Thousands rally against court reforms in Poland

Geronimo Vena
Luglio 17, 2017

Police estimated the crowd at 4,500 people, while the city authorities said there were more than 10,000 protesters at the demonstration, organised by the KOD pro-democracy movement, which is critical of the governing conservatives' policies on courts as well as other areas such as media and education. It might prove futile, however, and the bill is likely to be passed by the PiS dominated chamber as the Law and Justice Party has enjoyed a parliamentary majority since 2015.

Activists brandished European Union and Polish national flags chanting "shame, shame" and "in defense of the courts" as they descended onto the streets of central Warsaw to rally against the draft bill.

Senator Bogdan Borusewicz, from the Civil Platform (PO) main opposition party, said that "both bills destroy judicial independence". "The reform gives the politicians power over the judges", said Barbara Dolniak of the opposition Modern party.

The new measures, spearheaded by the ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS), will empower Parliament and the justice minister to appoint judges to the Supreme Court.

A Polish opposition party said Saturday it had urged leaders of worldwide organizations to send observers to parliament to oversee voting on a law that would force the entire Supreme Court into retirement and impose ministerial control over the selection of judges.

Both texts were adopted earlier this week by the lower house of parliament and now they need only to be signed by President Andrzej Duda, who is closely allied with the PiS, to become law.

He said that "far-reaching, radical actions" were required in the judiciary, which he said had not been reformed since communist times. The tribunal is the body charged with ruling on whether laws passed by the parliament are in accordance with the constitution.

Europe's pre-eminent human rights organization on Thursday called Poland's vote to give lawmakers the power to control the selection and regulation of judges a "major setback for judicial independence". Current judges of the court could be retired under a PiS-backed bill.

PiS supporters argue that the 1989 agreement that led to a gradual - and peaceful - end to communism in Poland didn't go far enough and in effect shielded ex-communists from prosecution after 1989.

The poles are protesting against the change of the judicial system.

About live reported the correspondent of Channel 24 from Warsaw.

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