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Court to hear HFHR’s interlocutory appeal in proceedings regarding refusal to publish Constitutional Tribunal’s judgment

On 13 October, the District Court for Warszawa-Śródmieście will hear the HFHR’s interlocutory appeal against the Prosecutor Office’s decision in the case concerning the refusal to publish the judgment of the Constitutional Tribunal from 9 March 2016. The case will be examined by a panel of three professional judges.

This is the response to the interlocutory appeal submitted in mid-June 2016 against the decision of a prosecutor delegated to the Regional Prosecutor’s Office of Warszawa-Praga, 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.

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 disagrees with this conclusion. In its interlocutory appeal against the decision, the Foundation opposed the prosecutor office’s line of argument, alleging that the decision had violated at least several provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, including the principles of free evaluation of evidence and objectivity.

The HFHR argued that the refusal of publication of the Constitutional Tribunal’s ruling caused a constitutional, political, economic and publicity loss. “This behaviour of the authorities directly results in a significant risk of the emergence of a legal dualism, in which some bodies would abide by the Tribunal’s rulings while other would not recognise them. This directly affects the legal safety of individuals”, argues Marcin Wolny, HFHR’s lawyer.

In mid-August 2015 the District Court for Warszawa-Śródmieście informed that the case would be examined by a panel of three professional judges. In this way, the court admitted the motion of the HFHR, which emphasised that the case is of material importance.

However, in itself, the court’s decision will not resolve whether or not the Prime Minister failed to discharge her duties. “If the court decides that the refusal to initiate proceedings was unreasonable, then a prosecutor will need to re-open the case. Still, the outcome of the prosecutorial inquiry – the bringing of an indictment or discontinuation of proceedings – will depend on prosecutors’ assessment”, explains Dr Piotr Kładoczny, Secretary of the HFHR’s Board in an interview with a journalist of Gazeta Prawna.

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