Shift in sway over Pol­ish court ad­vances

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - INTERNATIONAL -

WARSAW, Poland — Pol­ish law­mak­ers voted Thurs­day to ap­prove a con­tentious law that gives con­trol of the nation’s Supreme Court to the pres­i­dent in­stead of judges, spark­ing protests out­side the par­lia­ment in Warsaw.

The bill on the Supreme Court has drawn con­dem­na­tion from the Euro­pean Union and has led to street protests. Crit­ics say it kills ju­di­cial in­de­pen­dence and vi­o­lates the rule of law.

The new law, pro­posed by the rul­ing Law and Jus­tice party, gives the nation’s pres­i­dent the power to in­flu­ence the court’s work and to ap­point its judges. It calls for the dis­missal of the court’s cur­rent judges, ex­cept for those cho­sen by the pres­i­dent. It re­ar­ranges the court’s struc­ture and adds a Dis­ci­plinary Cham­ber that would han­dle breaches of rules or ethics in the jus­tice sys­tem.

The vote Thurs­day in the par­lia­ment’s lower house was 235-192 with 23 ab­sten­tions. It came af­ter a par­lia­men­tary com­mis­sion sum­mar­ily re­jected 1,300 op­po­si­tion amend­ments.

The bill still needs to win ap­proval from the Se­nate, which will con­sider the bill at a ses­sion to­day, and from Pres­i­dent An­drzej Duda.

AP/CZAREK SOKOLOWSKI

Crowds protest Thurs­day in Warsaw, Poland, urg­ing Pres­i­dent An­drzej Duda to re­ject a bill on court con­trol that was ap­proved by law­mak­ers.

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