Worried attorneys slowly proven right
On Tuesday, a group of attorneys, „Attorneys for the rule of law”, declared their immediate disapproval of the new Hungarian legal provisions which entered into force on 15 September. The new provisions, among other things, re-regulate legal procedures which asylum-seekers crossing the Hungarian border illegally are submitted to upon entry.
As they stated, the solution to the present issue „raises questions of alien policing, logistics, humanitarian aid and, only partially, of law”.
Now signatory defense attorneys have summed up their first experiences and state that their earlier legal concerns are slowly proven right. As they write:
„In itself, the 27-minute-long court hearing would not be a problem. There are hearings that short, for example bringing a person caught with a forged disabled ID might turn out to be so quick.
That person, however, knows what the charges are. He or she knows the crime committed and did not flee here through the hands of human smugglers and other villains. Such a person also knows the language of the proceedings.
To try a person in a language he or she does not speak in 27 minutes, including the translation of the charges and the decision, leaving time even for a 3-4-minute long lesson in morality (the effectiveness of which is questionable to a considerable extent), not to mention the paper work… this means that there are hardly 10 minutes left for a thorough weighing of the circumstances and for adjudging the case.
The relationship of such a hearing to the administration of justice (and thereby to Hungary) is the same relationship that holds between a 1-minute-meal from a drive-thru restaurant and a gala dinner at the Hilton.
It doesn’t even occur to anyone, apparently, to examine in substance the argument in defense, namely, that the person is fleeing from a state of emergency or a force through the fence. Two days after the refugees have been taken by buses to a minefield on the Serbian-Croatian border it is announced: „Serbia is safe”.
The point that the accused waive their right to the translation of the decision to their mother tongue requires mention in particular. Fundamental rights do not exist for the sake of being waived. Of course no one may be forced to exercise these rights. However, to ask a person dragged along in handcuffs, exhausted and hungry, about whether he or she wishes to exercise this right (without adding that) otherwise he or she will be sent back to Serbia and will have to try towards Croatia – all of this is once again a mockery of a criminal procedure.
Last but not least, it is apparent that even with hearings carried out in the way of a Formula-1 tire change, the daily capacity is only a couple of dozen.
Since thousands of refugees are expected to continue to try to go across or around the fence, it is only a question of days before the accumulation of due cases makes it impossible to bring the accused before court within the prescribed 8 or 15 days.”
These legal practitioners are now expecting answers to their professional and humane questions and demand that the government pay attention to their professional criticism.
So far over 120 attorneys have signed the open letter circulating on-line in protest to the modified legal environment they are forced to work in. The declaration is still open for signature.