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Amendment to the Internal Security Agency Act

Last week, the Senate Human Rights, the Rule of Law and Petitions Committee and the Legislative Committee met to consider a legislative initiative regarding an amendment to the Internal Security Agency Act. The need for an amendment of this Act was voiced by the Constitutional Tribunal in November 2010.

The Tribunal called for changing a provision which defines the types of offences falling within the Agency’s jurisdiction. Today, the provision uses many vague terms such as ‘offences against the economic foundations of the state’. It does not, however, provide a legal description of the offences in question.

The HFHR has presented an opinion in the case. ‘We have pointed out, for instance, that the Senate’s proposal included a very extensive list of such offences’, says Artur Pietryka, HFHR coordinator of the Legislative Process Monitoring in the area of the justice system.  ‘It was the justification of this proposal that raised our doubts. The reasons for the bill failed to state why individual offences had been included in this list. Promoters of the proposal only said that the new law remained in line with the position expressed by the legal department of the Agency’, adds Mr Pietryka.

During the committee’s hearing, the deputy director of the Agency, Col. Jacek Mąka, argued that the initiative should be supported. In his opinion, the introduction of a list of offences to replace the vague terms reinforces the safeguards of protection of civil rights and freedoms.

Senators decided to ask the Prime Minister to present the Government’s position in the matter. Despite a request made by the Chancellery of the Senate, the Minister of Interior is yet to express his stance on the legislative proposal. The Minister only notified the Senators that he would soon present his opinion.

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