By Álvaro Peñas
Interview with Tymoteusz Zych, Doctor in Law, Vice-President of the Ordo Iuris Institute and the Confederation of Non-Governmental Initiatives of Poland, and Rector of the Collegium Intermarium.
What is the Ordo Iuris Institute and what are its main objectives?
Basically, Ordo Iuris is a human rights think tank that aims to recover the meaning enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 and in the Pact of New York of 1966 in the face of emerging human rights that arise from international NGOs and from a radical ideology that really has nothing to do with human rights. An ideology that does not seek to improve or help society and that very often goes against man himself and against all the foundations that support society. Ordo Iuris faces this ideology from the law and also from the scientific and philosophical field, now also through the Collegium Intermarium.
The aim is to restore meaning to human rights, but today in Europe LGBT ideology is defined as a fundamental European value and all traditional values are being altered.
Yes, I agree with what you say, there is an alteration of the meaning of human rights and of course the LGBT ideology has nothing to do with them because they do not try to protect the human rights of a certain group of people, but it is something completely different. It is a political and ideological movement that tries to run society on the basis of people’s sexual orientation. Human rights are something much more complex than mere sexuality. All of this has nothing to do with the equality of sexual minorities, an equality that already exists in law, but in things like teaching LGBT ideology in schools. It is ideology and, of course, parents have the right not to have that education given to their children.
The same thing has happened with abortion, which is intended to become a human right by ignoring the most important human right, which is the right to life. That is why it is so important to give back its meaning to human rights.
You mentioned abortion. In December the leftist newspaper Gaceta Wyborcza published an advertisement for the Abortion Support Network offering free abortion to Polish women, which is illegal in Poland. Ordo Iuris referred a complaint to the prosecutor’s office. What has become of this?
So far, the complaint has not progressed. Our position on this Wyborcza Gazette case was motivated not only by a lack of respect for Polish law, but also by the fact that it is an illegal procedure and a dangerous type of operation. That is why we wanted to stop it, but I do not know whether the Polish Government has taken any action. Our complaint was not based on criminal law, but we resorted to the law relating to the use of because it is mandatory to point out all the components of a drug and all the negative consequences that its use can have. This is done with everything, but when it comes to abortion it doesn’t seem to matter to anyone. This is another area on which we believe the debate should be opened.
The Polish Constitutional Court has declared that Polish laws take precedence over Community laws. What is your opinion on this matter?
I don’t think it’s a controversy. In other countries such as Germany or Romania, the courts have expressed themselves in the same way: national laws, the constitution, take precedence over Community laws. The European Union is not allowed to interfere in cases reserved to the Member States and its catalogue of competences is clearly delimited in the Treaties and by the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality.
In October the first year of the Collegium Intermarium begins. In addition to this project I understand that there is another one by the Ministry of Justice. Was it necessary to create these institutions? Has the disease of political correctness, which has spread throughout Western Europe, also reached Polish universities?
The ministry of justice’s project is different from ours in that it is aimed only at students who want to pursue studies related to law and the judicial career. The Collegium Intermarium is not only aimed at law, but also at international relations, and its interdisciplinary curriculum encompasses other social sciences such as philosophy, economics and history.
The “cancel culture” has also reached Polish universities. For example, at the University of Katowice, a complaint was filed with the rector against a professor for her “homophobic views” and promoting radical Catholic views. The complaint stated that the teacher spoke out against abortion, equated gender ideology with communism and defended the traditional family, the union of a man and a woman. What is radical about this? Ordo Iuris intervened on behalf of Professor Ewa Budzyńska, but she has finally been sanctioned by the university’s Disciplinary Commission. This is a clear case of an attack on academic freedom, but it seems that this does not matter to anyone and it is something very serious. I could give you more examples. In Poznan, Ordo Iuris has succeeded in having municipal authorities withdraw an “anti-discrimination” class education project for schools, which was really nothing more than indoctrination in gender ideology.
The Collegium Intermarium is a return to the classical idea of university, as you have defined, “the antithesis of Soros’ project”. Is this a return to merit in the face of universities that only promote ideology?
A return to traditional values to restore the role of universities in public life. Today, universities have abandoned that role and the Collegium Intermarium aims to return to the foundations of classical culture, a space for opinion formation, where the exchange of ideas and the transfer of knowledge and value systems to students takes place. This is very necessary when there is less and less space for free academic debate and a response to the crisis of academic life. Our university is based on the immutable ideas of Truth, Good and Beauty, and does not renounce the foundations of our civilization: Roman law, Greek philosophy and the living heritage of Christianity.
The Collegium Intermarium has an excellent and international teaching staff and the presentation was attended by figures such as David Engels, Chantal Desol or Vaclak Havel and organisations such as the Hungarian Centre for Fundamental Rights. How important is international cooperation for Collegium Intermarium?
One of the pillars of the Collegium Intermarium is cooperation with scientific, social and business partners abroad, mainly with the countries that are part of the Intermarium, the “Three Seas Initiative! which includes 12 EU countries in the region between the Baltic, Black and Adriatic Seas. But, of course, we also seek cooperation with academic centers, entrepreneurs and think tanks in Western Europe and the United States, and even in countries that are not members of the European Union but historically belong to the Intermarium, such as Ukraine, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina among others.
Right now, there is an offer for international students, an LL. M in Human Rights and International Dispute Resolution. We have an international professorship with several specialists in his fields such as Prof. Andras Lanczi, Rector of Maciej Korwin University in Budapest, Princess Prof. Dr. Ingrid Detter of Frankopan, in charge of the Department of International Law and who worked with St. John Paul II in human rights, Prof. Stephen Baskerville, in charge of the Department of State Sciences, or Dr. Gregor Puppinck, one of the best specialists in proceedings before the European Court of Human Rights. This Master is very affordable for students,who can find out about its conditions and contents on our website.