Unfettered Freedom to Interfere | Magyar Helsinki Bizottság
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TAX NUMBER: 19013983-1-42

03 August 2020

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.

Excessive public criticism of judicial acts and decisions by ruling party politicians threatens the ability of Hungarian courts to perform their duties free from undue external influence.

For a decade, Hungarian judges have been facing increasing pressure in the form of comments by ruling party officials from both the legislative and the executive branch. Several individual cases from the past decade prove that there is significant political pressure on judges. This pressure is paralleled by the extremely centralized administration of the courts and by the chilling effect of retaliatory measures against judges publicly voicing criticism in relation to the independence of the judiciary. Fair and impartial adjudication is especially jeopardized in cases where judges must take unpopular decisions in protection of vulnerable minorities. Instead of protecting the judiciary from outside pressure by the general public, the government acts as an opinion leader and manipulates public opinion to legitimize interference with judicial decision making.

In order to ensure respect for human rights and to guarantee independence of the judiciary as enshrined in the Fundamental Law and international standards, leading politicians and officers of Hungary must strictly abstain from the excessive criticism of the judiciary and ensure by law that judges are adequately shielded from external pressure.

In our report “Unfettered Freedom to Interfere”, we collated examples from the past years where public and media statements of Hungarian high-ranking governing party politicians from both the executive and legislative branch amounted to undue interference with judicial independence, 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 report is available here:

Unfettered Freedom to Interfere – Ruling party politicians exerting undue influence on the judiciary in Hungary between 2010–2020

 

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