Press release on the constitutional review of the Nullity Act11 October 2013
The Constitutional Court has declared in its decision that the Act XVI of 2011 (“Nullity Act”) on the remedy of convictions after the dispersion of the crowd in autumn of 2006 is not contrary to the Fundamental Law. Following the standpoint of the Constitutional Court, which evolved during the examination of previous nullity Acts, the Court has adjudicated that constitutional requirements in the field of criminal law shall be enforced taken into condsideration the specificity of the legal institution of nullity.
Twenty judges turned to the Constitutional Court to challange the “Nullity Act”. The petitioners alleged the violation of more provisions of the Fundamental Law, such as the principle of rule of law, separation of powers, the judicial independence, the violation of human dignity and the right to good reputation.
According to the Constitutional Court – confirming its previous standpoint – the lawmaker has the right to adopt an Act in order to do justice by implementing its political aims, but the conformity with the Fundamental Law shall be always ensured. The constitutional requirements that are specified in the field of the criminal law shall be applied taken into consideration the specificities of the legal institution of nullity.
The Constitutional Court has declared that altering final verdicts for the benefit of the convicted, does not constitute violation of the requirements of the rule of law. According to the Court, the lawmaker did not violate the principle of separation of powers and the judicial independence when it annulled by law those verdicts that convicted participants in demonstrations in autumn 2006. Although the Parliament assigned tasks to the courts, the independence and self-determination of the judiciary, which are ensured in the Fundamental Law, have not been derogated.
The Court stated that although the lawmaker could have chosen other solutions in order to resolve the question of the convictions – for example by granting general amnesty by law -, after having thoroughly examined the experience of other States, the Court concluded that also the different solutions would have posen problems and would not have offered a more effective remedy. The Court declared that when the lawmaker has to handle extraordinary sitiuatons, it should have the freedom to decide how to secure social reconciliation, provided the dispositions of the Fundamental Law are not violated.
Dr. Imre Juhász and Dr. László Salamon judges attached concurring opinion and Dr. Elemér Balogh, Dr. András Bragyova, Dr. László Kiss and Dr. Miklós Lévay judges attached dissenting opinion to the decision.