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    Former Communist Era Judge Conducts Judicial Activities While Suspended: National Council of the Judiciary Expresses Deep Concern

    Yesterday, the National Council of the Judiciary adopted a common position regarding former WSW officer Jozef Iwulski, who is “undertaking adjudicatory activities at the Supreme Court in a situation in which he has been suspended from office”. It was also recalled that Iwulski was appointed as a judge of the Supreme Court with a “significant formal defect”.

    The NCJ, in its position paper, “expressed deep concern about the fact that Supreme Court judge Józef Iwulski is undertaking judicial activities in a situation where he was suspended from his duties by a resolution of the Supreme Court of 2 July 2021”. The Council stressed that “the concern is all the more serious” as Iwulski is ruling in a case from which SC judge Marcin Łochowski was excluded “for failing to meet the requirements of independence and impartiality” regarding the circumstances of his appointment by the current NCJ.

    The Council also recalled that the SC had allowed Iwulski – a former officer of the Internal Security Service, a judge of the communist era – to be brought to justice on charges of committing a crime constituting a communist crime that is also a crime against humanity. This is the charge the Institute of National Remembrance prosecution wants to bring against Iwulski.

    “The resolution of the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court stated that the accumulated evidence shows beyond any doubt that SSN Jozef Iwulski was a member of the panel which on 21 December 1982 handed down the sentence of absolute imprisonment to Leszek Wojnar, an activist of the NSZZ Solidarność trade union, and there is a justified suspicion that by issuing the above sentence, Judge Józef Iwulski used a provision formulated in violation of the principle of defining an offence in order to impose a punishment grossly disproportionate to the act ascribed to the defendant,” reads the position of the NCJ.

    The National Council of the Judiciary also mentioned that Iwulski was appointed to the Supreme Court with a “significant formal defect”, as he did not meet the requirement of having held the office of judge for 10 years. The information about the formal errors in Iwulski’s appointment was first revealed by the portal niezalezna.pl

    “The ignoring of these facts by Judge Iwulski’s performance of his judicial activities and the lack of reaction from the Supreme Court authorities are cause for concern,” NCJ declares.

    In February, the portal niezalezna.pl reported that the chairwoman of the NCJ had filed a notice to the prosecutor’s office to investigate the situation with Iwulski’s adjudication despite his suspension.

    “It was officially learnt that Judge Iwulski was issuing rulings because an official of the Supreme Court, citing Iwulski’s order, had asked the NCJ for documents of the nomination procedure of one of the SN judges. It could therefore be inferred that Iwulski was on the panel to test another judge for his independence, Judge Dagmara Pawełczyk-Woicka, head of the NCJ, explained in an interview with GPC at the time. 

    Piotr Prusinowski, President of the Labour and Social Security Chamber of the Supreme Court, admitted to the decision for Iwulski to issue rulings.

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    Image credits: User:Darwinek – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11139577; unknown-anonymous, official photo of Polish Ministry of Defence – Institute of National Remembrance Archive, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=81651578

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