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Call for decriminalisation of insult against President

HFHR and the Press Freedom Monitoring Center of the Association of Polish Journalists, Adam Smith Centre and the Jagiellonian Institute called on Andrzej Duda, the President of the Republic of Poland to launch works on the amendment to the Criminal Code which would decriminalise an insult against the President.

Shortly after the publication of the statement of the non-governmental organisations, the Minister of Justice informed that intensive works on a draft amendment have already been launched. During a press conference Marcin Warchoł, Deputy Minister of Justice, said: “We are decriminalising the insult against the President and we would like to highlight the fact that it is the fundamental principle of a free, independent and casual debate”.

The matter has also been recently discussed by the Sejm deputies. On February 2016, a deputy-sponsored draft law was sent to the Sejm. The draft law provides for the abolition of provisions on a public insult of the President and insult or humiliation of a constitutional body of the Republic of Poland. First reading of the draft has already been held.

The HFHR commends the proposed amendment. For years the Foundation has been stressing that it is necessary to conduct a public discussion on the reasonableness of maintaining the criminalisation of insult against President. In the view of the HFHR such provisions do not conform to the standards developed by the European Court of Human Rights. In its case law the ECtHR calls for the relaxation of the provisions concerning public officials. The Criminal Code safeguards the opposite – it reinforces the protection of the good name of the President of Poland.

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