Criminal liability for crimes committed in connection with the use of push-back

Czasopismo Prawa Karnego i Nauk Penalnych Rok XXVI: 2022, numer 1-2
Journal of Criminal Law and Penal Studies Volume XXVI: 2022, No. 1-2

Dominik Zając

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refugees, crisis, push-back, Polish-Belarusian border, state of emergency, restrictions on rights and freedoms


The refugee crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border related to the appearance on the border of a significant number of people who were brought to the territory of Belarus
and then directed to the territory of Poland in an organized manner by Belarusian ser-
vices led to a number of actions by, among others, Polish authorities, the legal aspects of
which required urgent elaboration. This article addresses the issue of criminal liability
for crimes committed in connection with the use of push-back. The Polish legislator has
introduced the so-called push-back institution into the Polish legal system. According
to art. 303b. section 1 of the Aliens Act, if an alien is apprehended immediately after
crossing the Polish border in violation of the law, “the commander of the border guard
post responsible for the place of border crossing shall draw up a border crossing protocol
and issue an order to leave the territory of the Republic of Poland”.
The above construction gives rise to considerable controversy from a constitutional
and international law perspective and international law – it has been pointed out that it
is contrary to the law of the European Union. At the same time, it provides a basis for the
actions of state officials who, on the basis of the above-mentioned regulation, significant-
ly interfere with the fundamental rights of an individual guaranteed by the standard of
protection of human rights. The author of this study is of the opinion that the push-back
procedure, i.e. the expulsion of a person who is illegally on the territory of a state, is a
violation of the fundamental rights of the individual.


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