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Judges in Poland and Moldova must remain independent, says PACE

PACE has urged authorities in Poland and the Republic of Moldova to take a series of steps to uphold the rule of law and ensure judicial independence.

Approving a resolution based on a report by Andrea Orlando (Italy, SOC), the Assembly condemned “the campaign of intimidation waged by the political authorities against certain critical judges and against the justice system in general” in Poland, declaring such conduct “unworthy of a democracy and a law-governed State”.

The Assembly called on the Polish authorities to review the changes made to the functioning of the Constitutional Tribunal and the ordinary justice system in the light of Council of Europe standards; revert to the previous system of electing judicial members of the National Council of the Judiciary; and review the composition, internal structure and powers of the Supreme Court’s Disciplinary Chamber and Extraordinary Control and Public Affairs Chamber.

As regards the Republic of Moldova, the Assembly said it was concerned by “the proximity of part of the judiciary to the political authorities”. Several attempts to reform the judiciary “have not been successful”, the parliamentarians said, pointing out that corruption remains a widespread phenomenon.

They urged ongoing reform of the Moldovan judiciary, the Superior Council of Magistracy and the prosecution service, in line with Council of Europe recommendations, and greater efforts to combat corruption among judges and prosecutors.