Polish judges defy govt reform vowing to stay in office
Thursday, June 28, 2018       23:24 WIB

Warsaw, June 28, 2018 (AFP)
Several dozen Polish Supreme Court judges vowed Thursday to remain in office after July 3, arguing that a reform by the right-wing government forcing their retirement is unconstitutional.
Poland's Law and Justice (PiS) government has introduced controversial judicial reforms that lower the mandatory retirement age of Supreme Court judges from 70 to 65.
The PiS government insists the changes are needed to combat corruption and overhaul a judicial system still haunted by the communist era, but critics including the EU argue they undermine the division of powers and therefore threaten democracy and the rule of law.
The controversial Supreme Court reform comes into force next Tuesday and would mean that around a third of the court's judges would be forced into earlier retirement.
The body's judges "decided that Supreme Court chief justice Malgorzata Gersdorf, would remain in her post until April 30, 2020, in line with the provisions of the Polish Constitution" giving her a six-year term, court spokesman Michal Laskowski told reporters.
He added that no common law can prevail over the constitutional provision that guarantees a six-year term in office for the Supreme Court chief justice. Gersdorf is currently 65.
In a separate resolution, the judges said that any Supreme Court justice who took up their duties before the day the new reform comes into force "should remain in their post until the age of 70, without meeting any additional conditions."
Thursday's moves by Supreme Court judges comes as the EU launched hearings this week focused on Poland's alleged violation of judicial independence.
European Commission vice president Frans Timmermans has been leading discussions with Warsaw to try and find a solution to the rule of law dispute but on Tuesday he said they had not made any progress.
Brussels in December triggered so-called article seven proceedings against Poland over "systemic threats" to the rule of law, which could eventually see Warsaw's EU voting rights suspended.
Tens of thousands of Poles have poured out onto the streets since the PiS took power in late 2015 to protest the reforms, with fresh demonstrations scheduled for next Tuesday when the retirement law on Supreme Court justices takes effect.

Sumber : AFP

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