European rights leader worried by judicial changes in Poland

A leading European human rights official has expressed concern over planned changes to the Polish justice system that would give parliament more control over the appointment of judges.

Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muiznieks said in a letter to Poland's parliament speaker last week that he worries the changes would violate the independence of the judiciary.

The law would allow parliament to appoint 15 of the 25 members of Poland's National Council of the Judiciary, a body of judges that nominates other judges. It would also allow for all current members to be dismissed.

Muiznieks' office released the letter Monday. Polish lawmakers are due to work on the draft bill this week.

The government says the changes would help the courts work faster and more efficiently.