New act of law merging the functions of the Minister of Justice and the Director of Public Prosecutions was approved by the Lower Chamber of the Polish Parliament (Sejm) on Thursday evening. The act will now be handed over to the Senate.The ruling party PiS has prepared the new regulations. 236 deputies voted for the “Law of Public Prosecutions Office”, 209 deputies were against it and 7 MPs abstained from voting.
According to the new act, from the 4th of March, the Minister of Justice and the Director of Public Prosecutions will be one and the same person, with more power. A month later, in April, the so far independent Military Prosecutions Office will be dissolved.
The opposition parties are against the new law, claiming it will make the Prosecutions Office more political under the rule of the minister.
You want to make the Prosecutions Office political, you want it to be fully dependent on the ruling political party, in that case – PiS. This is a very bad solution for all the prosecutors. You want to get rid of the independency of the Office because you want to have influence on all of the investigations – says Robert Kropiwnicki – opposition MP (PO).
Michał Wójcik (PIS), the author of the act project, replies to the opposition:
I want to ensure all of the Poles that we have prepared a good act of law. Considering all of the challenges we face nowadays: terrorist attack threats, organised criminality, corruption, which really festers in our country, we have to put a responsible person in that position and that person will be the Minister of Justice – Director of Public Prosecutions.
After the changes come into force, the Director of Public Prosecutions will have th right to directly lead the prosecution, give orders, guidelines and instructions. National Prosecutions Office will be created in place of the General Prosecutions Office, and in place of appeal prosecutions – regional prosecutions.
Investigations “with wide evidence material and complicated in factual and legal aspect” will be conducted by the National Prosecutions Office, independently from its locality or factual atributes, as decided by the Director of Public Prosecutions.
On Friday, a sitting of the Senate is planned – legislative, human rights, law-abidingness and petitions commissions will discuss the new acts of law.