On September 17th and 18th, second-year law students Anna Walczak, Zuzanna Uba, Tekla Emborg, and Elene Amiranashvili from the University of Groningen organised the “Our Rule of Law Festival”. This was a two-day festival on the rule of law in the European Union with a special focus on Poland, the independence of the judiciary, and the independence of the media. The festival attracted great interest from students, legal professionals from both Poland and the Netherlands, and the media.
Polish and Dutch judges, lawyers, activists, politicians, journalists, and students came together for interesting discussions at the event. The discussions were closely followed by several Dutch media: EenVandaag (broadcast Wednesday), Radio 1 (minute 53:20 to 58:00), Volkskrant, Financieel Dagblad, and the UKrant.
Dutch judges, including the president of the District Court of the North Netherlands Fred van der Winkel, lawyer Richard Korver, and VVD second chamber member (and UG alumna) Roelien Kamminga, and Polish participants, including judge Igor Tuleya, journalists Anna Wójcik and Mariusz Jałoszewski, lawyer Michał Wawrykiewicz, and former Ombudsman for Civil Rights Adam Bodnar, participated in various panels. Several civil society organisations, such as Amnesty International and the Dutch Helsinki Committee, also showed interest in the festival and made an active contribution to the dialogue.
With this festival, the students wanted to bring together different players in society to explore how they could join forces and mobilise others in the fight for the rule of law. They certainly succeeded in this. Anna, Zuzanna, Tekla and Elene: “The whole festival attracted more than 100 different students and also several journalists. It was great to see that after each part of the programme, students talked with both participants and each other. This showed that our goal of starting conversations and building a community around the defence of the rule of law has been successful. From our Polish guests we heard how impressed they were by UG students on the questions we asked and how involved we were with the subject. We are also very proud that we raised almost 1.500 euros for the independent Polish newspaper oko.press through ticket sales. It was an honour to work on such a project and we hope that our guests and speakers will talk about our event for a long time to come.”
The full event has been recorded and will be made available by session in the near future. For more information, follow the Our Rule of Law Festival channels.
This article was published by the Faculty of Law.
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