Published: Fri, July 06, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Head of Poland's top court vows to resist removal

Head of Poland's top court vows to resist removal

"I am doing this to defend the rule of law and to mark the boundary between the constitution and the violation of the constitution", Gersdorf told demonstrators and reporters.

Presidential aide Pawel Mucha told state media Tuesday that Gersdorf's forced retirement would be "in line with binding laws" and that current judge Józef Iwulski would fill her position.

Protests started this week against the new law, mandated by the right-wing ruling party, that cuts the retirement age to 65 from 70 for Poland's Supreme Court justices.

European Union officials and worldwide human rights groups have expressed alarm, alleging the moves represent an erosion of judicial independence that violates Western standards and a reversal for democracy in Poland.

The government claims the legal reforms are necessary because of a policy of de-Communisation and improving efficiency, though they have been met with fierce opposition, both domestic and global - with the European Union challenging their anti-democratic nature.

Besides Warsaw, demonstrations have also been held in several other Polish cities in defense of the country's constitution.

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The changes have drawn formal criticism from the European Union.

According to Amnesty International, judges in Poland are "experiencing political pressure" in connection with the PiS judicial reforms that critics insist pose a threat to the separation of powers that is key to democracy.

Poland has a month to respond in a dispute that could end up in the European Court of Justice.

Gersdorf said she plans to go on holiday as of next week and that Judge Jozef Iwulski would temporarily stand in for her during her absence. In all, twenty-seven of the court's 73 judges are affected.

She has branded the court changes - which has put Poland's Law and Justice (PiS) government at loggerheads with Brussels - a "purge".

We can not simply say: "this is a purely national issue", Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice-President of the European 'Commission and Commissioner for the Eurozone and Social Dialogue said.

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Justice Gersdorf, who is 65, and more than a dozen others have refused to make such appeals, saying that the law itself was unconstitutional.

Here is a timeline of the PiS reforms and the reactions they have drawn from the EU. "We only want our individual, national values to be respected".

In the debate that was to be dedicated to Europe's future, Morawiecki also got support from some who backed Warsaw's arguments that an overreaching European Union was meddling in a sovereign state's internal affairs.

- The president signs legislation that forces the head of the Constitutional Court to include the five judges chosen by the PiS-controlled parliament in decision-making.

Back in Warsaw, some of the thousands of protesters feared the ruling party would now use its power to falsify elections.

"Given the lack of progress and the imminent implementation of the new retirement regime for supreme court judges, the Commission decided today to launch the infringement procedure as a matter of urgency", he said.

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