Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal rejected a decision from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) Wednesday, ruling that the ECHR has no power to intervene on the appointment of judges in the country.
Referring to the ECHR’s May decision assessing the legality of appointments in the country, the Polish Tribunal held that this was “unconstitutional” to allow the court to decide on the legality of the appointment process of judges.
There has been a long-running dispute between Poland and the ECHR over judicial reforms, with the ECHR questioning the independence of Poland’s judiciary and their future in the bloc.
The ECHR has accused Poland of illegal and biased disciplinary regimes for judges in their judicial reforms. However, the Tribunal found that the decision was incompatible with Article 6.1 of the European Convention on Human Rights because the definition of a right to a fair trial by a court could not be extended to the Constitutional Tribunal. The judicial reforms in Poland were intended to remove any communist ideology left and bring accountability to judges who act above the law.
Wednesday’s ruling was welcomed by Poland’s Deputy Minister of Justice, Sebastian Kaleta, who commented that “the latest attempt at external and illegal interference in Poland’s judicial system has been prevented by the constitutional tribunal.”