Poland to avoid rights meeting where it will face scrutiny

Poland says it will not send representatives to a meeting of an international human rights body that is examining controversial legislative change in the central European country, accusing the group of bias.

The Venice Commission, a body of legal experts within the Council of Europe, Europe's top human rights watchdog, is to take place Friday and Saturday. The experts are to weigh in on new Polish legislation that changes the functioning of the Constitutional Tribunal.

Council of Europe spokesman Panos Kakaviatos said "such a boycott is unusual for an opinion of this importance."

Poland's Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that Polish officials are staying away from that meeting because they do not want to legitimize a commission they consider biased. The ministry insisted "it is not a boycott."