Declaration of representatives of Czech judiciary on situation in Poland

24 July 2017

WE CANNOT REMAIN SILENT

The Polish Republic (Rzeczpospolita Polska) and its people are, for us, an enduring and inseparable part of the community of nations of Central and Eastern Europe that has for centuries shared a common destiny. The heroism of the Polish nation during World War II, its resistance against the diktat of the former Soviet Union and domestic totalitarian practices, just like its successful restoration of state sovereignty and the establishment of a democratic system and the rule of law after 1989, have been of significant and lasting inspiration to us. In the last year, however, we have witnessed in our close neighbour developments that threaten the very essence of the principles on which the democratic rule of law stand. Following the paralysis of the Constitutional Tribunal and the subordination of public-service media to the current state party politics last year, an unprecedented attack on the independence of the Polish judiciary is now being seen. The laws passed on the National Council of the Judiciary and on the ordinary courts and the proposed law on the Supreme Court, which make it possible for the executive and legislative powers to relieve the judiciary entirely of its independence, to relieve inconvenient judges of their mandate and to subordinate the judiciary to the political system, represent an attack on the very foundations of the operation of democratic rule of law. While we are aware of and respect the sovereignty of the Polish state, we cannot remain silent about steps that threaten its very source, which are the inviolable values of European civilisation, humanism and fundamental rights and freedoms.

Pavel Rychetský
President of the Constitutional Court

Pavel Šámal
President of the Supreme Court

Josef Baxa
President of the Supreme Administrative Court

Pavel Zeman
The Supreme Public Prosecutor

Anna Šabatová
The Public Defender of Rights – Ombudsman