2:15 p.m., January 9, 2022
Once again, he finds himself in the spotlight of the news, which is undoubtedly not to displease him. Lawyer for Donald Tusk, the former President of the European Council today leader of the Polish opposition, Roman Giertych is at the heart of a decision which will be rendered Thursday by the Court of Justice of the European Union. And which should not pacify the already extremely tense relations between Warsaw and Brussels. The atypical 50-year-old lawyer, whose career has always taken place not far from the political sphere, was accused in 2017 by the national prosecutor of having made remarks incompatible with his function – a comment in which he commented on the possible indictment of Donald Tusk.
The public prosecutor then asked the Warsaw Bar to initiate disciplinary proceedings, a request which the latter rejected, before putting a preliminary question to the court in Luxembourg. “This is an unprecedented case in the history of the Polish bar,” comments Council Michal Zacharski, who speaks of “harassment” against his colleague.
Spied on by Pegasus
The lawyer, darling of the Polish liberal opposition, has become in a few years the pet peeve of the conservatives of the Law and Justice party (PiS), in power. Roman Giertych was notably arrested in 2020 by the Central Anti-Corruption Bureau for “money laundering”. A case that he denounced as “eminently political”, such as “revenge for his anti-government activity”. Coincidence or coincidence, the day after his arrest, the lawyer was to intervene during a politico-financial trial where several names of those close to power were mentioned.
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At the end of December 2020, the Citizen Lab, located at the University of Toronto in Canada, also revealed that the Israeli software Pegasus had been used to spy on him like other members of the opposition, a scandal described as “Watergate Polish “by the media. His phone was reportedly hacked at least 18 times, which led him to file a complaint with the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague against the Minister of the Interior for human rights violations.
“It is a typically political animal”
But the juggler has not always scrapped with so much force against the conservative camp. In another life, he was Vice-President of the Council and Minister of Education (2006-2007) in one of the PiS governments, at the same time he was head of the League of Polish Families, a Catholic far-right party since dissolved, for which he was deputy between 2001 and 2007. At the time, he did not hesitate to denounce “homosexual propaganda” and to speak out for the ban on abortion, although far from the positions of the Civic Platform (PO, center left) whose struggles he espouses today.
As a connoisseur of the enemy camp, the defector now wants to be a weighty asset for Donald Tusk, who should embark on the legislative battle of 2023 in order to dislodge the national-populist party in power. “He is a typically political animal and I am deeply convinced that he will want to return to this sphere, assures his colleague Jacek Dubois, with whom he shares several files. He is one of the most stable pillars of the opposition, and one of the smartest people I’ve ever met. “