Panel: Poland's constitutional crisis endangers democracy

AP News
Posted: Feb 28, 2016 11:19 AM

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — An international human rights commission says a crisis affecting the functioning of Poland's Constitutional Tribunal has endangered the rule of law, democracy and human rights.

That assessment is contained in a draft opinion by the Venice Commission, an advisory body of the human rights watchdog Council of Europe.

The draft report was leaked this weekend and published by the Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper. President Andrzej Duda said he was disappointed that it was leaked and said he hoped the leak didn't come from the commission.

After taking power last November, the right-wing Law and Justice party changed laws that regulate the Constitutional Tribunal's functioning while also refusing to swear in judges picked legally by the previous government. Those moves sparked street protests and concerns by European leaders.