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How about Some Restorative Justice for Post-Communist Societies?

By Maria Szonert Binienda

Maria Szonert Binienda


from: American Thinker


The recent effort to reform the Polish judiciary came under fire as an assault on democracy and was loudly condemned by the Western media. In the campaign against the reforms, no arguments for the reform were presented and no serious discussion of the root causes of the problem emerged. Therefore, it is important to consider all viewpoints.

First, it shall be noted that the Polish judiciary to this day operates under the cloud of Stalinism. Not only its structure derives from those dark days but also the majority of people administering justice have close ties to Stalinist elites, their heirs, and collaborators. The allegedly independent Poland since 1989 has been unable to assure accountability for communist crimes. To this day, successors of Stalinism and Martial Law control the Polish judiciary.

People who are quick to condemn the Polish “undemocratic” reforms should study the case of Adam Slomka, an activist of the Solidarity Movement first persecuted by the Martial Law judges, and next persecuted in the post-1989 Poland by the same judges for demanding justice for Martial Law crimes. His story explains why restorative justice must be implemented in Poland. After all, about seven hundred judges and one thousand prosecutors of the Jaruzelski junta to this day administer justice in Poland.

The first ever serious attempt to reform the judiciary in order to assure basic sense of justice was undertaken only in July 2017 by the government of Prime Minister Szydło with the strong support from the public. The proposed legislation met the European standards and did not violate the Polish Constitution. However, it met with robust organized resistance instigated by Martial Law security forces. The protests ultimately forced President Duda to veto two out of three judiciary reform bills that passed the Parliament.

The Supreme Court made particularly egregious contribution to the destruction of any sense of justice in Poland, both in terms of human suffering and economic injustice by blocking the lustration process and shielding judges and prosecutors from the Stalinist period and their Martial Law successors, from facing justice.

Today, former KGB-trained intelligence officers fight against the judiciary reform by launching a massive disinformation campaign against the reform of the court system, their last vestige of power. With media support, they led street protests under the slogan of defending democracy. Professional provocateurs, agents from defunct communist intelligence services, and activists from NGOs linked to Moscow, openly called for the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Prime Minister Szydło, and made death threats to Chairman of the governing Law and Justice Party (L&J) Jarosław Kaczyński. They appealed to the public to defend their freedoms allegedly endangered by Kaczyński, the greatest adversary of the former communists. Kaczynski never bowed to the Soviet power and never opted for collaboration. He symbolizes the iron will to eradicate communism with all its vestiges and derivatives, and restore elementary sense of justice in the deeply harmed Polish society.

The 2015 elections gave the absolute majority to the non-communists for the first time since WWII. In accordance with their electoral mandate, the L&J shakes up the 80-years-old power structure and pursues greatly overdue restorative justice. The reform of the judiciary should have been implemented back early 90-ties. Unfortunately, because of the 1989 pact with Walesa faction of the Solidarity, the communists blocked necessary reforms and assured themselves full impunity for the next quarter of the century.

The contribution of the justice system to injustice that burdens the Polish society is enormous. For the past 80 years, courts have been dividing the Polish people between those who have rights and those who don’t. Those who fought against the Soviet oppression did not have any rights before the communist courts. This rule also applied to their families and descendants for decades to come. Such attitudes were never eradicated and breed grave injustice to this day.

Military prosecutors linked to communist intelligence services oversaw the first investigation of the 2010 Smolensk crash that killed President Lech Kaczynski. The same prosecutors who in 1981 persecuted Solidarity in the name of brotherly alliance with the Soviet Union controlled the investigation of the 2010 Smolensk crash. It was not until 2016 that these Martial Law criminals were finally demoted by the government of Prime Minister Szydło. Their salaries of about 20,000 PZL went down to the average salary of about 2,000 PZL.

In response, they called on the public to disobey the rule of law. With massive backing from the media, the post-communists attempted to block by force the legislative process in the parliament. They terrorized and threaten elected officials, disseminated guidelines how to overthrow the government, attacked individual member of the governing party and their families. They act with impunity knowing that their media and courts will protect them.

The Polish judiciary is so dysfunctional that in defending its vested interests it encourages disobedience and violation of law. Judges lead anti-government protests while the courts protect criminals and punish law enforcement officers who bring criminals to justice. All major crimes, assassinations, and scandals that have been rocking Poland for the past decades such as the Marshall’s Affair, Amber Gold, Sowa and Friends, Warsaw Reprivatization, OFE, FOZZ, etc., were covered up and blocked by the compromised judiciary.

Recent protests in defense of democracy are instigated by former apparatchiks of the deadly Jaruzelski regime, including members of the Martial Law security apparatus, who never faced justice for their crimes. They use terror against the democratically elected government to assure themselves further impunity. In a bizarre twist of history, the West hands them the hero welcome while the East rejoices.

This article was originally published by the American Thinker on September 9, 2017.

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The26380 October 7, 2017 at 12:57 pm

I find it amusing, Leszek, that you consider the re-privatization scandal as non-judicial.

As to your distinction of judicial and executive branch, this is a typical sidetracking issue for those who are unable to face the real problem and point instead to some side issues.

Clearly, you are unable to admit that there is a historic injustice ingrained in the Polish society and that this deep injustice has been discriminatory towards the patriotic segment of the Polish society for decades.
That injustice has been perpetrated by the justice system that consists of security forces, the prosecution and the courts rooted in the communist system.

So, if you want to acknowledge this problem honestly, you must recognize the long arm of KGB trained WSI-related prosecutors exerting their influence over the Polish justice system to this day. If you dismiss this obvious truth for ideological reasons then you resort to side issues like distinction between executive and judicial branches, independence of courts, constitution, democracy, etc.

admin October 4, 2017 at 9:19 pm

The last paragraph states the inconvenient and as we can see painful truth. Of course we have proof. One is tow. Mazguła who defends the martial law and judiciary. The second are all the people who defend special retirement privileges for former security apparatus. The same people “defend” judiciary system. The connection is too obvious not to notice.

Leszek Strzelecki October 4, 2017 at 4:10 pm

“Cloud of Stalinism”? Elaborate. This article is littered with unsubstantiated claims that are more like “name calling” than legitimate serious debate. The criticism of this judiciary “reform” here in the West and in Poland boils down to the fact it is patently in conflict with the constitutional principle of judiciary independence. In the US such system is called “checks and balances”, is clearly written in the American constitution that even President Trump, otherwise quite flamboyant ignorant of political process, doesn’t dare to breach. You should know better. Subbordinating judiciary to the post of Minister of Justice, simultaneously the Attorney General (who by the way illegaly holds a parliamentary mandate – check the Constitution), serves no other purpose but to further concentrate entire power in the hands of the executive branch. And that too much power in the hands of a few corrupts already knew Greek and Roman philosophers of Antiquity.

Mea October 4, 2017 at 7:07 pm

There is a difference between judicial independence and judicial lawlessness. Apparently all the corruption scandals and major affairs like Amber Gold or re privatization are just “unsubstantiated claims” for the so-called defenders of democracy, who can care less about the major pathology of the current judicial system.

As to the balance of power in the US, the Supreme Court appointments are purely political, which is a well known fact. There are no ‘independent” systems of judicial appointments in the world. Every person come from somewhere, represents some viewpoint and applies his or her values and ideologies in their decision making. The most important check and balance on the judiciary is their individual ethics. And this is what is completely lacking in the Polish judicial system. The fact that this professional group does not care about bad apples in their midst, about dysfunctional courts, and does not react to endless judicial scandals proves that they are unable to reform themselves.

Leszek Strzelecki October 5, 2017 at 11:32 am

I find it amusing, Mea, that you support your claim of “judicial lawlessness” with examples of “Amber Gold” or re-privatization. Those matters have not yet gone beyond relatively early stages of prosecutorial preparation and have not found their way to the courts, save perhaps for some minor cases. I get an impression you do not distinguish between courts and public attorneys or prosecutors. The former belongs to judicial branch of government, the latter to executive branch.

As for the vetting of courts from the communist era leftovers bear in mind communism was abolished in Poland 27 years ago; vast majority of ‘PRL’ era judges have long retired or passed away. Even those who started under the new regime in early 90-ies are in many cases becoming senior citizens ready to retire.

The constitution of Poland is very clear on this point: judicial system (courts) is an independent branch of government and neither legislative nor executive branches have the right to exercise any control over it. Period. You don’t like it, change the constitution first. And don’t confuse yet to be proven allegations with bona fide convictions.

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