Jozef Iwulski unlawfully sentenced a young oppositionist under martial law. For this, IPN (Institute of National Remembrance) prosecutors want to charge him with communist crimes. Despite this, he continues to rule at the Supreme Court. “A person who was sentenced to many years in prison for proclaiming the demand for democracy cannot hold this position,” opposition activists who were sentenced by judges like Iwulski during the communist era write in a special appeal.
Iwulski began adjudicating in the late 1970s in Cracow, and later also handed down sentences in Warsaw’s military courts. A judge who wore a uniform in the courtroom was linked to the WSW, this is the military security, and ruled for many years under the communist regime. Also, under martial law. In 1982 he convicted Leszek Wojnar, then a 21-year-old worker. Iwulski signed a three-year prison sentence for distributing leaflets.
However, there were more victims of Iwulski. “He did everything to humiliate me,” Janusz Kudelko recalled in Gazeta Polska, who in December 1982 stood before the Military Garrison Court in Cracow. He and Jozef Pawlus were convicted of distributing underground pamphlets.
For many years Iwulski suffered no punishment. Hardly, in July 1990, he became a judge of the Supreme Court. Only “Gazeta Polska” revealed his past.
Only thanks to his immunity has Iwulski not yet heard the charge of communist crimes that IPN prosecutors want to bring against him. On the other hand, thanks to the support of his fellow judges, he continues to rule in the Supreme Court. As the “Gazeta Polska Codziennie” revealed, he has been appointed to hear a number of cases, and his docket is filled for many weeks.
Such a situation outrages former oppositionists who, risking their freedom, health and even their lives, opposed the communist dictatorship, for which they went to court in the People’s Republic of Poland and often ended up in jail because people like Iwulski convicted them. That’s why they strongly demand that Iwulski stop passing sentences on behalf of the Republic of Poland.
“As former oppositionists fighting for the same ideals that 21-year-old worker Leszek Wojnar put on his leaflet, we appeal to Judge Iwulski to waive his immunity and stop adjudicating until he submits himself to the judgment of an independent court of free Poland,” they wrote in a special appeal published by “Gazeta Polska Codziennie.”
“Democracy,” “Truth,” “Free Poland” – such demands were placed on the leaflets by a 21-year-old worker from Oświęcim Leszek Wojnar. He made the leaflets himself, cutting the letters out of plastic notebook covers using a roller. He was sentenced to three years in prison for this act on December 21, 1982. One of the judges who signed off on this shameful sentence was Second Lieutenant Jozef Iwulski, formerly an employee of the military security service. In 1992, as a result of an extraordinary review brought by the president of the Supreme Court, Leszek Wojnar was acquitted. The court found that even under the draconian martial law, he was not guilty of a crime.
It was not a crime, as Judge Iwulski put it, “to publicly mock the Polish People’s Republic by depicting in a leaflet the outline of a map of Poland surrounded by barbed wire.” Many of us, fighting for a free Poland at the time, became acquainted with this barbed wire not only figuratively, when judges such as Judge Iwulski used it to isolate us from society.
According to the Branch Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation in Cracow, the decision to illegally imprison a young boy for three years was a communist crime. This is the charge it wants to bring against Jozef Iwulski, so that today, although unfortunately with great delay, his actions will be judged by an independent court.
There is only one obstacle – Jozef Iwulski is today a judge of the Supreme Court and is protected by immunity. The decisions to waive the judge’s immunity and suspension are still not final. As a result, as “Gazeta Polska Codzienna” revealed yesterday (November 3, 2022 – editor’s note), Judge Iwulski continues to issue sentences.
According to the law of the Supreme Court, a judge of this court can only be a person of “impeccable character.” Moreover, the court’s tasks include an “extraordinary review” of final court decisions to ensure their compliance with the principle of a democratic state of law realizing the principles of social justice. Thus, a person who was sentenced to many years in prison for proclaiming the demand for democracy and/or calling for the realization of social justice cannot perform this function.
As former oppositionists fighting for the same ideals that 21-year-old worker Leszek Wojnar put on his leaflet, we appeal to Judge Iwulski to waive his immunity and cease ruling until he submits himself to the judgment of an independent court of free Poland. To the European Commission and other European Union bodies that are interested in the state of the rule of law in Poland to redirect their attention to the fact of human rights violations by the judge – a former functionary of the services of a totalitarian state, subordinate to Moscow. And to organizations with democracy in their name today, to take the side of the victim, fighting for democracy at a time when it cost a lot, and not the side of the perpetrator of her harm.
Joanna Duda-Gwiazda, Andrzej Gwiazda, Jan Pietrzak, Krzysztof Wyszkowski, Piotr Andrzejewski, Zofia Romaszewska, Stanisław Mikołajczak, Adam Borowski, Andrzej Kołakowski, Anna Kołakowska, Paweł Piekarczyk, Fr. Jarosław Wąsowicz SDB, Ryszard Majdzik, Agnieszka Wojciechowska van Heukelom, Janusz Kenic, Ryszard Patzer, Krystyna Wojciechowska, Bogdan Stasiak, Maryla Ścibor-Marchocka, Andrzej Szkaradek, Piotr Hlebowicz, Jan Leszek Franczyk, Zdzisław Szczur, Stanisław Brzeźniak, Adam Macedoński, Witold Tyborowski, Edwin Klessa, Henryk Krzyżanowski, Andrzej Judek, Tomasz Jasiński, Michał Stręk, Stanisław Markowski, Stanisław Oskierko, Mieczysław Ślesicki, Marian Małecki, Roman Nisiewicz, Bogusław Dzido, Roman Bielański, Andrzej Michałowski, Stanisław Fudakowski, Krzysztof Sosnowski, Czesław Nowak, Jurek Langer