Report - Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights. Rapporteur: Mr Andrea ORLANDO, Italy, Socialists, Democrats and Greens Group
With access to justice before independent and impartial courts being one of the criteria of the rule of law, the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights is concerned about the situation with regard to the judiciary in the Republic of Moldova and Poland.
In the Republic of Moldova, several attempts to reform the judiciary have not been successful and corruption and the proximity of part of the judiciary to the political authorities remain widespread phenomena. While welcoming the co-operation of the government in office with the Council of Europe, the committee calls on the authorities to step up their efforts to combat corruption and to prioritise reform of the justice system in line with the recommendations of Council of Europe expert bodies.
With regard to Poland, the committee refers to Resolution 2316 (2020) of the Assembly, the recent decisions of the Court of Justice of the European Union and the opinions of the Venice Commission concerning the justice reform initiated in 2017. It reiterates its concerns about the various forms of harassment to which judges who are critical of this reform are subjected and about the “gag law” which puts at risk their rights to respect for private life and to freedom of expression and association. It is concerned about the legal chaos which the “reform” of the judiciary has caused for citizens and calls on the authorities to review these changes, institute a constructive dialogue with all stakeholders and co-operate with the Council of Europe.