Hungarian prosecutor-general denies wrongdoing despite EU court ruling

In a sign of how anticipated its judgment on Poland and Hungary is, the European Court of Justice will for the first time broadcast its ruling live. on 16 February 2022. [EPA-EFE/JULIEN WARNAND]

Hungary’s prosecutor general has denied violating EU rules despite a European Court of Justice ruling finding his actions unlawful on Tuesday, Telex reported.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled in the case of Csaba Vasvári, a judge at the Pest Central District Court (PKKB) in 2019, who submitted a request for a preliminary ruling at the EU’s top court to examine the compatibility of Hungarian and EU law in a firearms case involving a Swedish national.

Vasvári asked three questions on the right for translation during criminal proceedings,  the independence of Hungary’s judiciary in light of the controversy surrounding the president of the National Judicial Office, and the low remuneration of judges.

According to prosecutor general Péter Polt, himself a controversial figure, Vasvári had no right to do so because the questions referred were not relevant or necessary to resolve the firearms case.

Vasvári also faced disciplinary proceedings though these were later abandoned.

The country’s top prosecutor turned to the Supreme Court (Kúria), which in 2019 ruled in Polt’s favour and branded Vasvári’s request unlawful.

On Tuesday, while agreeing it did not have to review the questions regarding judicial independence, the EU’s top court in Luxembourg ruled that EU law precluded the Kúria from declaring, based on a motion from the prosecutor general, a preliminary ruling request of a lower court unlawful.

Moreover, based on the primacy of EU rules over domestic law, the ECJ said national courts must disregard any national judicial practice that could inhibit their rights to turn to the EU court.

Reacting to Tuesday’s Luxembourg judgement, the Prosecutor General’s office said Polt “did not violate EU law, as his appeal was not against the preliminary ruling procedure, but against the unlawful suspension of the Hungarian criminal proceedings” in the firearms case.

Ignoring the issue of Kúria’s ruling and disciplinary procedures against judge Vasvári, Polt’s office said in a statement on Wednesday that “the procedure of the prosecutor general complied in all respects with the Hungarian law in force.”

(Vlagyiszlav Makszimov | with Telex)

Subscribe to our newsletters