The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has sentenced Poland to pay compensation in connection with the country’s controversial judicial reform.
Strasbourg – The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has sentenced Poland to pay compensation in connection with the country’s controversial judicial reform. The procedure for appointing judges in Poland was inadmissibly influenced by the parliament and the executive, the Strasbourg court said on Monday (Az. 49868/19 and 57511/19). Warsaw now has to pay two Polish judges who complained in Strasbourg, 15,000 euros each – for violating their human right to a fair trial.
In addition, the Polish government has an obligation to put an end to the grievances identified by Strasbourg. However, the judgment is not yet final. Both parties to the litigation can still contest it within three months. The national-conservative PiS government has been reorganizing the country’s judiciary for years, despite international criticism, and is putting judges under pressure. The EU Commission has already complained against the reforms several times; some of them were overturned by the ECJ.
In Strasbourg, two Polish judges who had applied for new posts in their country, but were rejected, had now complained. Because of this rejection, they turned to a newly created chamber of the country’s highest court as part of the Polish judicial reform, but failed.
Now the ECHR denied legitimacy to this chamber: it was not a legitimate tribunal. The members were appointed by Poland’s President Andrzej Duda on the recommendation of the controversial State Judicial Council. According to critics, this is no longer a politically independent body since its composition was changed by the PiS parliamentary majority.
The ECHR accused Duda of having acted in “blatant contradiction to the principles of the rule of law” when he considered the recommendations of the State Judicial Council. According to the ECHR, 57 complaints were received against Poland between 2018 and 2021 because of the Polish judicial reform. (dpa)