police ill-treatment Mass Police Violence was not Confined to 2006, it is Still with us Today

Rule of Law

The rule of law means no one is above the law: a government minister, a police officer or a mayor are all required to follow the same rules as you are. Under the rule of law, even a democratically elected government must abide by certain rules and judges, ombudspersons, non-governmental organisations and journalists defend against the government’s abuse of power.

Related Helsinki Files

Thematic collection of related articles


View all Helsinki files


Under the rule of law, you can always find out what the government is doing and why. If you do not agree, you can freely and publicly express your opinion. Under the rule of law, people live in security; knowing exactly what the state expects from them and what they can expect from the state.

Where there is no rule of law, those who dare to criticise the government can be fired from their job, face punishment, abuse or even prison. Where there is no rule of law, a doctor cannot openly point out that the walls of her hospital are crumbling, or that there are not enough bandages or nurses. Without the rule of law, corruption runs rampant, and those with ties to the powerful are placed in well-paid positions instead of talented, qualified people. Where there is no rule of law, police, judges and journalists act on the political orders of the government rather than based on their own professional and moral compass. Where there is no rule of law, workers and the poor live at the mercy of the powerful. Where there is no rule of law, fear and uncertainty reign, and there is no one to protect those who are in trouble or suffering injustice.

You can help, too

Support our work!

Other ways to support us:

Hungarian Helsinki Committee