Warsaw ‘muzzle judges’

EU opens new legal case against Warsaw over ‘muzzling judges’

29 Apr, 2020 15:40 

EU opens new legal case against Warsaw over ‘muzzling judges’

European Values and Transparency Commissioner-designate Vera Jourova gestures during her hearing before the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium

The European Union’s executive on Wednesday started a new legal case against the Polish government over what it said was the muzzling of judges. Brussels has long accused the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party of undermining Polish democracy by increasing direct state control over the courts, media and civic society. The party rejects the charge.

The European Commission said it was giving Poland two months to address its concerns about a law introduced earlier this year that would allow to punish judges who criticize the government’s reforms of the judicial system.

“There are clear risks that the provisions regarding the disciplinary regime against judges can be used for political control of the content of judicial decisions,” said Vera Jourova, the Czech member of the executive Commission who is responsible for upholding the EU’s democratic values.

Should Warsaw refuse to budge, the Commission would sue it in the European Court of Justice, which could eventually lead to hefty fines as well as a court order telling the Polish government to change tack, Reuters said.

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