The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled Monday that two Polish judges’ right to a fair hearing was violated when their applications to change posts were blocked by Poland’s National Council of the Judiciary (NCJ).
The ECtHR, the highest international body for the enforcement of the European Convention on Human Rights, found that judges Monika Joanna Dolinska-Ficek and Artur Ozimek were denied the right to a fair hearing following the denial of their applications to fill vacant judicial positions.
According to the ECtHR, the NCJ and the Supreme Court’s Chamber of Extraordinary Review and Public Affairs, which heard the judges’ appeals, were not independent and impartial. The court ordered Poland to pay each judge € 15,000 (US $17,000) and called for “rapid remedial action” and judicial independence.
The decision has increased international attention over the rule of law in Poland and questions regarding the true independence of Poland’s judiciary. Last month, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ordered the country to pay 1,000,000 euros per day until it adapted its disciplinary regime for judges to comport with EU law.
Deputy Justice Minister Sebastian Kaleta criticized the decision in a social media post, stating, “The ECtHR issued another judgment in which it challenges the Polish National Council of the Judiciary,” and questioned why the court feels the need to interfere with Poland’s judicial processes.