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Following legal opinion, PACE monitors call for Poland’s new law on Russian influence to be repealed

Sejm, Warsaw, Poland

The PACE co-rapporteurs for the monitoring of Poland’s membership obligations to the Council of Europe, Azadeh Rojhan (Sweden, SOC) and Pieter Omtzigt (Netherlands, EPP/CD), have welcomed the swift drafting by the Venice Commission – the Council of Europe’s group of independent legal experts – of an urgent opinion on Poland’s Law on the State Commission to Investigate Russian Influence on the Internal Security of the Republic of Poland in the period 2007-2022.

The urgent opinion concluded that this law is fundamentally flawed and can lead to serious violations of human rights and rule of law standards and norms. In addition, the Venice Commission expressed its concern about the possible impact of the law on the democratic process and on upcoming parliamentary elections, as it lacks guarantees against political misuse and could easily become a tool in the hands of the majority to eliminate political opponents. The Venice Commission also concluded that the amendments to the law proposed by President Duda would not resolve its serious fundamental flaws and therefore recommended that it be repealed in its entirety.

“The very harsh conclusions of this opinion, which was requested by the Monitoring Committee on our proposal, confirmed our worst fears and concerns about this law. This law is not compatible with the principles of democracy and rule of law and we therefore urge the Polish Sejm to repeal this law without any delay so that it will not have any impact on the democratic nature of the upcoming elections,” said the two co-rapporteurs.