‘They are both cowards’ – Prosecutors and former Polish PM protest move by Polish justice minister (and Tusk) as illegal

The decision by the justice minister on the order of PM Donald Tusk to dismiss the head of the National Public Prosecutor’s Office without consulting the head of state, as the law obliges, has caused a storm in Poland

editor: Grzegorz Adamczyk
author: Damian Kelman
via: i.pl
The new Polish Justice Minister Adam Bodnar, 2020. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

On Friday, Justice Minister Adam Bodnar, who also holds the post of prosecutor general, announced that Dariusz Barski is no longer the head of the National Public Prosecutor’s Office, alleging that previous Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro had made a procedural error in appointing Barski. 

Minister Bodnar proceeded to appoint Jacek Bilewicz to the post of “acting national prosecutor,” a post which is not recognized by law, without consulting Polish President Andrzej Duda. The law obliges the minister to consult any dismissal or appointment for the post of National Prosecutor with the head of state. 

One of the president’s senior aides, Wojciech Kolarski, told private broadcaster Polsat News that Duda will meet with Barski and his associates on Monday at the Presidential Palace and relayed that the president views the minister’s actions as a violation of the law. Kolarski quoted Duda who said that the steps taken by Bodnar without involvement from the prime minister and president are a “violation of law,” and accused Prime Minister Donald Tusk of plunging the country into crisis and ruling by revenge. 

According to the prosecutors working in the National Prosecutors office, the minister’s actions are totally outside of the law and they will therefore refuse to recognize them. Barski’s deputy has said that he has authorized a refusal of entry to the National Prosecutor’s office for new nominee Bilewicz. They have reminded the minister that the constitution forbids the creation of state entities, such as “acting national prosecutor” that are not provided for in legislation. They conclude that according to the law, Dariusz Barski remains the National Prosecutor, as his dismissal is invalid. 

Former Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydło took to X platform to slam the minister’s actions.

She wrote that “Justice Minister Adam Bodnar during his attempt to take over the National Public Prosecutor’s Office was instructed about the illegal nature of his actions.” She included a recording made of the Bodnar takeover and wrote that “every Pole should hear this recording.”

In the video, Bodnar admitted that the decision had been taken by Donald Tusk who, when asked about it by journalists, said that the action was Bodnar’s responsibility.

“They are both cowards who refuse to be accountable for their actions,” wrote Szydło.

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