, explanations of unclear decision. Non-governmental organizations know how to do it, they have experience. It is important to combine this experience with the energy generated by the protests. Only in this way will it be possible to minimize the possible negative effects of the Act on the System of Common Courts”, said Adam Bodnar having learned about the Presidential veto of the two acts (on the Supreme Court and on the National Council of Judiciary) and about the possible approval, by the head of state, of the Act on Common Courts.
“At the same time, I would like to emphasize that the Polish society, taking part in the protests regarding the independence of courts, has given the courts a large credit of trust. The society defended the courts but it also sees the shortcomings of the system of justice, which are sometimes a result of poor work organization, as well as improper communication with citizens. There are a lot of documents developed by non-governmental organizations, with regard to how to improve the work of courts without waiting for parliamentary acts’ amendments. This is about the approach of individual judges, their understanding of judge’s role and service provided to the society. The judges should pay off their debt to the society as soon as possible” [Commissioner Adam Bodnar’s speech].
The Civil Rights Congress may be a place for a social debate. It was originally planned as an event aimed at sharing reflections on the state of observance of human rights in Poland on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights. However, the recent events added a new dimension to the event. The Congress (planned to be held on 8-9 December) will contain over 30 panels focused on main issues in the field of human rights. The Polish NGOs have been invited by the Commissioner to take part in the event’s organization. Participation of renowned Polish and foreign experts and scientists, as well as Polish high-level politicians is expected. The draft agenda has been drawn up. Now the CHR is awaiting comments, opinions and proposals of panels that would be of greatest interest [Beta-version Congress website, including a participant questionnaire].
The problem concerns persons who bought real property in 2007-2008, sold it before the expiry of a 5-year period calculated from the purchase date, and failed to submit a statement of their permanent residence, for at least 12 months, in the purchased real property. The persons are now required by tax offices to pay the outstanding tax on the property [more].
The provisions of the Act on the Chambers of Physicians and Dentists makes it impossible for a person to be re-entered on the list of members of the Physicians and Dentists Professional Association and to have the right to pursue the profession of a physician or dentist if the person has been removed from the list due to disciplinary penalty imposed on him/her. The Commissioner wrote a letter to the Minister of Health regarding the issue [more].
The website rpo.gov.pl contains a calendar of the upcoming meetings with the Commissioner for Human Rights and of events held under his patronage.
Information about the Commissioner’s work on cases relating to citizens’ issues is available under the “What we do” tab. An interactive map indicates cases in which the Commissioner has intervened.