Newest Amendment to Hungary’s Fundamental Law Would Seriously Undermine the Rule of Law

Three Hungarian NGOs, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, the Eötvös Károly Institute and the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union addressed the Secretary General of the Council of Europe and the European Commission Vice-President, Commissioner in Charge of Justice, Human Rights and Citizenship in order to raise their attention to the planned Fourth Amendment to the Fundamental Law of Hungary, threatening the rule of law. The NGOs asked the Secretary General of the Council of Europe to request the Venice Commission to perform an analysis of the proposed amendments.

In the view of the Eötvös Károly Institute, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee and the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union, the proposed amendments violate fundamental principles and values common to the states of Europe, especially the principles of the rule of law and respect for human rights, threaten their full and proper implementation, and are not in line with Hungary’s obligations towards the European Union.

The planned amendments would undermine the rule of law in Hungary by

1. continuing the practice of inserting provisions into the Fundamental Law which had been previously found unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court;

2. including provisions in the Fundamental Law which violate international standards; and

3. further weakening the control exercised by the Constitutional Court over the Parliament.

The amendments would not only include provisions into the Fundamental Law which do not fit into the text of a constitution, but may also have a serious affect on the level of protection of human rights. The NGOs believe that the amendments will result that the Fundamental Law will cease to qualify as a constitution complying with the fundamental constitutional requirements in this regard.

The three NGOs asked Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, to contribute to ensuring rule of law and respect for human rights in Hungary by requesting the Venice Commission to perform an analysis of the proposed Fourth Amendment to the Fundamental Law. Viviane Reding, European Commission Vice-President, Commissioner in Charge of Justice, Human Rights and Citizenship, was asked by the NGOs to use the means available to her in order to ensure that Hungary complies with its obligations under the Treaty on European Union.

The unofficial English translation of the proposed Fourth Amendment to the Fundamental Law of Hungary as well as a more detailed outline of the main concerns regarding the Fourth Amendment were attached to the letters and are also available on-line:

The letter sent to Secretary General Jagland is available here (.pdf) >>

The letter sent to Vice-President Reding is available here (.pdf) >>

The document outlining the main concerns regarding the proposed Fourth Amendment to the Fundamental Law of Hungary can be downloaded here (.pdf) >>

The unofficial English translation of the proposed Fourth Amendment to the Fundamental Law of Hungary can be downloaded here (.pdf) >>

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The document outlining the main concerns regarding the adopted Fourth Amendment to the Fundamental Law of Hungary can be downloaded here (.pdf) >>

The unofficial English translation of the adopted Fourth Amendment to the Fundamental Law of Hungary can be downloaded here (.pdf) >>

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