The President of the Curia’s position on the NJC’s statement

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Date: 
31 October 2022

Dear Madam President,

I do not support the publication of the statement containing unsubstantiated revelations – edited by Judge Vasvári according to the metadata – for the following reasons:

  1. Each embassy is of course in contact with the institutions of the receiving State. Official meetings usually take place in the office of the receiving State institution. I understand that the representatives of the judiciary have also received and receive ambassadors at their offices, if they so wish. Ceremonial receptions obviously do not fall within the scope of official contacts.
  2. I am not aware that the relationship between the National Judicial Council (NJC) and the Ambassador of the United States of America was on the agenda of either of the two NJC meetings in October. Therefore, I am not aware of which party initiated the meeting and why it took place in the embassy’s building, nor am I aware of anyone authorising the members of the NJC to express their critical views to a representative of another country. Moreover, I have no knowledge of the content of the meeting. In any case, the representative of the NJC is the President-in-Office and she should have requested authorisation for the meeting.
  3. Envoys and ambassadors are political actors. Their official title is ‘Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary’ or ‘Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary’. As part of the executive branch, they act on the instructions of the President, Prime Minister or Foreign Minister of their country.
  4. The term “political appointee” is not known in Hungarian law. It is true that some members of the NJC use it to question the credibility of other judicial actors, but it still has no meaningful legal content in Hungary.
  5. The President of the Curia is not appointed, but elected by the Parliament. Accordingly, together with the President of the National Office for the Judiciary and the Prosecutor General, as well as the President and members of the Constitutional Court, he is one of the judicial actors with the highest legitimacy under public law.
  6. The meeting of the NJC the day after tomorrow, on 2 November, would provide an opportunity to examine and discuss these events.
  7. I consider the attempt by the NJC to cover up the behaviour of some of its members, which has given rise to public outrage, by issuing an untrue and offensive statement to be unacceptable.

I inform you, Madam President that I will make my own position public if the statement is issued, as I still do not wish to share the responsibility for the discrediting of the judiciary for the sole benefit of group interests.

Yours sincerely,

András Zs. Varga