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An illiberal Chief Justice

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Váltás magyarra

A compilation prepared by the Hungarian Helsinki Committee of public statements, academic quotes, and decisions taken by the freshly appointed Chief Justice of Hungary mirror a person, who is perceivably loyal towards the ruling majority and an advocate of building an illiberal state in Hungary.

As of 1 January 2021 a new Chief Justice, Mr. András Zs. Varga has taken the presidential seat of the Kúria (the Supreme Court of Hungary) for a period of nine years. Justice Varga is a well-tested loyalist of the Fidesz-led government who was parachuted to the top tier of the Hungarian judiciary against manifest opposition of the judicial self-governing body, the National Judicial Council. He has never served as an ordinary judge prior to his appointment, and his election by the ruling majority of the Parliament was enabled by a series of recent modifications of the law.

Justice Varga has a strong opinion on some crucial rule of law matters concerning Hungary. The Hungarian Helsinki Committee prepared a compilation of his recent statements regarding some important rule of law concerns, amongst others his position on the independence of the judiciary – the organisation he will represent and within which he will hold important managerial and administrative powers for the upcoming nine years.

Our compilation highlights that in view of Justice Varga

  • the interpretation of the rule of law within the European Union “has become tyrannical, moreover, totalitarian” and “has become the instrument of arbitrary exercise of power”;
  • the European Parliament has applied the rule of law “as a whip” and “as an instrument of repression” when adopting its reports on Hungary;
  • the Rule of Law Framework of the European Commission “allows for implied arbitrary accusation” against member states;
  • the Venice Commission applied “double standards” against Hungary when differentiating between old democracies and new democracies;
  • the judiciary is the most dangerous branch as it “has grown over the political branches”;
  • judicial self-administration is a “consequence of a misunderstanding”, “a delusion”;
  • fundamental rights are a result of a “self-certification process”, in the name of which “some extraordinary cases gain protection, whereas the average issues of average people are never protected.”

See the full text of the compilation in English here.

Supported by the Swedish Postcode Foundation

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Hungarian Helsinki Committee