Beyond the Law : Legal Assessment of the Polish State’a Activities in Response to the Humanitarian Crisis on the Polish-Belarusian Border

We  are pleasure present to you a study, edited by Prof. dr habil. Witold Klaus, which is a legal commentary to the dramatic events that have been taking place on the Polish–Belarusian border since August 2021. The humanitarian crisis unfolding there, or in fact the Polish government’s response to it, not only does it raisemany moral but also legal questions.The publication is the product of collaboration between two research centres operating at the Institute of Law Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences: the Migration Law Research Centre and the Centre for Research on International Criminal Law. The authors represent various research institutions, although most of them are active members of one of the PAS centres. In this publication, the authors attempt to answer the most important of the latter. This selection of issues comes from questions and doubts appearing in press materials, and also from requests made by people helping on the border and acting as part of the Grupa Granica organisation.

As you will see, the issues we address in this publication cover many different areas of law, which often overlap. They concern migration law, constitutional law, administrative law, criminal law, humanitarian law, international law and human rights law. This required assembling an expert team of authors who would be capable of providing answers to these questions – answers that are often far from obvious. We have tried to make sure that this study has mainly a practical value. For this reason, our goal was to offer concise and detailed answers to the questions and doubts which have been raised. The articles we are offering to readers are based on the academic expertise of the authors, but we have tried to use relatively clear language and not to cloak our argumentation in convoluted legalese. I hope that we have succeeded in doing so and that this publication will be of use to a wide range of readers who would like to understand how to evaluate the actions of those in power from a legal point of view.

We encourage you to read. Both language versions of the Report have been published under the CC-BY-ND open access license in the repository of ILS PAS e-Biblioteka Prawnicza.

English language version

Polish language version

Table of contents:


Magdalena Półtorak
Can an application for international protection be refused and when is it considered to be submitted? (s. 5-7)

Grażyna Baranowska
Can a state limit the processing of asylum applications (evaluation of the provisions of the Pushback Act) (s. 8-9)

Grażyna Baranowska
The legality and permissibility of push-back policies (forcing people back over a border) and assessment of the attempts to legalise it in Poland (s. 10-12)

Katarzyna Strąk
The order to leave the territory of the Republic of Poland in light of Directive 2008/115 (the Return Directive) (s. 13-15)

Marcin Górski
Is deportation to Belarus legal, or can Belarus be considered a safe third country? (s. 16-17)

Karolina Wierczyńska
The use of ‘Push-back policies’ by Polish officers from the perspective of the provisions of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (s. 18-19)

Marcin Górski
Lawfulness of the introduction of a state of emergency and the limitations on civil rights under it, including restriction on movement (s. 20-22)

Patrycja Grzebyk
Do humanitarian organisations, such as the Polish Red Cross, have the right to operate in a state of emergency? (s. 23-25)

Witold Kuźnicki
Operations of the Polish Armed Forces during the ongoing crisis (s. 26-29)

Witold Klaus
Criminalisation of solidarity. Whether activists who help forced migrants in the borderland can be penalised for their actions? (s. 30-32)

Magdalena Perkowska
Repeal of criminal liability of refugees who cross state borders (s. 33-35)

Marcin Princ
Power of attorney in administrative procedures: General principles and credibility assessment (s. 36-38)

Editor: Dr habil. Witold Klaus
Review: Prof. Dr habil. Irena Rzeplińska
Serie: ILS PAS’s Reports
Year: 2022
ISBN: 978-83-66300-68-2
Available: ebook/pdf OA