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    The Venice Commission issued their opinion on a judicial reform bill

    Yesterday, The Venice Commission issued their opinion on a judicial reform bill currently debated in the Polish Senate. According to the Commission, the law proposal constitutes a threat to the independence of the courts. In response, Polish Minister of Justice, Zbigniew Ziobro stated that the activities of the Venice Commission is a form of neocolonialism on the part of the “old states” of the European Union towards Poland. The Commission is an advisory body to the Council of Europe and its opinions are not binding.

    In the January 16, 2020 document, the Venice Commission opinion suggests that some of the changes proposed in the December 2019 amendments to the Common Courts Law and the Law on the Supreme Court might be viewed as limitations to the independence of the Polish courts. The opinion also suggests that the rights of Polish judges might be seriously limited in regards to probing the Polish law whether it complies with the European law.

     ”What profoundly comes out of that document, which in my opinion is a parody by that international body, is segregation. The content the authors are proposing goes in line with the opinions I have heard before from the Ministers of Justice of the so-called „Old EU countries”, which are that they represent the more mature democracy, they represent the wiser and higher level of the judicial culture, they are more civilized and have a clearer view on the basis of democracy and therefore they might do more than the Poles. I have always replied in an assertive and firm way that first of all brought those high end ministers or other EU officials down to Earth, explaining that the tone of such superiority is associated negatively by Poles with many events of Poland’s history. In addition the tone many of them use is shameful for a serious representative of the old Europe”- says Zbigniew Ziobro, Minister of Justice.
     

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