MTI – Lawmakers have debated a motion by the government to set up a National Remembrance Committee, which its proponents say will help understand the Communist-era past.
In a parliamentary debate late on Tuesday, State Secretary Bence Retvari introduced the bill, saying it would give the committee powers to examine those who orchestrated, operated and maintained state security systems [in the pre-1990 era]. The committee would go beyond revealing the identities of informers; it would publish white papers on a wide range of subjects, presenting the decision-making mechanisms of those who held power.
The committee would start procedures against people they find to have been responsible [for incriminating acts during the era], Retvari said. The bill would widen access by the Committee’s chairman and members to documents from the era.
The five members of the body would be elected for 9 years, its chairman and two delegates approved in a parliamentary two-thirds majority vote. One member would be delegated by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and one by the Justice Minister.
Jozsef Tobias, of the Socialist opposition, said it was “ludicrous” that the findings of the committee could not be challenged in court. He said his party would turn to the constitutional court through the ombudsman for data protection in order to ensure that individuals had a right to seek an appeal. He also criticised the proposal for treating all those who were informed on as victims and everyone in office at the time as culprits. It said it is well known that the situation was more complex.
Elod Novak, a spokesman for the radical nationalist Jobbik party, criticising the bill, said all names of informants classified until 2060 should be revealed. He said the motion to set up the committee was “foot-dragging and a dismissal of responsibility”.
Andras Schiffer, a co-leader of the small opposition LMP party, said the government is still reluctant to “close the past” and reveal informant lists; setting up the committee would not address that task. He also criticised the fact that the committee would not have delegates from all parliamentary parties.
Photo: MTI – Noémi Bruzák