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Briefly Noted

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 April 2024


The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) handed down a unanimous decision on November 23, 2023, in a case brought by former Polish President Lech Walesa against the Polish Government. The Court concluded that a Polish Appeals Court, the Chamber of Extraordinary Review and Public Affairs (CERPA), had violated Walesa's right to an independent and impartial trial, breached “the principle of legal certainty,” and violated his right to respect for private and family life. The Court found that the CERPA “was not an ‘independent and impartial tribunal established by law’” and was often used by the state to “further its own political opinions and motives,” as the Prosecutor General of Poland and the Executive branch of government held considerable influence and authority over the judicial system. Additionally, the 2017 law that created the CERPA gave to the General Prosecutor “the unlimited power to contest virtually any final judicial decision” and extended the time limits for filing appeals, which enabled the Prosecutor to act retroactively and undermine the “requirement of foreseeability.”

Briefly Noted
Copyright © The Author(s), 2024. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of The American Society of International Law

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With thanks to Michael G. Bergin, Jr. for his assistance in drafting some of these summaries.