Justice Minister Mandates Leave for Three Deputies of the Prosecutor General

    Adam Bodnar, the newly appointed Justice Minister and Prosecutor General, has instructed three deputies of the prosecutor general to take a 42-day leave.

    The affected deputies, Michal Ostrowski, Tomasz Janeczek, and Robert Hernand, have been mandated to remain on leave from January 18 to March 15. The Justice Ministry, communicating through the X platform on Wednesday, revealed that additional deputies of the prosecutor general will also be subjected to leave orders in the coming months. This decision is purportedly linked to identified irregularities regarding outstanding leave entitlements of the deputies.

    The ministry disclosed that the accumulated outstanding leave for these deputies ranges from 87 to 151 workdays. This move may be connected to the recent clash between Bodnar and the National Prosecutor’s Office, triggered by Bodnar’s attempt to remove Dariusz Barski from the post of national prosecutor on January 12.

    According to the Justice Ministry, Barski’s return to active service in 2022 from retirement “lacked legal basis.” The ministry argued that Barski, having not been on active duty, “failed to meet the necessary conditions for holding the post.” Barski, who previously held a superior role over all Polish prosecutors, was reinstated to active service on February 16, 2022, by Zbigniew Ziobro, the former justice minister.

    The decision to dismiss Barski has faced resistance within the justice system, possibly prompting Bodnar’s directive for the deputies to go on leave. On January 12, the National Prosecutor’s Office issued a statement asserting that “Dariusz Barski continues to hold the post of national prosecutor.” The office rejected Bodnar’s communication, stating it had no legal effect.

    Expressing firm opposition to any attempts to breach regulations concerning the dismissal of a National Prosecutor, which requires the president’s approval, the National Prosecutor’s Office emphasized its resistance to the moves made by Bodnar and Prime Minister Donald Tusk.

    On January 13, the deputies contested the appointment of Jacek Bilewicz as acting head of the National Prosecutor’s Office. They deemed the move illegal and a circumvention of the regulations regarding the dismissal of the first deputy of the prosecutor general, which necessitates presidential approval.

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