The Hungarian Helsinki Committee was a partner in the international project “Strengthening procedural rights in criminal proceedings: effective implementation of the right to a lawyer/legal aid under the Stockholm Programme”, coordinated by the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee.
Promoting access to case materials of defendants and their defense counsels in criminal proceedings has been a long-standing priority of the HHC, and is related to activities involving a series of successful applications submitted to the ECtHR. The implementation of the Right to Information Directive by Hungary in 2014–2015 constituted a major step in ensuring the right to access of case materials.
In its March 2015 pilot judgment issued in the Varga and Others v. Hungary case (in which three of the applicants were represented by the HHC), the European Court of Human Rights concluded that the overcrowding of penitentiaries in Hungary constitutes a structural problem, and Hungary should produce a plan to reduce overcrowding.
Ill-treatment has been prohibited by international and regional instruments and conventions for many decades. Yet torture and other forms of inhuman or degrading treatment at the hands of state officials, and particularly those engaged in the criminal justice systems of member states, continue to feature in many European countries. It also appears that the frequency of ill-treatment is not declining.
Do defendants with no legal background understand their rights in criminal procedure? Do they know that they have the right to remain silent? Are they aware of what remaining in silence means in practice? In the framework of the project titled “Accessible Letters of Rights in Europe”, funded by the European Union and launched in 2015, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee undertook a sociolinguistic survey to test whether the offici
In its March 2015 judgment issued in the Varga and Others v. Hungary case, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) concluded that the overcrowding of penitentiaries in Hungary constitutes a structural problem, and Hungary should produce a plan to reduce overcrowding within six months.
During the past few years, pre-trial detainees have made up almost one-third of the prison population in Hungary, contributing to the overcrowding of the penitentiary system, which, according to a 2015 judgment of the European Court of Human Rights, constitutes a structural problem in Hungary. For over half a decade until 2013, the number of pre-trial detainees in Hungary had increased constantly.
In the last decade, the HHC’s attorneys have successfully litigated cases before the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in relation to ill-treatment by the police. Therefore, the HHC has special interest in the execution of related judgments of the ECtHR by Hungary.
The HHC submitted a communication to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe with regard to the execution of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights related to the overcrowding in Hungarian penitentiaries.