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Polish tribunal rules European rights court cannot question its judges – Times of India : Shivpurinews.in

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WARSAW: Poland‘s Constitutional Tribunal said on Wednesday that the European Court of Human Rights had no power to question its appointment of judges, rejecting a ruling by Europe’s top human rights court in May.
Dismissed by critics as a politicised body, the Constitutional Tribunal has already sparked a crisis in the European Union this year by ruling that parts of the bloc’s treaties are incompatible with the Polish constitution.
Article 6 of the Convention as far as it includes the Constitutional Tribunal in its definition of a court, is not compatible,” with the Polish constitution, said judge Julia Przylebska, the head of the Tribunal.
She said the article was unconstitutional in as far as it gave the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) the right to assess the legality of the appointment of the Tribunal’s judges.
In May the ECHR ruled that a company had been denied its right to a proper hearing due to the illegal appointment of a Constitutional Tribunal judge.
In Wednesday’s ruling, the Tribunal said it was not a court under the Convention as it controls the hierarchy of laws and does not rule on individuals’ rights.
Poland has been embroiled in a long-running conflict with the European Union over its judicial reforms, which the bloc says undermine the independence of the courts.
The incoming German government signalled on Wednesday that it may take a harder stance on rule of law issues, saying in its coalition agreement that the European Commission should better implement existing rule of law instruments and rulings of European courts.
The tribunal issued its ruling in response to a question from Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro, the architect of the government’s judicial reforms.
Poland’s nationalist government says the reforms are intended to sweep away remnants of communist influence and bring to heel judges who think they are above the law.
The European Convention on Human Rights applies to members of the Council of Europe, an organisation which was formed after World War Two to protect human rights and the rule of law. The Council of Europe is the guardian of the ECHR and it is separate from the European Union.
Ziobro, who also serves as prosecutor general, recently asked the Constitutional Tribunal if the imposition of fines on Poland by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) was constitutional.

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