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Monday's events at the Warsaw Regional Court took a surprising turn. In the morning, Judge Igor Tuleya appeared in court to return to work after being illegally suspended for nearly two years. Outside, he was greeted by judges, lawyers, and enthusiastic activists. - An independent, honest judge is returning to work, a symbol of the judicial ethos- said Judge Piotr Gąciarek.
Mr. Tuleja was reinstated by the court's new president, Joanna Przanowska-Tomaszek. She justified her decision by pointing out the "inaction" of the Chamber of Professional Responsibility of the Supreme Court. The new chamber is supposed to review the decisions of the abolished Disciplinary Chamber, which suspended Mr. Tuleja in November 2019, stripping him of his judicial immunity. Upon reinstating him to work, judge Przanowska-Tomaszek also planned to send Mr. Tuleya on forced leave.
But Mr. Tuleya’s victory was short-lived. Waiting for him in court was an order issued Monday by the president of the Court of Appeals in Warsaw. Having administrative oversight over the regional court, he reversed judge Przanowska-Tomaszek’s decision. "I revoke the decision as an action inconsistent with a valid and enforceable resolution of the Disciplinary Chamber"- the order reads.
- Not much has changed in my situation. It was to be expected that the Ministry of Justice would come up with something new. This is not an ordinary situation. It looks like some kind of a strange game- Tuleya said after leaving the court.
He reported that at the human resources office he was handed an order to reinstate him and put him on leave. He was then informed that, unfortunately, these were not all the documents, and he was served with an order from the president of the court of appeals. - The president managed to issue it today and even served it on me- Tuleya commented. He announced that he will continue to fight for his return to the bench before the Polish and European courts.
The order blocking Mr. Tuleya from returning to work was signed on behalf of Warsaw Court of Appeals President Piotr Schab by Przemysław Radzik, the court’s vice president. Both men are disciplinary officers appointed by the Minister of Justice Zbigniew Ziobro, who is known for harassing independent judges. Both previously headed the Warsaw District Court and prevented Igor Tuleya from ruling against the labor court's order to reinstate him.
- Perhaps the president of the Regional Court was too scared to take on the responsibility, but it is certainly clear that Ziobro and his people are calling the shots here- comments Judge Gąciarek. - Radzik and Schab are keeping their hands on the pulse and will not allow for any decisions that go against Ziobro's interests. It is unheard of for an officer serving Ziobro to allow such political oversight. This is what political control over the Polish courts looks like- he added.
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