The rule of law in Poland, Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova has been a matter of growing concern for the international community, including the Parliamentary Assembly which adopted Resolution 2188 (2017) on “New threats to the rule of law in Council of Europe member States: selected examples” and written declarations Nos. 637, 641 and 644.
These appeals have not been seriously considered by the authorities of the countries concerned.
In Poland, new anti-constitutional laws on the Supreme Court and the National Council of the Judiciary have entered into force in January 2018. The National Broadcasting Council imposed a fine on the Polish private broadcaster TVN, as it allegedly “infringed the law by promoting illegal activities and encouraging a behaviour that threatens security”. The decision was repelled following strong public criticism, but is commonly perceived as a “warning” to the media.
In Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova, harassment of anti-corruption and pro-European activists, independent journalists and opposition politicians is conducted by the law enforcement bodies with the tacit consent of and reluctant response from the judiciary and the government bodies. The highest Ukrainian officials seem to undermine the independence of the country’s National Anti-corruption Bureau, while Irina Nozdrovska, a human rights activist received open threats before being murdered.
The tendency to violate democratic standards in the Republic of Moldova continues. Despite vocal protests, a new electoral law favouring the interests of pro-government forces was adopted.
In all those countries, non-governmental organisations, critical of the State authorities and activists, are under unacceptable pressure (including defamatory campaigns leading to hate speech and physical attacks). There are several hundreds of criminal proceedings against the activists and protesters in Poland.
In order to protect the rule of law and civil liberties in these countries, the Assembly should resolve to carefully investigate and propose practical measures to counter the above-mentioned problems by all the competent bodies of the Council of Europe and the member States.