[JURIST] A Hungarian appeals court on Monday ordered the retrial of Bela Biszku [JURIST news archive], a high-ranking leader of the Hungarian Communist Party, who was convicted for war crimes following the 1956 uprising [BBC report]. The intermediate court found that the verdict rendered at trial was “unfounded” and “not suitable for revision” due to errors in the lower court’s logic in reaching its conclusions, and the over-reliance of prosecutors on opinions given as testimony by a sole historian. While Biszku has been long identified by historians as a driving force behind the repression following the 1956 uprising, the appeals court was reluctant to apply criminal responsibility where there was only evidence of historical responsibility. The appellate court vacated the lower court’s ruling and ordered a retrial be conducted in a manner as to address the flaws they identified.
Hungary has recently advocated and implemented increasingly restrictive legislation and practices. In February Hungary’s increased surveillance and legal actions against local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) drew criticism [JURIST report] from Amnesty International [advocacy website] as a hard-line stance against foreign funded corporations. A week later Hungary’s ruling party declared [JURIST report] that the country must pass legislation to tighten the border and prevent migrants from abusing the EU’s political asylum laws. Later that month Human Rights Watch condemned [advocacy website, JURIST report] the EU for refusing to take action to address Hungary’s alleged problematic laws and practices regarding human rights since the European Commission enacted a “rule of law” measure [text, PDF] in March 2014