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HFHR issues statement on Mariusz Muszyński’s “dissenting opinion” commenting Ombudsman’s case withdrawn from Constitutional Tribunal

The Helsinki Foundation protests against Mariusz Muszyński’s allegations pursued against Dr Adam Bodnar, Commissioner for Human Rights. Mr Muszyński claims that Dr Bodnar has violated his oath of office and evades performing his duties.

Let us remind our readers that the controversy at hand concerns the Commissioner’s withdrawal of his motion for a constitutional review of the Anti-terrorism Act. Dr Bodnar justified his decision by referring to the fact that the composition of the panel of judges preparing this decision had changed on several occasions and that his motion was to be heard by persons without proper authority to decide cases as constitutional court judges.

Following the withdrawal, the Tribunal issued an order discontinuing the proceedings. Judge Muszyński prepared a “dissenting opinion” to the discontinuation order in which he requested Dr Bodnar’s removal from office based on the alleged violations of the Commissioner’s oath.

The opinion also contains a statement that the administrative powers of the President of the Constitutional Tribunal include the right to change the composition of adjudicating panels, and specifically “to change the judge-rapporteur due to the panel’s disapproval of a presented draft of the decision, etc.” The uncovered tinkering with panels’ composition is a proof of a serious violation of the democratic standards of independence of constitutional judges.

“In our assessment, Judge Muszyński’s ‘dissenting opinion’ constitutes a blatant example of an abuse of the law that serves the purposes devoid of any basis in the rules governing the works of the Constitutional Tribunal. There is no law that would allow issuing a dissenting opinion against an order whose scope and content are determined in a statute (…) This means that the document published by Judge Muszyński is an abuse of a procedural form, which is obviously unsuitable for expressing author’s private views on the legal or ethical qualifications of Commissioner for Human Rights Adam Bodnar”, reads the official statement issued by the HFHR.

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