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3rd April 2019, 17:05:12 UTC

Responding to a decision by the European Commission to launch an infringement procedure to protect judges in Poland from political control, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Europe, Massimo Moratti said:

“Today’s decision draws an important line in the sand and makes clear that using disciplinary proceedings to interfere with the independence of the judiciary – effectively targeting judges for simply doing their jobs – cannot and will not be tolerated.

“The disciplinary system the authorities put in place in Poland allows for investigations, procedures and ultimately sanctions against judges. It has been used to punish judges for the content of their decisions or for seeking clarifications from the European Court of Justice.

“By failing to protect judges from political interference the country’s disciplinary regime not only undermines judicial independence in Poland but puts the enjoyment of human rights at risk and threatens the functioning of the EU as a whole.

“The chilling effect of the abuse of this already flawed disciplinary system is real and has now been called out also by the European Commission. We call on Member States to back this step and call on Poland in the General Affairs Council next week, to end the harassment of judges.”