The new chief judge in Hungary: a potential transmission belt of the executive within the judiciary The election of the new President of the Kúria (the Supreme Court of Hungary) is the next stage in the series of attacks of the governing majority against the judiciary.
The Hungarian Government has failed to address in a satisfactory manner the concerns around the right to freedom of expression of Hungarian judges. Therefore, in its decision published today, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe has not closed the supervision of the judgment delivered by the European Court of Human Rights in the Baka v. Hungary case, and requested the Hungarian authorities to submit an updated action plan.
The European Commission’s Rule of Law Report has identified substantial problems severely threatening the rule of law in Hungary in all four areas examined by the report. Civil society organisations have raised attention to several of these problems many times over the past years.
In its Information Note, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee provides an overview of certain rule of law developments in Hungary between May and July 2020, covering concerns pertaining to the justice system and institutional issues related to checks and balances.
Amendments introduced as of 18 June by the so-called Transitional Act provide the Government excessive powers that can be applied with a reference to an epidemic, with significantly weakened constitutional safeguards. Other provisions for example on asylum, the powers of the military forces, and data protection also give rise to concerns, NGOs say.
The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled on 14 May 2020 that Hungary’s practice of automatically placing the quasi-totality of asylum-seekers in closed land-border transit zones during the entire asylum procedure constitutes unlawful detention. As a reaction, the Hungarian government announced the introduction of a new asylum system.
A communication by the Hungarian Helsinki Committee and Amnesty International shows that due to the legal and institutional structures created by the governing majority, the chilling on the freedom of expression of judges effect is encoded in the Hungarian court system, and Hungary has failed to adopt guarantees to avoid retaliation against judges voicing criticism in relation to the independence of the judiciary.
The HHC's new report shows how ruling party politicians have exerted undue influence on the judiciary in Hungary between 2010–2020, either by interfering in pending cases or undermining the credibility of judicial decisions, or by eroding public confidence in the judiciary as a whole.
The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled yesterday that the 2017 Hungarian law requiring non-governmental organizations receiving at least HUF 9 million in grants from outside Hungary to register in a special registry and label themselves as a “foreign-funded organization” on their website and publications are stigmatizing, harmful and in breach of EU law.