A recent legislative amendment making it possible to raise corruption cases in court is in line with Hungary’s constitution, the Constitutional Court said in a ruling on Thursday.
The amendment proposal was submitted to parliament as part of a package of bills aimed at facilitating an agreement with the European Commission on EU funding for Hungary. Parliament initiated a preliminary constitutional review of the bill with a view to determining whether it was in line with the monopoly on the power to prosecute cemented in the constitution, the court said in its ruling.
The new provision in question amends the criminal proceedings law by establishing a new separate procedure for priority criminal offences relating to the exercise of public authority or the management of public assets.
The amendment gives the court the power to correct a decision by an investigative authority or prosecutor against opening or continuing criminal proceedings in the case of a priority offence concerning the exercise of public authority or the management of public assets.
A motion for such legal remedy may be submitted by any natural or non-natural person, the court said. The amendment also guarantees the petitioner for legal remedy the opportunity to make a motion for prosecution, it added. The court said the new law had introduced a “specific procedural opportunity, hitherto unknown in the Hungarian legal system”.
It concluded that the introduction of “an additional element into the criminal procedure framework which secures direct protection for public assets” did not go against the principle of the monopoly on the power to prosecute. Parliament passed the amendment with 136 votes in favour, 7 against and 14 abstentions on 3 October.
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