Europe

Official: Rights court could start getting cases from Poland

  • Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thornbjorn Jagland smiles prior to talks with Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo in Warsaw, Poland, Monday, April 4, 2016. Jagland came for talks with the country's leaders amid concerns over rule of law in Poland. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)

    Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thornbjorn Jagland smiles prior to talks with Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo in Warsaw, Poland, Monday, April 4, 2016. Jagland came for talks with the country's leaders amid concerns over rule of law in Poland. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)  (The Associated Press)

  • Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thornbjorn Jagland smiles prior to talks with Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo in Warsaw, Poland, Monday, April 4, 2016. Jagland came for talks with the country's leaders amid concerns over rule of law in Poland. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)

    Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thornbjorn Jagland smiles prior to talks with Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo in Warsaw, Poland, Monday, April 4, 2016. Jagland came for talks with the country's leaders amid concerns over rule of law in Poland. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)  (The Associated Press)

A leading European human rights official says he is concerned that the European Court of Human Rights could start receiving complaints from Poland that it is unprepared to handle given that the Polish judiciary has been weakened by a constitutional crisis.

Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland says that would be problematic because the court, which is based in Strasbourg, "is already overburdened."

During a visit to Warsaw on Monday, he called on Poland's parliament to resolve the crisis, which he said has paralyzed the constitutional court and hurt the rule of law.

After winning power last year, the conservative ruling party Law and Justice passed new laws and took other steps which have paralyzed the top court, making it unable to act as a check on government power.