The Authorization Act allows the Government to introduce significant restrictions, practically without any time limit, without any debate in the Parliament, and without any guarantee for the swift and effective constitutional review.
Assessment of the proposed law to extend the state of emergency and its constitutional preconditions A carte blanche mandate for the Hungarian government with no sunset clause is not the panacea to the emergency caused by the COVID-19 virus in Hungary. We need strong rule of law safeguards and proportional and necessary emergency measures, not unlimited government rule by decree that can last beyond the actual epidemic crisis.
A new law adopted on 17 December 2019 seems to be yet another attempt to make sure that politically sensitive court cases are decided in a way that is favourable for the executive power. It does not only make it possible to channel politically sensitive cases out of the ordinary court system, but also makes it harder in practice for individuals to enforce their rights vis a vis the state.
Judicial independence has been under constant threat and has been systematically undermined by the governing majority in Hungary in the past seven years. How did they do it? A timeline prepared by the Hungarian Helsinki Committee and Amnesty International Hungary outlines the major steps.
Judicial independence is being systematically undermined in Hungary. The Hungarian Helsinki Committee and Amnesty International Hungary recommend specific steps that would remedy the long-standing systemic deficiencies of the system, thus restoring and safeguarding judicial independence.
On 12 November 2019, the Hungarian Government submitted a Bill to the Parliament which, if adopted, will have a significant negative impact on judicial independence, however, in a much more covert and technical way than the earlier, withdrawn plan to put administrative courts under the Minister of Justice.
Following a judgment concluding that the removal of the Supreme Court President in 2012 was prompted by the criticism he voiced, the CoE called on Hungary to protect the freedom of expression of judges, but to no avail: today, judges are facing retaliatory measures and media attacks once again for voicing professional criticism.
The HHC assessed the activities and independence of the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights of Hungary with a view to its upcoming re-accreditation as a “national human rights institution”. The analysis shows that even though the Ombudsperson was active in a number of areas, he repeatedly failed to address adequately pressing human rights issues that are politically sensitive and high-profile.