Decision 11/1992 on the retroactive prosecution of serious criminal offenses
5 March 1992
Decision number: Decision 11/1992. (III. 5.)
Subject of the case:
Retroactive prosecution of serious criminal offenses
Concerning the question of the constitutionality of the specific provisions of Act IV of 1991 on the Prosecution of Serious Criminal Offences not previously prosecuted for Political Reasons, the Constitutional Court’s opinion is the following:
– Re-imposition of criminal punishability for offences whose statutes of limitation had expired is unconstitutional.
– Extension of the statute of limitation defined by law for criminal offences whose statute of limitation has not yet expired is unconstitutional.
– Enactment of a law to interrupt the running of the statutes of limitation for criminal offences whose statute of limitation has not yet expired is unconstitutional.
– The determination of causes for the suspension and interruption of the statute of limitation by a retroactive law is unconstitutional.
– With respect to the running of the statute of limitation, there is no constitutional basis for differentiating between the State’s failure to prosecute for political or for other reasons.
– The vagueness of the statutory definition stating that the «State’s failure to prosecute for criminal offences was based on political reasons» is repugnant to the principle of legal certainty, and as a result, the suspension of the statute of limitation on such a basis is unconstitutional.
– It is unconstitutional for the Act to incorporate the crime of treason within its scope without consideration of the fact that the legally-protected subject matter has undergone numerous changes under different political systems.
– Restrictions upon the right of pardon for a partial or total mitigation of punishments, imposed on the basis of the Act, are unconstitutional.