Intervention of Prof. András Zs. VARGA, president of the Kúria at the meeting of OBT and ENCJ

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Date: 
18 October 2022

Dear Madam President,

Esteemed Delegation of the ENCJ,

We attend today a ceremonial session of the Hungarian Judicial Council. It can be considered as a feast because the Hungarian Judiciary meets the delegation of the ENCJ. But the event could have been a feast also due to the fact that we live in a Jubilee autumn now. Just 25 years ago an election took place, election of the first Judicial Council in Hungary. It can be strange that I am the first today who mentions this anniversary. As we call in Hungary: the silver-anniversary. The reason may be that I had the opportunity to take part in the activity of that Council and in each of the five different compositions of the Council.

During this 25 years there occurred two reforms of the Council. One minor and one major. Now we know that the Judicial Council – with the support of politically engaged NGOs and international organisations – tries to enforce a new, a third reform.

Of course, every institution can be reformed, why the Judicial Council should not be? But before a reform we should know what is the cause of such a reform, what is the goal of such a reform and which are the actual standards of such a reform.

The last question is easy to be answered: the Venice Commission has a clear description of parameters. Please, look at the General Conclusions of the conference organised by the Venice Commission in cooperation with the University La Sapienza, Roma March this year.

As regards the causes and goals the answer is less bright. I was listening the ceremonial speech by Mme. President. It was mostly a list of charges. I can answer only a few of them.

The only positive vote I got two years ago before being elected came from the former president of the Kúria. The only member of the OBT who had real knowledge about the position and requirements concerning the President of the Kúria.

As regards the appointment-practice of the Kúria-president: I followed meticulously the practice which is the only way of procedure in every court of Hungary and which was accepted for 10 years by the OBT. How could I guess that in order to have enough reasons for a reform this practice this year will be declared to be incorrect. I could not guess this. But I have to face the consequences: all presidents of the Hungarian courts – in position and retroactively – are declared as committing irregularities. All judges who were appointed by this procedure are suspected to be illegally appointed. There are hundreds of them, tens of then in the Kúria. Some of them still are attacked personally. Some of them who are before pension and who spent their life within the courts.

The question is, why the Judicial Council does attack the whole Hungarian Judiciary?

Thank you for your attention!