BRUSSELS – In the second American presidential debate, Donald Trump promised that, if elected, he would appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton. “You’d be in jail,” Trump told her.
Trump’s threat to politicize the justice system has received the backlash that it deserves; but, sadly, his cynicism is not unique to the United States. The current Polish government, led by the Law and Justice (PiS) party, which came to power just under a year ago, has displayed a similar authoritarian streak, flouting legal conventions to further its own ends.
PiS leader Jarosław Kaczyński has repeatedly called for an inquiry into former Polish Prime Minister and current European Council President Donald Tusk. Kaczyński holds Tusk’s former government partially responsible for the April 2010 plane crash in Smolensk, Russia, which killed 96, including Kaczyński’s twin brother, Polish President Lech Kaczyński.
The Polish government delegation was traveling to a commemoration of the 1940 massacre in Katyn, where Stalin ordered the murder of 22,000 Polish army officers, police officers, and intelligentsia and blamed Hitler for the crime. When the Cold War ended, the truth about the massacre finally came out, and was officially recognized by Russian President Boris Yeltsin.