Lawyers: Border law breaches treaties signed by Hungary

Issues

Eighty-eight Hungarian lawyers signed a proclamation published on a Facebook page that was created recently, stating that the “new legislation coming into effect on September 15, 2015 constitutes a direct breach of treaties signed by Hungary, the directly applicable EU law, the Hungarian constitution and principles of law.”

The signatories of the proclamation claim that they “are fully aware of the severity of the refugee situation and the problems posed by the thousands of people arriving every day to the Hungarian border,” however, they believe that “the solution of this complex problem implies logistics, humanitarian and immigration issues ... a miracle that solves the problem is beyond the realm of law.”

The proclamation says that “The Hungarian judiciary is not an immigration authority. It is incapable of dealing with this amount of cases under such conditions. Impartial, just and equitable decisions are severely threatened by the new legislation.”

According to the lawyers, the rules introduced by Hungary “will immediately lead to a series of practical problems and situations. The new law itself makes it impossible to solve these problems.”

The new legislation is “unlawful” and “unjust”, according to the proclamation in reference to the following points:

“• that juveniles will not receive the same protection in these proceedings as Hungarian or any other juveniles do in the normal procedures

• that the defendant will not receive the indictment and the judgment in his or her mother tongue

• that the defendant will be put to ʼhouse arrestʼ in a refugee camp where he or she will be deprived of the rights even arrested people have in the Hungarian legal system (meeting the attorney, phone calls)

• that even the identity of the defendant can be uncertain but the court has to act anyway

• that the documents will be delivered to the defense counsel so the defendant might not receive the documents of his or her own case

• that in cases where otherwise the court would sit as a panel of three, there will be a single judge

• that people caught in the act of the border crossing will receive a treatment only convicted criminals do and will be deprived of their rights as asylum seekers.”

The lawyers signing the proclamation “demand the Hungarian government to submit proposals to the Parliament that are in line with the international and domestic law as well as general principles of justice and legislation.”

The proclamation also called on colleagues working as judges and prosecutors to “keep their oath”. “Upon noticing the anomalies we ask them to refer these cases to the Constitutional Court and the European Court of Justice,” the proclamation adds.

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