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Court order prosecutor’s office to reopen investigation in case of non-publication of Constitutional Tribunal’s judgment

On 13 October, the District Court for Warszawa-Śródmieście revoked the Prosecutor Office’s decision to refuse to open proceedings in the case concerning the absence of publication of the Constitutional Tribunal’s judgment from 9 March 2016. The HFHR filed an interlocutory appeal in this case.

“For me, today’s victory is merely a moral success because the court’s decision does not mean that the 9 March judgment will actually be published. However, it is an important step taken by the justice system, which noted that Prime Minister Beata Szydło may have acted in an inappropriate way”, Marcin Wolny, an attorney working for the HFHR, commented the court’s ruling. Mr Wolny emphasised that the prosecutor’s office can still discontinue the proceedings at a later stage and that the HFHR will no longer be able to appeal against such a decision. “Obviously, the Prosecutor General – an active politician – has the power to have this case closed by one stroke of his pen, and that is not something that would lead this case anywhere closer to a resolution”, Mr Wolny added.

The Helsinki Foundation has appealed against the decision of a prosecutor delegated to the Regional Prosecutor’s Office of Warszawa-Praga in Warsaw, which refused the initiation of preparatory proceedings in the case of the government’s failure to publish the judgment of the Constitutional Tribunal of 9 March 2016 (case no. K 47/15).The prosecutor wrote in the decision that the actions of the Prime Minister had not satisfied the statutory features of the offence of failing to discharge one’s duties (defined in article 231 (1) of the Criminal Code). According to the prosecutor’s office, the absence of publication did not cause any detriment to a public or private interest.

The HFHR argued that the refusal of publication of the Constitutional Tribunal’s ruling caused a constitutional, political, economic and publicity loss. In its interlocutory appeal against the decision, the Foundation also alleged that the prosecutor office’s decision had violated at least several provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, including the principles of objectivity and free evaluation of evidence.

The Foundation is represented in the proceedings by Professor Piotr Girdwoyń PhD, who acts pro-bono.

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