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Rights body: Poland’s laws on judges weaken corruption fight

June 22, 2018 GMT
FILE - In this Oct. 21, 2017 file photo Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the head of Poland's conservative ruling Law and Justice party, leaves a news conference in Warsaw, Poland. A government official denied rumors that Kaczynski's weeks of illness has sparked infighting at high government levels. Deputy Prime Minister Beata said: "everything in Law and Justice is in the best order. The king is one. Chairman Jaroslaw Kaczynski is king". (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski, file)
FILE - In this Oct. 21, 2017 file photo Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the head of Poland's conservative ruling Law and Justice party, leaves a news conference in Warsaw, Poland. A government official denied rumors that Kaczynski's weeks of illness has sparked infighting at high government levels. Deputy Prime Minister Beata said: "everything in Law and Justice is in the best order. The king is one. Chairman Jaroslaw Kaczynski is king". (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski, file)
FILE - In this Oct. 21, 2017 file photo Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the head of Poland's conservative ruling Law and Justice party, leaves a news conference in Warsaw, Poland. A government official denied rumors that Kaczynski's weeks of illness has sparked infighting at high government levels. Deputy Prime Minister Beata said: "everything in Law and Justice is in the best order. The king is one. Chairman Jaroslaw Kaczynski is king". (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski, file)
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FILE - In this Oct. 21, 2017 file photo Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the head of Poland's conservative ruling Law and Justice party, leaves a news conference in Warsaw, Poland. A government official denied rumors that Kaczynski's weeks of illness has sparked infighting at high government levels. Deputy Prime Minister Beata said: "everything in Law and Justice is in the best order. The king is one. Chairman Jaroslaw Kaczynski is king". (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski, file)
1 of 3
FILE - In this Oct. 21, 2017 file photo Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the head of Poland's conservative ruling Law and Justice party, leaves a news conference in Warsaw, Poland. A government official denied rumors that Kaczynski's weeks of illness has sparked infighting at high government levels. Deputy Prime Minister Beata said: "everything in Law and Justice is in the best order. The king is one. Chairman Jaroslaw Kaczynski is king". (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski, file)

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Europe’s top human rights body has criticized the erosion of judicial independence in Poland and says this will also affect the country’s ability to fight corruption.

The Council of Europe argues in a report released Friday that judicial independence is an essential condition for fighting corruption because “judges need to be able to make decisions free from real or potential undue influence, including from other branches of the state.”

It said Poland’s new laws, despite some changes, still give the legislative and executive powers too much influence over the judicial branch.

The European Union — which is separate from the Council of Europe — has threatened to strip Poland of its voting rights in the 28-nation bloc over the issue, but Warsaw is being protected from this punishment by ally Hungary.