The right of pardon in the view of the Constitution of 17 March 1921. Constitutional and lawsuit issues

Katarzyna Kaczmarczyk-Kłask


The article concerns the right of pardon in the view of the Constitution of March dated on 1921. The author analyses subjective and objective range as well as the contents of the decision of the head of state concerning the right of pardon. She compares solutions adapted in Poland and those that functioned in other modern countries. On this background she discusses the model of the right of pardon in Poland proving that this law was understood narrowly by the Constitution from 1921. It was limited only to penal and judicial responsibility and distinctly excluded the possibility of pardon by individual abolition. The author also indicates that the head of state had restricted possibilities to state the contents of the act of pardon. That was because the Constitution clearly determined that it may only consist in cancellation or commutation of punishment, or possibly remission of consequences of conviction. By that means the March Constitution determined the boundary of presidential right of pardon, which was not common solution during the interwar period. The author also analyses, on the basis of unpublished archival materials, the practice of executing the right of pardon, especially the procedure of decision-making and contents of the act of pardon. On this basis she concludes that despite of lack of constitutional reference to act the president executed the right of pardon retaining procedure specified in Code of Criminal Proceedings, however he did not execute the right of pardon through proceeding initiated without maintaining requirements of criminal procedure. The article also tackles the issue of motives that made president’s way towards making decisions concerning pardon and its independence by analyzing the use of the right of pardon by presidents Stanisław Wojciechowski and Ignacy Mościcki. The presented data show that under the same Constitution presidents differently understood their role at making decision about pardon. They either presented the model of full (Wojciechowski) or restricted (Mościcki) independence in decision-making.

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Data publikacji: 2015-05-05 12:45:08
Data złożenia artykułu: 2015-04-14 19:17:03


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