Today the European Court of Human Rights concluded Hungary was in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights due to the premature termination of the Hungarian Supreme Court’s President’s mandate in early 2012. The judgment confirms concerns of the HHC, the HCLU and the Eötvös Károly Institute that Mr Baka’s dismissal violated the independence of the judiciary, and was a further step in weakening the rule of law in Hungary.
After the third two-thirds mandate won by the governing party Fidesz, the Hungarian government adopted amendments to various laws, including the Fundmental Law. The amendements – the government argues – intend to tackle illegal migration, while the real intention is making operations overly burdensome for those who don’t share the government’s opinion on migration. Besides the changes to the Fundamental Law and the Penal Code under the name “Stop Soros” (analysed here), the government also adopted a new specal tax, under the name immigration special tax. It is nothing but a severe restriction of the freedom of speech: those that are supporting immigration in a professional way (doing so in an organized framework, as a calling, while using money from supporters) can, from now on, only do so if paying a special, 25% tax. The new “Stop Soros” provision to the Penal Code threatens human rights’ defenders and lobbyists with prison, while this regulation creates an existential threat for organizations active on immigation. The reality is that the immigration special tax puts limitations on the freedom of speech and on the work of NGOs. The new legislation was adopted by the Parliament, signed by the President of Hungary and came into force on the 25th of August.