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EU court says Poland's Supreme Court reforms unlawful

Law 'undermines the principle of the irremovability of judges'

24 June, 17:51
(ANSA-AP) - WARSAW, 24 JUN - The European Union's top court ruled Monday that a Polish law that pushed Supreme Court judges into early retirement violates EU law. In its ruling, the EU's Court of Justice said the measures breach judicial independence.

Under an interim decision in November 2018, Polish authorities had been forced to remove the provisions that forced about a third of the top court's judges into early retirement and reinstate the judges. The court said the law "undermines the principle of the irremovability of judges, that principle being essential to their independence." There was no immediate reaction from Poland's government, but the decision is a blow to the ruling right-wing party, which since winning power in 2015 has increasingly taken control of the judicial system. The government and president have said they wanted to force the early retirement of the Supreme Court in order to purge commun ist-era judges. But legal experts say that argument holds no water because most communist-era judges are long gone from the judicial system 30 years after the fall of communism, and many instead see an attempt to destroy the independence of the Polish judiciary. Amnesty International welcomed Monday's ruling, calling it significant for Poland and other EU countries "who think that they can breach human rights with impunity." In Poland, critics of the government welcomed the ruling. "Thank you, European Union, for your defense of rule of law in Poland," tweeted Radek Sikorski, a former foreign minister. (ANSA-AP).

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