Venice Commission criticizes changes to top constitutional court

Image: Coe.int

An official opinion concerning changes to Poland’s top constitutional court, issued on Friday by the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission, read that they cripple the tribunal’s effectiveness and undermine democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

The body said that amendments endanger “not only the rule of law but also the functioning of the democratic system.” These changes include the requirement to adjudicate cases in the order they were filed, as well as the paragraph which says that a full bench comprises 13 of all 15 justices and that 2/3 of votes are needed to pass a verdict.

On March 9, Poland’s constitutional court also adjudicated that PiS-backed amendments breach the constitution. The Venice Commission urged the government to publish the verdict referring to claims by Prime Minister Beata Szydło that Poland will prevent it from coming into force.

Council of Europe Secretary General, Thornbjorn Jagland will visit Warsaw in April to continue a dialogue with Polish authorities.

 

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