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During Tuesday’s press conference, President Andrzej Duda lashed out at the Polish Human Rights Commissioner Adam Bodnar.
-Poland knows perfectly well what the rule of law means, really- the President began. - Today, the Human Rights Commissioner expressed opinions about his own country to the international community that are not based on any objective facts and have nothing to do with reality. These opinions are politically motivated. I must say that I have serious doubts about Mr Bodnar’s professional qualifications and his ability to ever hold the position of the Commissioner for Human Rights- President Duda said.
The President referred to a recent interview with AFP in which Mr. Bodnar warned of Poland’s anti-democratic drift and the country’s mounting violations of the rule of law. He also pointed out that “Mr Bodnar’s remarks about Poland, a country where fair and democratic elections are an undeniable fact, only confirm that it was a bad idea to appoint him as the Human Rights Commissioner in the first place”.
- I find it regrettable that while proclaiming such general slogans, which in my opinion are simply anti-Polish and anti-state from the Polish point of view, Mr Adam Bodnar does not even give any specific facts to support his theses. It is all the more painful for me, as the President of the Republic of Poland, that he allows himself to present them at an international forum, which unfortunately gives him a very bad reputation and only shows that appointing a new Human Rights Commissioner is an urgent matter- the President criticized Mr Bodnar.
What exactly did Mr Bodnar say in his interview with AFP?
In the interview, Mr Bodnar warned of Poland’s anti-democratic drift and criticized the EU for reacting too slowly to the Polish government’s repeated violations of the rule of law.
He criticized the ruling Law and Justice party for marginalizing the role of the parliament, politically compromising the Constitutional Tribunal, taking over the Public Prosecutor's Office, turning public media into its propaganda mouthpiece, and undermining judicial independence.
Moreover, the Human Rights Commissioner also referred to the case currently being considered by the Constitutional Tribunal regarding the primacy of EU law over Poland’s national law. Later this month, the Court will decide whether the interim measures ordered by the CJEU to prevent the ruling camp from further undermining the country’s judicial independence stand in violation of the Polish Constitution.
Pointing out the Polish government’s mounting violations of the EU law, Mr Bodnar warned that the Constitutional Tribunal’s decision might bring the country even closer to a “de-jure Polexit”.
He believes the verdict could prompt the ruling camp to disregard both past and future CJEU rulings. While the EU has a range of mechanisms it could use in response (including financial penalties), it would likely take several months for Brussels to take action.
On April 15, Poland's politically compromised Constitutional Tribunal has ruled a specific article of the Act on the Commissioner for Human Rights to be unconstitutional. In effect, Adam Bodnar will be removed from office in three months and possibly replaced by a ruling camp loyalist. Until then, the lower house of the parliament is expected to amend the Act.
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