My last story was on the 2007 Compliance (or rather lack of) Report on Hague Convention Cases prepared by the US State Department. I didn’t realize (the time flies so fast) that the 2008 report was about to be released. Well, I found it today on the State Department web site.
As expected Poland as usual was listed in the top of shame list of countries with a pattern of non-compliance. What does need to do to qualify in such a distinction? Well, the country (such as Poland) has to fail in 2 out of 3 compliance areas:
1. Central Authority performance
2. Judicial performance
3. Law Enforcement performance.
It is almost impossible to fail all free (as the report concludes), and Honduras was the only country that was able to achieve that kind of “excellence” in lawlessness.
Poland with Germany and 5 other third world countries (Bulgaria, Brazil, Chile …) took a very close second. The only reason that all of them did not get placed in the top group was, that US State Department couldn’t embarrass other Central Authorities bureaucrats for their lack of cooperation. My question is – WHY NOT? After 10 years of observing Polish Central Authority performance, I have to question this line of assessments.
Poland demonstrated patterns of noncompliance in FY 2007.
Specifically, compliance failures in Poland stem from the Polish courts inability to enforce court ordered returns under the Convention. In more than one case, Polish authorities were unable to locate the children and their taking parents after courts ordered the return of a child. Law enforcement in Poland is limited by the fact that neither parental abduction nor the failure to comply with a Convention return order is a criminal offense in Poland. Consequently, Polish authorities have fewer investigative resources available to locate children and their
taking parents. For several years, the Polish Central Authority has told the USCA that they intend to propose legislation to criminalize parental abduction, but the USCA is not yet aware that such legislation has been introduced.
If one reads carefully, the entire report, it becomes very clear that the folks who were responsible for writing this report tried their best not to “rock the boat” too much went talking about individual countries. My case was “dropped” from a first to the second “spot” in the “Poland” section, and this would not be the biggest of my concerns. I understand that the folks wanted to have something good to say at first, and since the child was ultimately returned to US in the other case, it took the first spot. Here is what the folks from the US State Department had to say about it:
In February 2007, the father requested that the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw attempt to contact the mother and request consular access to the children. Although the mother did not permit a visit, the Embassy was able to make contact with the mother via e-mail, who reported that the children are well. On March 9 2007, the Polish Court granted limited custody to the mother, and suspended the fathers parental rights, citing that the father had no involvement with the childrens upbringing for approximately 10 years.
In August 2007, the mother provided the Embassy with a copy of a recent court-ordered home study to demonstrate that the children were well cared for.
During the reporting period, the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw continued frequent meetings with Polish interlocutors at all levels, including a June 2007 meeting between the Ambassador and the Minister of Justice. In addition, this case was discussed in a February 2007 meeting between the Director of the USCA and the Director of the PCA. The Embassy sent a
Consular representative to the November 2007 hearing.
I don’t know if it is only me, but from reading this case description one would have the impression that the children have not been abducted to Poland at all. No mentioning about the inability of Polish government to locate my children for 6 years years either. Polish government is trying to legitimize the abduction of my children by allowing the divorce and custody case to continue, and this Report focused mostly on the interaction with mother, and the home-study report.
I can only express my dismay about the performance of this U.S. embassy in this case. Yes, they did attend the court hearing in November 2007, but the fact, that they would concentrate on the hear-say report, and not try to explain who in the past prevented (warned the abductor) the local police to recover my children, is beyond my comprehension.
Also, it seems to escape the US State Department attention the information (that was provided to them in December of 2007), that the mother was not able to provide any evidence of educating the children since they were years old. Interesting …. I will be meeting the folks in Warsaw this month, and certainly will address my concerns in this matter.