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December 11 2019

Die kroatische Sprache im Faschismus – wer das Tabu erforschen will, stösst auf Hindernisse

Die Zeit des Faschismus ist im Wissenschaftsbetrieb Kroatiens nach wie vor ein gut gehütetes Tabu. Forschung darüber wird systematisch behindert, wie ein Erfahrungsbericht zeigt.
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Reposted from02myhumsci-01 02myhumsci-01
Geisteswissenschaft: "Das Gegenstück der Wachsamkeit ist immer die Gefährdung"
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Reposted from02myhumsci-01 02myhumsci-01

Open Letter to the President of the European Commission

Open Letter to the President of the European Commission regarding Poland’s disciplinary regime for judges and the urgent need for interim measures in Commission v Poland (C-791/19)

Ever since the European Commission initiated a third infringement procedure in respect to the recurrent attacks on the rule of law by Polish authorities last April, the situation has continued to seriously deteriorate. We have now reached the unprecedented and frightening stage where Polish judges are being subject to harassment tactics in the form of multiple arbitrary disciplinary investigations, formal disciplinary proceedings and/or sanctions for applying EU law as interpreted by the ECJ or ‘daring’ to refer questions for a preliminary ruling to the Court of Justice.

In addition, Polish authorities are now openly challenging the authority of the rulings recently adopted by the ECJ and the not-yet-captured Labour and Social Security Chamber of the Supreme Court. These judgments concern both the Disciplinary Chamber of Poland’s Supreme Court, whose legality is being challenged in the pending infringement procedure previously mentioned, and the new National Council of the Judiciary, whose lack of independence had previously led to its suspension from the European Network of Councils for the Judiciary (ENCJ).

As representatives of non-governmental organisations and scholars specialising in matters relating to the rule of law and the protection of human rights, we write this open letter so as to urge you to take immediate steps to stop the rapidly increasing legal chaos in Poland.

As you yourself keep repeating, “there can be no compromise when it comes to respecting the rule of law”. This is why we are asking you to promptly submit to the European Court of Justice an application for interim measures in the infringement case C-791/19 Commission v Poland now pending before the Court of Justice. Without interim measures in place, Polish authorities evidently feel free to openly persecute judges who seek to apply and enforce EU law via the two institutions they de facto control: the Disciplinary Chamber and the National Council of the Judiciary.

The time has come to accept we are facing a situation in which EU law has broken down. Interim measures are called for before the situation gets worse and irreparable damage is done.

The prior Commission asked for interim measures in the case in which the government of Poland sought to capture the Supreme Court by retroactively lowering the retirement age of its judges (C-619/18 R). The Court of Justice agreed to grant the Commission’s request and Poland was ordered to maintain the status quo until the Court could rule in the matter.

Given that Polish authorities are now openly challenging the authority of ECJ case law and actively seeking to prevent Polish judges from applying EU law, while an infringement action that challenges their attempts to fatally undermine the independence of Polish judges through a new disciplinary regime is pending, fresh action is required. It is imperative to prevent the Commission from losing its ability to enforce any favourable ruling that it may eventually receive. Interim measures are therefore essential because, if Polish authorities succeed in intimidating and/or removing the judges who are most keen to apply EU law and to defend the rule of law more generally, it will be too late for the Commission’s pending infringement action to have any impact by the time the ECJ finds Poland to have violated – for the third time in a row – the principle of judicial independence.

This is why the Commission, in the context of interim proceedings, must request the Court to order Poland to immediately adopt the following interim measures:

–   refrain from all activities, including preliminary disciplinary investigations or formal disciplinary proceedings with respect to judges on account of the content of their judicial decisions or requests for preliminary rulings;

–   ensure both that the Disciplinary Chamber suspends all of its activities in light of the ECJ preliminary ruling (Joined cases C-585/18, C-624/18 and C-625/18) and the Supreme Court ruling finding it not to constitute a “court” within the meaning of EU and Polish law and that other authorities, including disciplinary officers and prosecutors, refrain from bringing actions to this chamber;

–   ensure both that the President of the Disciplinary Chamber (or any person acting on behalf of the President) is no longer able to establish, on an ad-hoc basis and with an almost unfettered discretion, disciplinary courts of first instance to cases brought against ordinary court judges and that the disciplinary courts already established in this way refrain from considering cases and issuing judgments;

–   ensure that the people appointed to the Disciplinary Chamber do not participate in the Supreme Court’s bodies – including the General Assembly of the Supreme Court Judges – in procedures intended to fill the office of the First President of the Supreme Court, which will be vacant in April 2020, or the presidents of the Supreme Court heading particular chambers;

–   ensure that the National Council of the Judiciary refrains from nominating any new individual to be appointed as a judge, including to the Disciplinary Chamber, and – more generally – abstains from any action or statement which undermine the judicial independence of Polish judges.

We wish this open letter were not necessary. Sadly, it is well established that Polish authorities have deliberately ignored the Commission’s multiple recommendations ever since the Commission’s rule of law framework was activated in respect of Poland in January 2016. Rather than taking the rule of law dialogue as a warning and an invitation to return to the rule of law, the Polish authorities have instead intensified the repression of independent judges and prosecutors.

The Rubicon has now been crossed with Polish authorities actively and purposely organising non-compliance with the ruling of the Court of Justice of 19 November 2019 and the judgment of the Supreme Court of 5 December by claiming that neither the ruling of the Court of Justice nor the judgment of the Supreme Court are of any legal significance when it comes to the continuing functioning of the Disciplinary Chamber and the National Council of the Judiciary.

Poland’s ruling party’s strategy is clear: create faits accomplis and hide behind a veneer of legality if and when required by relying on the captured Constitutional Tribunal, the so-called Disciplinary or Extraordinary Control and Public Affairs Chambers, or the ENCJ-suspended Polish National Council of the Judiciary to in effect nullify the effect of EU law in Poland whenever convenient for the ruling party.

The attacks on judicial independence we are witnessing in Poland are unprecedented in the history of the EU and legal chaos is bound to ensue and spread because Polish authorities are openly and purposefully ignoring their duties and obligations as a matter of Polish as well as EU law. If not promptly addressed through interim measures, we have no doubt this will mark the beginning of the end of the EU’s common and interconnected legal order.

A Europe that protects must also stand up for justice and for values. Threats to the rule of law challenge the legal, political and economic basis of our Union. The rule of law is central to President von der Leyen’s vision for a Union of equality, tolerance and social fairness,” says the European Commission’s website.

Time has come to put words into action by urgently applying for interim measures so as to preserve what is left of the rule of law in Poland while there is still time to prevent its complete abolition.

Yours faithfully,

Professor Laurent Pech, Middlesex University

Professor Kim Lane Scheppele, Princeton University

Professor Wojciech Sadurski, University of Sydney, University of Warsaw

Professor Alberto Alemanno, HEC Paris

Professor Leszek Balcerowicz, SGH Warsaw School of Economics

Professor Ryszard Balicki, University of Wrocław

Professor Petra Bárd, Central European University

Professor Gráinne de Búrca, New York University

Professor Paul Craig, University of Oxford

Dr Tom Gerald Daly, Melbourne School of Government

Professor Monika Florczak-Wątor, Jagiellonian University in Kraków

Professor Gábor Halmai, European University Institute

Professor R. Daniel Kelemen, Rutgers University

Professor Dimitry Kochenov, Groningen University

Professor Tomasz Tadeusz Koncewicz, University of Gdańsk

Professor Marcin Matczak, University of Warsaw

Professor John Morijn, Groningen University

Professor Sébastien Platon, Bordeaux University

Professor Tomasz Pietrzykowski, University of Silesia in Katowice

Professor Anna Rakowska-Trela, University of Łódź

Professor Roman Wieruszewski, Polish Academy of Sciences

Professor Jerzy Zajadło, University of Gdańsk

Amnesty International

Association for the Defense of Human Rights in Romania – the Helsinki Committee (APADOR-CH)

Association of Judges “THEMIS” (Poland)

Bulgarian Helsinki Committee

Campaign Against Homophobia (KPH) (Poland)

Civil Development Forum (FOR) (Poland)

Civil Liberties Union for Europe (Liberties)

Estonian Human Rights Centre

Foundation Prof. Bronisław Geremek Centre (Poland)

Free Courts (Poland)

Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland)

Homo Faber (Poland)

Human Rights Monitoring Institute (Lithuania)

Human Rights Watch

Hungarian Helsinki Committee

Hungarian Civil Liberties Union

Italian Coalition for Civil Liberties and Rights (CILD)

Institute for Law and Society INPRIS (Poland)

Institute of Public Affairs (Poland)

International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)

Irish Council for Civil Liberties

“Lex Super Omnia” Association of Prosecutors (Poland)

Panoptykon Foundation (Poland)

Polish Judges’ Association “Iustitia” (Poland)

Polish National Association of Judges of Administrative Courts (Poland)

Polish Society of Anti-Discrimination Law

Presidium of the Judges' Cooperation Forum (Poland)

Professor Zbigniew Hołda Association (Poland)

Rafto Foundation for Human Rights (Norway)

Rights International Spain

Stefan Batory Foundation (Poland)

Wiktor Osiatyński Archive (Poland)

Maximilian Steinbeis, Verfassungsblog

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Reposted from02mysoup-aa 02mysoup-aa

Generation Tired

Es passt nicht so recht ins Bild der schönen neuen Digi-Welt, aber Mediennutzer selbst beklagen zunehmend Erschöpfung, ein hoher Anteil junger Frauen fühlt sich "unter Druck"
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Reposted from02myEcon-01 02myEcon-01

December 10 2019

Global Voices is 15!

As we turn 15, we take a moment to thank our brilliant global community of contributors and our readers and supporters for giving Global Voices the strength and energy to endure.
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Icann und ISOC: Der Ausverkauf des Internets

Der Verkauf von .org wirkt wie ein Verschwörungskrimi voller seltsamer Zufälle, Korruption und zwielichtiger Gestalten. Hinzu kommen Intransparenz und Widersprüche. Ein IMHO von Sebastian Grüner (Internet, DNS)
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Russland plant Konkurrenz zum Suezkanal

Der staatliche russische Atomkonzern Rosatom plant einen Handelsweg entlang der Nordmeerküste als Konkurrenz zum Suezkanal. Möglich macht das der Klimawandel.
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Mindestlohn: Millionen bekommen schon heute weniger als erlaubt

Die SPD will den Mindestlohn auf zwölf Euro anheben, die Union ist dagegen. Dabei wäre schon vielen Beschäftigten geholfen, wenn sich Unternehmen an das Gesetz hielten.
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Reposted from02myEcon-01 02myEcon-01

EU-Kommission genehmigt Milliardenhilfen für Batterie-Allianz

Der von Deutschland und weiteren EU-Staaten vorangetriebene "Batterie-Airbus" bekommt mit 3,2 Milliarden Euro Wind unter die Flügel.

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The Antarctic: Data about the structure of the icy continent

Satellite data from the European Space Agency (ESA) has now been used as the basis for new insights on the deep structure of the continent Antarctica.
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New function for plant enzyme could lead to green chemistry

Scientists have discovered a new function in a plant enzyme that could inspire the design of new chemical catalysts. The enzyme catalyzes, or initiates, one of the cornerstone chemical reactions needed to synthesize a wide array of organic molecules, including those found in lubricants, cosmetics, and those used as raw materials for making plastics.
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Armut als individuelles Problem?

Massenarbeitslosigkeit wird vom ökonomischen Mainstream als Folge subjektiver Entscheidungen interpretiert. Soziologen dagegen erkennen, dass Arbeitslosigkeit ein systemisches Problem darstellt und daher ihre Beseitigung der Wirtschaftspolitik bedarf.

Der Artikel Armut als individuelles Problem? erschien zuerst auf MAKROSKOP.

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Reposted from02myEcon-01 02myEcon-01

Drei Jahre auf der Balkanroute: Afghanischer Regisseur hält seine Flucht vor den Taliban filmisch fest

Hassan Fazili zeigt in «Midnight Traveler», worauf Fernsehreportagen oft nur von aussen blicken können: eine Flucht aus Sicht der Flüchtenden. Der preisgekrönte Regisseur ist am Dienstag am Human Rights Festival in Zürich zu Gast.
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Reposted from02myhumsci-01 02myhumsci-01

USA und Nato üben mit Defender-Europe 20 einen Krieg mit Russland

Nächstes Jahr wird die Verlegung einer US-Division nach Europa mit der Drehscheibe Deutschland geprobt - die größte Militärübung seit 25 Jahren. Was die Bevölkerung bei einem Kriegsfall zu erwarten hat, wird lieber nicht thematisiert
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Reposted from02myEcon-01 02myEcon-01

Anachronisms by Law

In an ongoing effort to combat online hate speech, the German Minister of Justice recently announced to examine the re-introduction of section 88a of the German Penal Code (hereinafter StGB). This law sanctioned the ‘anti-constitutional endorsement of crime’ and was only in force during a brief period between 1976 and 1981. It was supposed to counteract the spread of aggressive opinions and calls for violence. While politicians today are struggling with the issue of harmful online speech, one should refrain from re-introducing a law that was not only controversial back then but also ineffective. Apart from that, resurrecting the law in today’s digital world raises numerous questions.

A highly restrictive and vague law

According to sec. 88a StGB, distributing, publicly exhibiting or creating, purchasing, delivering any type of written document that would fulfill the provisions of sec. 126 StGB, that is, the ‘breach of the public peace by threatening to commit offenses’, and that would be intended and suitable according to the circumstances to promote this type of threat. Making this type of document publicly available was punishable by up to three years of prison sentence, and the same applied to the endorsement of anti-constitutional behavior in public or in a gathering. Hence, endorsing someone else’s announcement to perhaps breaching the public peace according to sec. 126 StGB was made a felony (acc. to sec. 12 StGB). Endorsement was later defined as ‘an approval or affirmation of an action directed towards future acts as welcome, at least as necessary or as unavoidable’. Back then, the lawmakers’ goal was to restrict the propagation of violence ‘especially among young people’ as a ‘means of solving political, social and individual conflicts’. In 2018, the Bundestag’s research service analyzed section 88a StGB and came to the conclusion that the law was not only possibly incompatible with the standards for speech-restricting laws but also ineffective since there was only one final judgment on its base.

(Historical) context matters

Section 88a was adopted in 1976 in a time where Germany was shaken by far-left groups such as the Red Army Fraction and the Revolutionary Cells, a time also known as the “German Autumn”. After a series of violent events, that is, attacks, kidnapping, and assassinations, the German Parliament decided to not only sanction incitements to commit crimes, calls for violence, and other inciting offenses, but also the endorsement of the threat of committing certain crimes. The point of my argument here is not to compare the violent acts committed during the 1970s with today. Such comparison would not lead anywhere since it is still difficult to measure the effects on online hate speech on events of the analog world and because there are so far no certainties regarding the negative effects of social platforms on the public debate (Emmer 2019). In addition to avoiding jumping to conclusions with regard to the comparability of the issues addressed, one should not underestimate the boomerang effect of a law restricting political opinions: according to hearings in Parliament in 1981, section 88a apparently damaged ‘the reputation of criminal law and of the State’ more than it stopped the endorsement of anti-constitutional announcements.     

Avoid errors from the past

Re-introducing a speech-restricting law with a scope of application that was already too broad forty years ago would be another step along the lines of the German law against the spread of unlawful content on social media platforms, the Network Enforcement Act (hereinafter NetzDG). Not to say that the two laws are similar, they are fundamentally different. However, we can learn from the mistakes made in 2017. The NetzDG was passed in a legislative rush and rightly criticized by experts like UN-Special Rapporteur David Kaye (among others) for its potentially restrictive effects on freedom of expression. In essence, the criticism is about the NetzDG delegating too much power over the limits of free speech to social media platforms, and about creating incentives to remove content when it might be punishable under German criminal law. So far, the reports published by social media platforms do not contain any sign for over-blocking due to the NetzDG but the law serves as a model for other countries where freedom of expression and information might be less protected. In light of this precedent, there should be an awareness about adopting laws that have a speech-restricting effect, especially considering that section 88a StGB was removed in 1981 because it was deemed ‘superfluous and harmful’, not because it had reached its objectives.

Plenty of warning signs

Finally, there are too many constitutional pitfalls and unanswered questions. According to article 5 (2) Basic Law, freedom of expression and information can be restricted by general laws meeting the standards enshrined in the Basic Law and developed by the German Constitutional Court. Such laws need to be general, proportionate, and to comply with the interdependence doctrine (“Wechselwirkung”) with regards to speech-targeting purposes. Re-enacting section 88a would require to define what a ‘written document’, ‘public’ or ‘a gathering’ are in the digital sphere. It would also need to be specific about how to define the act of endorsing on social media: would it suffice to “like” a post or would a share/retweet be necessary? At times when sharing and accessing information is one of the main accomplishments of social media platforms (even if they are under attack for their content moderation policies, at least since Cambridge Analytica), one should refrain from limiting in such manner what can be shared. In terms of proportionality, a new section 88a would need to be ‘necessary’, hence to fill a statutory gap that is not already sufficiently covered by other sections. However, there is no such statutory gap when you look at the offenses listed in sec. 1 (3) NetzDG: there are already numerous laws restricting speech and punishing speakers who insult (sec. 185 StGB), who call for sedition (sec. 130 StGB), who spread propaganda information about anti-constitutional organisations (sec. 86 StGB), etc. Last but not least, it would require clarity about the actors involved: should social media platforms be in charge of detecting the anti-constitutional endorsement of offenses, strengthening their role as ‘custodians of the Internet’ (Gillespie 2018)? Should prosecutors be allowed to search social media platforms as if they were public spaces? Although the German legal system generally allows restricting speech (in comparison to the First Amendment), the lack of clarity and the abundance of questions in the present case should be perceived as a clear warning sign.

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Reposted from02mysoup-aa 02mysoup-aa

December 09 2019

Elektromobilität: Auf dem E-Highway in Schleswig-Holstein ist der O-Lkw los

In Schleswig-Holstein ist auf der A1 erstmals ein Lkw gefahren, der Fahrstrom von einer Oberleitung bezogen hat. Damit ist das Pilotprojekt für Elektromobilität startklar. Der Regelbetrieb startet Anfang kommenden Jahres. (Elektromobilität, Technologie)
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