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  Poland’s ‘rule of law in danger’
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Last EditedIndyGeorgia  Jun 01, 2016 08:54pm
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AuthorJan Cienski and Maia de la Baume
News DateWednesday, March 2, 2016 02:00:00 AM UTC0:0
DescriptionWARSAW — Changes to Poland’s constitutional court pushed through by its new conservative government “endanger not only the rule of law, but also the functioning of the democratic system,” according to a draft report from a European legal advisory body.

The Venice Commission, part of the Council of Europe, was invited to examine the state of the Constitutional Tribunal by Poland’s foreign minister in December after a constitutional crisis was set off by disputes over which judges should sit on the Tribunal and the Law and Justice party government’s subsequent legal changes to the court’s functioning. The situation is also being examined by the EU, which in January launched an unprecedented “rule of law” probe into the Polish government’s actions.

Poland’s government has insisted that its changes are well within European constitutional norms, and that they have simply served to make the court reflect a fairer balance between the government and the opposition and that the changes to its operations make it more effective.

However, the Venice Commission’s draft report found little or no merit in any of the government’s steps.

“As long as the situation of constitutional crisis related to the Constitutional Tribunal remains unsettled and as long as the Constitutional Tribunal cannot carry out its work in an efficient manner, not only is the rule of law in danger, but so is democracy and human rights,” said the draft.
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