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ECHR ruling ‘illegitimate’ intervention in Poland’s sovereignty: Sejm Speaker

The ruling of the European Court of Human Rights on the status of Constitutional Court (TK) justices constituted a dangerous precedent and an illegitimate intervention in the sovereignty of the Polish State, Elżbieta Witek, the Speaker of Sejm (the lower house of the Polish parliament) said as quoted by Poland’s public broadcaster TVP.

“With a great deal of concern, I have heard about today’s ECHR ruling in which the court questioned the status of a TK justice legally appointed by the Lower House. The justices currently being members of the TK were appointed by the Lower House in line with the Polish constitution and Poland’s law. The competencies of the ECHR in Strasbourg do not comprise the mode of appointment of the justices, including TK justices,” Ms Witek wrote.

The Lower House Speaker stressed that “the Lower House’s competency to decide on the composition of the TK constitutes an expression of the Polish State’s sovereignty… Poland has not entrusted any foreign judiciary institution with the competencies to control the mode of appointment of justices. It is the European Convention on Human Rights, in particular, that does not authorise the ECHR to rule on the legitimacy of justice appointment.”

The official went on to say that “the ECHR, which is a judiciary institution established with the task to protect the law, claims competencies that it does not possess. This kind of a new and dangerous praxis definitely does not improve the respect for the ECHR judicature.”

Proceeding the lawsuit of Xero Flor company against Poland, the ECHR unanimously ruled on Friday that Article 6 clause 1 of the right to a fair trial of the European Convention on Human Rights and Article 6 clause 1 of the right to a trial established by law had been violated.

The case refers to the claims of the Polish company that complained before the TK over a regulation that led to an unfavourable ruling. The TK closed the case. The ECHR claimed that a justice was sitting in the court but the justice was appointed to an already occupied office.

The company complained to the ECHR claiming that its right to trial had been violated, Poland’s Ombudsman website reads.

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