BHRC and the Bar Council write to Polish authorities ahead of rescheduled hearing to waive immunity of Judge Tuleya

The Bar Council and the Bar Human Rights Committee have written to the Polish President and Prime Minister, and Marshals of the Senate and Sejm ahead of a scheduled hearing of a motion filed by the National Prosecution Office to the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court to waive the immunity of Judge Igor Tuleya on 5 October 2020. The hearing was first scheduled for 20 March 2020.

The letter urges authorities to take steps to ensure that the arbitrary motion against Judge Tuleya is withdrawn without delay, reiterating that the organisations are “deeply dismayed that the hearing is due to take place before the Disciplinary Chamber in the face of the clear ruling by the Supreme Court that it is not a ‘court’ within the meaning of either Polish or EU law.”

In light of the above, we reiterate our serious concern that the pursuit of this motion in the case of Judge Tuleya is not only unlawful but represents an unacceptable reprisal against him for his defence of the rule of law in Poland and forms part of a series of measures which strike at the heart of judicial independence in Poland and fundamentally undermine the rule of law.

Letter to Polish authorities re. proceedings to waive the immunity of Judge Tuleya, 25 September 2020

The Bar Council and BHRC unequivocally condemn these acts which compromise the independence of the judiciary, undermine Poland’s rule of law and appear to victimise those who seek to defend these vital principles.

This is the third letter that the organisations have sent to Polish authorities regarding this case. The organisations first wrote to Polish authorities on 19 March 2020 on the worsening rule of law crisis in the country, including the proceedings against Judge Tuleya. The second letter was written on 8 June 2020.

In those letters the organisations called upon the relevant Polish authorities to respect their obligations under the Polish Constitution, the European Convention on Human Rights, and European Union law; to comply with the judgement of the Supreme Court of 5 December 2019; to respect the resolution of the Polish Supreme Court of 23 January 2020; to refrain from actions and statements attacking and vilifying judges and prosecutors; and to take all necessary measures to suspend the operation of the Disciplinary Chamber and end the politicisation of the new National Council of the Judiciary.

On 7th October 2020, BHRC received a response from Professor Tomasz Grodski, the Marshal of the Senate of the Republic of Poland, affirming the Senate’s support for upholding the rule of law and protecting judicial independence in Poland.