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Newsletter Commissioner for Human Rights in Poland 23 - 27 July 2018

MAIN MATTERS

On 26 July 2018, the Commissioner for Human Rights appealed to President Andrzej Duda to veto the amendment to the act on courts. He reiterated that the acts contain solutions that threaten the constitutional right to a fair hearing of the case by an independent and impartial court. The amendment was signed by the president. (more)

This act means a further step towards subordinating the judiciary to politicians, said Commissioner for Human Rights Adam on 24 July during the Senate’s debate on the amendment. It is my duty to protest when the Constitution and the right to court may be violated, he added. The Senate adopted the amendment in an unchanged form. There were persons protesting in front of the Parliament building. (more)

The amendment to the act on courts raises the CHR’s serious doubts concerning the protection of civil liberties and rights. In his opinion for the Senate, the Commissioner wrote that the amendment would deepen the crisis with regard to the observance of the principle of independence of courts and the tripartite division of power. (more)

The recommendations of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) are in line with the CHR’s conclusions concerning steps required to ensure that Poland is a country free of torture. In the report on its visit to Poland, the Committee pointed out, inter alia, that detained persons should have the possibility to immediately contact a lawyer. It also recommended training for police officers on the rules of using teaser guns. The report should be read by representatives of the authorities, believes Adam Bodnar. (more)

The Commissioner is looking into the case of detention by the police of four persons who demonstrated in front of the Sejm building on 20 July 2018, and an injury caused to one of those persons. The CHR Office has requested information on whether the police is conducting any explanatory proceeding to determine whether the police actions were justified and correct. (more)

THE COMMISSIONER ON CITIZENS’ ISSUES

The system of incapacitation should be replaced with a system of supported decision-making, wrote the CHR to the Senate’s Human Rights, Rule of Law and Petitions Committee working on a petition to take a legislative initiative to abolish the system of incapacitation. (more)

All perpetrators of domestic violence, including those sentenced to unconditional imprisonment, should be covered by the obligation to attend a corrective and educational programme, believes the CHR who submitted to the Ministry of Justice again his appeal already submitted in 2017 (more)

The CHR requested Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki to require Minister of Culture Piotr Gliński to provide a reply concerning the implementation of the Constitutional Tribunal’s judgment against the so-called “small amendment” to the Act on Public Television, of December 2015. The Constitutional Tribunal considered the amendment non-compliant with the Constitution, e.g., within the scope in which it prohibits the National Broadcasting Council to take part in the appointment and dismissal of members of the management bodies of the Polish Public Television and the Polish Radio. (more)

The Commissioner is looking into the issue of the use by the police of pepper spray against protesters in the vicinity of the Presidential Palace on 26 July 2018. The persons protested against the amendment of the acts on courts. The CHR Office requested the police to provide detailed explanations concerning the justification for and legality of the use of pepper spray. (more)

After the CHR’s intervention, the District Court in Wrocław deleted from its rules and regulation the provision according to which the court building may only be entered by persons summoned to attend a trial or court session, and by persons who prove that they have an important matter to settle. (more)

The Commissioner has called on another court, the District Court in Lublin, to delete from its rules and regulations the provision according to which the court building may be entered only by persons summoned by the court or those who demonstrate a need to enter. (more)

Since 2014, the Commissioner has been requesting successive ministers of justice to determine, by way of a legislative act, the rights of court security personnel in the field of inspecting bags of persons who enter court buildings. The ministry informed either about relevant legislative works (in 2014) or about plans to start such works (in 2016). (more)

The fact that it is not mandatory for a public prosecutor to take part in proceedings concerning minor offences may limit the citizens’ constitutional right to court, warned the CHR. The aggrieved party has no support from a public prosecutor in such cases. This also weakens the position of the court as an impartial arbitrator, and may violate the rights of the accused party. (more)

The possibility for the Minister of Justice to formally object to the nominations of candidates for lecturers at the National School of the Judiciary and Public Prosecutors raises the CHR’s serious doubts as to its compliance with the Constitution, as it leads to excessive influence of the executive power on the staffing of the school. (more)

Improvement of living standards, introduction of cultural and educational activities, and longer stays in the recreation area: these are selected recommendations issued as a result of the CHR Office experts’ inspection visit to the National Centre for the Prevention of Dissociative Behaviours in Gostynin. (more)

The requirement to be a Polish citizen to become a member of the Jewish religious community in Poland raises the CHR’s doubts (more)