List Przewodniczącego Komisji Weneckiej Rady Europy do Prezesa Trybunału Konstytucyjnego prof. Andrzeja Rzeplińskiego
Strasbourg, 16 December 2016
Mr Andrzej Rzepliński President
Constitutional Tribunal Poland
Dear President Rzepliński,
As your term as President and Judge of the Constitutional Tribunal of Poland comes to an end, I would like to thank you for the good co-operation between the Tribunal and the Venice Commission under your Presidency.
However, this is no ordinary “good-bye” letter. The situation of the Constitutional Tribunal remains seriously preoccupying and Poland is still in a constitutional crisis. The last two years were marked by attempts to change the composition of the Tribunal in an unconstitutional manner, to alter its Presidency and to block or slow-down the work of the Tribunal. On two occasions the Venice Commission was asked to give its opinion on these changes and the Commission found that they endangered democracy, the protection of human rights and the rule of law in Poland.
In a way similar to amendments adopted in November 2015 and then found unconstitutional by the Tribunal, current draft legislation seems to shift the focus from the Tribunal’s procedure back to the issue of its Presidency. As the Venice Commission might be asked to give an opinion on this legislation, I cannot yet express myself on it. However, I hope that all Judges of the Tribunal will remain faithful to your legacy as a President and carry out their duties in full compliance with the letter and spirit of the Constitution and not be influenced by political considerations.
I wish you all the best for the time after your mandate and notably good health!