Friday 27 May 2022

Polish courts are no longer independent, Amsterdam judges say

Poland’s courts are no longer independent of the government and the rule of law has been severely compromised, judges in Amsterdam said on Friday.

The statement was made by the international division at Amsterdam court (IRK) which looks at extradition requests, and focused on a Polish national wanted for smuggling 200 kilos of hard and soft drugs to Poland.

The IRK has now asked the European Court of Justice to rule if suspects can still be extradited to Poland or if that should now cease, a decision which will take three to four months. Inter-European extradition is currently managed under EU law.

‘Before the court takes a decision, it wants to know from the Court of Justice if it should refuse the extradition of a suspect from an EU member state if the court system of that member state can no longer function independently,’ the Amsterdam judges said.

The right of Polish nationals to a fair trial, the court said, has been coming increasingly under pressure.

Since coming to power in 2015, PiS brought in a number of controversial reforms and judges are now appointed by a council dominated by its members. Action has also been taken against judges who are considered to be too outspoken.

The IRK in 2018 refused to extradite Polish suspects on the same grounds.

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