In the Public Square

LAPA Grad Associates Write Op-Ed for Leading Poland Paper

Maciej Kisilowski and Bart Szewczyk

In their extended commentary in Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland’s main daily, Maciej Kisilowski and Bart Szewczyk, both LAPA Graduate Associates, confront conventional wisdom across the Polish political and academic spectrum.

The commentary, available in English here, argues against a recent proposal of the Polish government to create an independent General Prosecutor, who will be nominated by prosecutors themselves and virtually irremovable. The authors point out that the proposed system will create a startling accountability vacuum, being "undemocratic, ineffective, and dangerous."

Based on a comprehensive assessment of the degrees of prosecutorial independence in several Western countries, with a special emphasis on the American experience with the independent counsel, Kisilowski and Szewczyk advise the government to "back away from such radical, untested experiments without any precedent in established democracies." Observing that there is "no need for a revolution," the authors suggest enhancing the existing prosecutor's independence with smaller and more gradual changes, including a sunset provision of five years; otherwise, they warn, "the cure . . . could prove to be more dangerous than the illness."

Maciej Kisilowski is a second year MPA candidate at the Woodrow Wilson School and JSD candidate at Yale Law School. Bart Szewczyk, MPA/JD ’06, works as a law clerk at Federal Appellate Court and is pursuing his PhD in international relations at the University of Cambridge.