At noon, the hearing of the full chamber of the Constitutional Court on the dispute over powers that had begun in 2017 between the President of the Republic of Poland and the Supreme Court on the right to pardon began. 11 judges of the Constitutional Court entered the courtroom.
Full composition in TK
The issue of the dispute over jurisdiction is related to the non-final verdict against Mariusz Kamiński and other persons from the former management of the CBA. On May 9 of this year, the full session of the Tribunal was to hear the case for the first time. – at that time, however, of the 15 judges of the Constitutional Court, 10 entered the courtroom and one judge was missing from the full court.
There has been a dispute in the Constitutional Tribunal for several months over the term of office of Julia Przyłębska as President of the Tribunal, preventing the Tribunal from meeting fully recently – six Tribunal judges, including Vice President Mariusz Muszyński, sent a letter in January to Julia Przyłębska and President Andrzej Duda, demanding that she convene the Assembly of Judges of the Constitutional Court and select candidates from among whom the president would nominate a new president. On May 9, of the six judges who sent a letter to Przyłębska in January, Bogdan Święczkowski was in court.
However, the media recently reported on a letter from two of the six judges of the Constitutional Court – Święczkowski and Zbigniew Jędrzejewski – addressed to President Julia Przyłębska, in which they stated that their participation in the investigation of this case “does not in any way change our position expressed in the letter from the six judges of the Constitutional Court dated January 3, 2023 that after the expiry of your six-year term of office, you are no longer the President of the Tribunal.”
The Constitutional Tribunal is scheduled to hold another hearing in this case on Wednesday. However, it was then postponed to Friday – as the Constitutional Tribunal’s press service reported – “because of the judge’s sudden and justifiable absence.”
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Jurisdiction dispute over the right to pardon
This case has a history of almost ten years. In March 2015, the Warsaw-Śródmieście District Court at first instance convicted the former head of the CBA, Mariusz Kamiński (currently Head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration) and Maciej Wąsik (then Kamiński’s deputy in the CBA, currently Deputy Minister of the Interior and Administration) to 3 years imprisonment, among other things for exceeding authority and unlawful management of the CBA during the “country scandal” in 2007. Two other former members of the CBA management were sentenced to prison terms after 2.5 years.
In November 2015, before the District Court in Warsaw examined their appeals, President Andrzej Duda pardoned all four unlawfully convicted persons. In March 2016, the SO overturned the SR’s verdict and, given the President’s clemency, legally discontinued the case. The assistant public prosecutors have lodged an appeal in cassation with the Supreme Court against this judgment of the Supreme Court.
However, the cassation procedure at the Supreme Court in this case was suspended on 1 August 2017. The Supreme Court then motivated its decision by filing a case with the Constitutional Court concerning a jurisdictional dispute between the Supreme Court and the president about the right to a pardon.
The dispute over powers, which was referred to the Constitutional Court by the then Marshal of the Sejm, Marek Kuchciński, in June 2017, concerns the nature of the President’s constitutional power to apply the power of clemency and whether the Supreme Court a binding interpretation thereof.
The issue of the power dispute arose following the ruling of the Supreme Court at the end of May 2017. At that time, seven judges of the Supreme Court – in response to a question from the Supreme Court that the former heads of cassation of the CBA – decided that the presidential pardon should only be applied to legally convicted persons. The former heads of the CBA have not been legally convicted.
After the case was referred to the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court stayed the proceedings. However, in February and March The Supreme Court has reportedly started the cassation procedure ex officio. The stay of the case cleared the way for a hearing in the Supreme Court. This hearing – as announced at the beginning of March – will take place on Tuesday 6 June this year.