The 2020 Winter Session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), held on 27-31 January 2020 in Strasbourg, was dominated by two topics: the returning of voting rights to Russia (which ODF strongly campaigned against , , , , ), which was suspended following its annexation of Crimea and invasion of Ukraine, and the worsening situation in regard to the rule of law in Poland.
Our team was present in Strasbourg during the session to advocate not only for human rights in Central Asia – as is typical for us – but also for the inclusion of several important topics and updates, absent from the draft resolution on the functioning of democratic institutions in Poland, prepared by co-rapporteurs Azadeh Rojhan Gustafsson (Sweden, SOC) and Pieter Omtzigt (Netherlands, EPP/CD) several months earlier.
Together with our experts, judges from the Themis and Iustitia associations, we had prepared a total of 12 amendments, 9 of which were tabled by PACE MPs caring for the rule of law in Poland. They ranged from technical corrections to adding completely new paragraphs.
We were proud to see that 4 of our amendments were adopted without any changes: 2 minor corrections to paragraphs 7.4 and 10 and two substantial amendments to paragraph 8, where we added references to the CJEU judgement of 19 November 2019 and to the Supreme Court’s resolution of 23 January 2020.
Several of our other suggestions were included in other adopted amendments, most importantly our chief call for PACE to open a monitoring procedure in the respect of Poland, ensuring its rule of law situation gets back on track. We’re sad to see this mechanism – reserved for authoritarian states until now – being necessary with respect to an EU Member State, but this is the path that the Law and Justice government has taken us on. Poland thus joined countries like Albania, Azerbaijan, Russia, Moldova or Turkey and is the only EU member state under the procedure.
For those wishing to read more about the resolution and its impact we’ve compiled a press review of Polish media following its passing.
- ODF holds a side-event on Polish judiciary during 2020 PACE Winter Session (03.02.2020)
- Gazeta Wyborcza: Judges Waldemar Żurek and Dariusz Mazur in the European Parliament. They will tell about the deformation of the judiciary by PiS (01.12.2019)
- Position of the Open Dialogue Foundation in the case of Judge Dariusz Mazur (19.11.2019)
- 20 lawsuits filed against Law and Justice. Interim measure against TVP (11.10.2019)
- Attacks on judges and independent prosecutors in Poland. An ODF event at the OSCE forum (30.09.2019)
- A delegation of the ODF attended the Fourth part-session of PACE in Strasbourg (17.10.2018)
- PACE side event: Shrinking space for civil society and persecution of human rights activists (08.10.2018)
- ODF attends PACE Autumn Session 2018 to speak up for rule of law and human rights defenders (05.10.2018)
- Attack against the rule of law and civil society in Poland – a debate during the OSCE HDIM 2017 conference (19.09.2017)