Laurent Pech Profile picture
Mar 12, 2018 23 tweets 14 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
Re #RuleofLaw in #Poland: Just finished reading Polish government’s "White Paper on the Reform of the Polish Judiciary"

My head hurts from amount of nonsense spread over 94 pages I had to read but will nonetheless attempt a (possibly long) thread on it
1/ Preliminary point: This is not a "White Paper" but attempt to justify/whitewash a posteriori “reforms” which are however nothing but a set of rushed, interconnected and unconstitutional attacks on Polish judiciary:…

2/ Key point: @TimmermansEU of @EU_Commission demanded *implementation* of its recommendations by 20 March but Polish gov arguing nothing to implement as no problems whatsoever only misunderstandings...

3/ WP approach in a nutshell: muddy waters via selective/misleading use of foreign examples to paint “reforms” in best possible light whereas Polish judiciary is painted in worst possible light based on selective/misleading use of available data…

4/ WP approach not novel as favourite strategy of new breed of autocrats is to hide
behind practices from good states and claim double standards if they are criticised: see e.g.…

5/ To limit length of thread will try to offer a flavour of WP by selecting a few of most ludicrous, misleading & outright lies which abound in Polish WP starting with para 1 – Will not tackle data/claims which I already proved to be nonsense/misleading:
6/ I can only spot six problems with two sentences of para 1...
(i) WJP doesn’t measure “public trust” in judicial systems (in fact word ‘trust’ not used once in WJP analysis…)
(ii) Civil justice only 1 out of 8 benchmarks…
7/ (iii) WP forgets to mention what @TheWJP said in Jan 2018: “Significant trends included a deterioration in Constraints on Government Powers, Open Government, Fundamental Rights, and Criminal Justice” = declining trends since PiS took over and nothing to do with civil justice…
8/ (iv) WP uses income ranking group rather than EU/EFTA/NA grouping of 24 to paint worst possible picture (v) WP also forgets to refer to 2017 EU Justice scoreboard which measures trusts and offers a more nuanced picture…
9/ Finally (vi) low ranking doesn’t necessarily equate with “low level” of public trust in judiciary but public trust in Polish judiciary certainly undermined by adverts paid for by Polish government defaming judiciary and Polish judges……
10/ To spare you from super long thread will attempt to select a few of most ludicrous claims & will leave out where WP contradicts itself when offering misleading info (compare eg World Bank data re commercial proceedings v MoJ suggesting 14-month duration)
11/ Re “failure to account for the communist past” WP offers evidence-free analysis: WP doesn’t tell us e.g. how many sitting SCt judges we’re talking about considering dismissal of 80% of SCt judges when communism ended...
12/ Twisted logic: Principle of independent judiciary would violate principle of separation of powers with notion of balance of powers understood in a one-way street manner: must benefit only "external agents" (executive/legislative powers) but not the judiciary itself… hmm...
13/ Cherry-picking: Loved the audacity of this point which is made in a report which systematically cherry-picks evidence & misrepresents it while also systematically ignoring contrary evidence… Polish gov appears to work on basis of assumption we're idiots
14/ Trivia: Also loved set of colours used by WP in its executive summaries with surprise surprise red used when summarising features of “the system so far”; green for so-called “significant changes” & blue of course for naturally positive “effect of the reform” #SoCute
15/ Age discrimination & stereotyping: in addition to being past communist collaborators Senior Polish judges are of course by definition lethargic compared to naturally dynamic young judges… time for a purge sorry a “rejuvenation” based on (assumed) political beliefs & age...
16/ Wait I thought all of Polish senior judges were communist traitors but you are now telling me average age per category of judges varies btw 45 & 55… Does that mean current judges were btw 16 & 26 when communism collapsed? no need for more evidence as this is so compelling...
17/ Slow-motion purge: Happy of course to trust Polish gov as it has only purged 18.6% of court presidents/deputy presidents so far (this speed = 100% in 3 years) & no worries there’s NCJ (which ruling party controls & put in place in breach of Const but minor detail of course)
18/ Finally something innovative when it comes to misleading people: 1st time I have seen autocratic government trying to highlight apparent contradictions btw int bodies but strangely enough WP forgot to reproduce strident criticism of ODIHR in its reports on Polish laws…
19/ Election of President of Const Tribunal may have been unconstitutional but don’t worry the same President found her election to be constitutional with the help of the other judges we got appointed to Constitutional Tribunal when deciding this matter in her new capacity…
20/ But Constitution doesn't matter as election was acknowledged also by former deputy President of Tribunal. Only minor problem he appeared to have said opposite at the time - fake news I am sure then:…
21/ Just one more ludicrous point as I am getting tired… Commission never had any concerns about inability of captured Const Tribunal to pro-actively help ruling party violate Constitution at will… WP again insulting our intelligence. #Article7 procedure should continue
PS Full text of White Paper is available here:…

To understand nature of challenge we're facing & how new breed of populist autocrats seek to destroy rule of law see this @Verfassungsblog Q&A coauthored with Prof Scheppele:…

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More from @ProfPech

Aug 29, 2018
Recently released new #Article7 @EUCouncil document in which Polish government's dishonest explanations accompany a misleading Powerpoint - doubt Council members have ever been confronted with such obviously deceitful material/behaviour before
@EUCouncil I mean come on... The Polish government's White Paper contradicts (not to mention multiple public statements made) the Polish government's "explanations" given to Council members
@EUCouncil No doubt community of judges/legal professionals will be impressed by original points made by Polish gov's legal eagles whereby judgments can be effective without being implemented or published but not enforced because of a Gov "annotation" denying their lawful/binding nature...
Read 4 tweets
Jun 18, 2018
Just finished reading the Polish government’s non-paper on “judiciary regulations” revealed and critically analysed by @oko_press last Friday:…

Thread (possibly long) to follow

#Poland #RuleofLaw #Article7
2/ My diagnosis in a nutshell: so-called "non-paper" is as ridiculously misleading as so-called “white paper” on so-called “reform” of Polish judiciary from last March

#TakingUsForFools (version 2.0)
3/ The silver lining: @TimmermansEU did not fall for so-called “changes” & “concessions” or "compromises" offered by Polish authorities which can be *at best* described as cosmetic or meaningless
Read 21 tweets

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