on the new amendment
to Polish Code of Criminal Procedure
14 August 2019
The members of the JUSTICIA European Rights Network (a coalition of the European leading civil liberties organizations working on the right to a fair trial) express their deep concerns regarding the compatibility of an amendment to the Code of Criminal Procedure with international law standards, since it will allow public authorities to arbitrarily deprive individuals of liberty and their right to appeal against conviction.
Under the amendment, public prosecutors will have a final say in some cases concerning pre-trial detention. Moreover, the adopted amendment will also allow appeal courts to sentence a person whom a first instance court had previously conditionally discontinued criminal proceedings and imposed probation measures. Furthermore, the amended CCP will not provide for any possibility for such a person to appeal their conviction.
Finally, the adopted amendment will, in some extraordinary cases, allow criminal courts to conduct the evidentiary proceedings without the presence of both the defendant and the defence counsel, even when their absence is justified.
The JUSTICIA European Rights Network considers that none of the solutions adopted in the amendment can be reconciled with the requirements of the right to a fair trial.