Prime Minister Orbán, on Tuesday 21st of January, long at odds with the European Union on a range of issues, said this month his government would disobey court orders to compensate former prisoners for inhumane treatment and would also not pay a court-mandated fine to a Roma community in eastern Hungary in a case of alleged school segregation.
This has led to much outrage with the Bar Association Chairman János Bánáti who told Reuters “(The government has) affected confidence in justice and especially court decisions, and I must say the rule of law.”
He also said “If the state can disobey rulings, people can later decide to skip paying taxes they deem unfair, or ignore a court ruling on child custody… That’s the most dangerous aspect of this.”
He believes that the Government’s decision to not obey the rulings is in direct opposition with Democracy as a whole, saying “A democratic state (means) everyone accepts court decisions.
Another senior lawyer, György Magyar, echoed Bánáti’s criticism of the government’s approach to the law. “They want to pick which ruling to honour and which to ignore. In that case, they don’t really even need the courts, do they? They can just tell everyone what’s right and wrong,” said Magyar, an ally of Gergely Karacsony, the opposition mayor of Budapest.
However, in an apparent climbdown, a government decree on Tuesday instructed the justice minister to compensate prisoners only at “the very last minute allowed by the law”, and called for an immediate review of regulations governing such payments.
A government spokesman declined to comment on Bánáti’s criticism. Orbán’s spokesman did not comment either.
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