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Article

Certain Factors Influencing Compliance with International Humanitarian Law

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords implementation of international humanitarian law, compliance measures and mechanisms, enforcement of international humanitarian law, non-state actors, individual criminal responsibility
Authors Réka Varga
AbstractAuthor's information

    There are various mechanisms within and outside the sphere of international humanitarian law (IHL) which contribute to a better application, respect and enforcement of its rules. The present study takes stock of specific factors or mechanisms that may have an effect on better respect. This analysis attempts to demonstrate that even though states could not agree on the setting up of a permanent mechanism to meet regularly and discuss IHLrelated issues (the so-called Compliance process), there are certain instruments which could lead to similar result. The UN’s role with respect to IHL is examined. The International Criminal Court (ICC) is also briefly analyzed from this perspective, bearing in mind the international politics within which it has to function. The International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission (IHFFC) that has successfully completed its first mandate is a string of hope if more frequently used. Soft law documents are filling a void caused by the fatigue of states in adopting new rules, at the same time they start to have a similarly binding effect as legally binding obligations. All these factors become especially interesting if we understand that most conflicts today are fought with the involvement of non-state armed groups who are not involved in law-making. This reality gives training, both within state and non-state armed forces a special significance. States should also make efforts to undertake enquiries in cases of serious violations of IHL, as well as through exercising jurisdiction to repress violations, be they their own nationals or not.


Réka Varga
Associate professor, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest; Member of the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission.

Tamás Török
PhD candidate, University of Pécs.
Article

The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages

Specific Features and Problems of Application

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, protection of minority languages, protection of regional languages, supervisory regime
Authors Gábor Kardos
AbstractAuthor's information

    As was the case after the Great War, World War II was followed by the setting up of international legal regimes to protect national (national, ethnic, linguistic, and religious) minorities in Europe. The emerging ideas of universalism and European unity were to prevent the aftermath of World War I, a conflict which erupted as a result of Western focusing the system of European minority protection on Central and Eastern Europe. The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages protects minority languages, without granting minority rights. It provides an á la Carte system of obligations, with a supervisory system hinged on government reports. The Charter was intended to be a ‘high politics’ treaty. Nevertheless, with the protection of the minority linguistic heritage and the indirect provision of minority linguistic rights, it meant a first step towards bringing an end to the 19th century processes linguistic homogenization of the budding nationstates. As such, its implementation is highly political. The minority languages protected by the Charter are strongly varied in nature. If we add this factor to the á la Carte system of obligations, the sheer complexity of the system prevents evaluations of the Committee of Experts from being as consistent as they should be. An important contribution of the soft supervisory mechanism is that it at least puts some problematic issues on the agenda, however, experience has shown that the transposition of treaty obligations into national law is always a simpler task than creating the substantive conditions for the actual use of minority languages.


Gábor Kardos
Professor of law, ELTE Law School, Budapest; Member of the Committee of Experts of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.
Article

The Rights of the Victim in Hungarian Criminal Proceedings

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords rights of victims, code of criminal procedure in Hungary, victims in criminal procedure, Directive 2012/29/EU, rights of vulnerable persons
Authors Anna Kiss
AbstractAuthor's information

    In the course of the development of criminal law victims lost their former leading role in the procedure and were pushed to the periphery of justice. Legal experts have come to realize that this tendency is tremendously unfair to the victim. European documents on the legal position of the victims increasingly called the attention of the legislature to the need of bringing about changes. In Hungary, the relevant new law was passed in June 2017. The Code came into effect in July 2018 and confirmed the victim’s procedural position. Since July, there are three groups of victims’ rights in Hungarian Criminal Proceedings: provision of information and support; participation in criminal proceedings; protection of victims and recognition of victims in need of special protection. In addition to describing the rights, the study also draws attention to the fact in light of the principle that all rights are worth upholding it is not enough to regulate the rights of victims. The study also warns that although the rights of victims are important, we should not forget the guarantees concerning suspects’ rights, which must also be ensured.


Anna Kiss
Senior research fellow, National Institute of Criminology, Budapest.

Petra Lea Láncos
Researcher, Deutsches Forschungsinstitut für öffentliche Verwaltung, Speyer; associate professor, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest.
Article

Conference on the Evaluation of Legislation

Report on the ‘Evaluation of Legislation’ Conference Organized by Pázmány Péter Catholic University, 3 May 2019, Budapest

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Authors Noémi Suri
Author's information

Noémi Suri
Assistant professor, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest.
Article

A Multipolar System for the Protection of Fundamental Rights in Practice

Unjustified Dismissals of Government Officials in Hungary

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords Constitutional Court of Hungary, Multilevel constitutionalism, right to an effective remedy, unjustified dismissal of government officials, European protection of fundamental rights
Authors Zsuzsanna Szabó
AbstractAuthor's information

    Today, within the European multi-level and cooperative constitutional area the ECHR, the constitutional values enshrined in the EU Treaties together with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, as well as the constitutions of the EU Member States function as parallel constitutions. The legal remedies offered by international forums are subsidiary by nature, since it is desirable that legal issues of human rights be solved by the states at national level. The obligation to exhaust domestic legal remedies as a procedural precondition is necessary to afford the national level the opportunity to remedy the violation of human rights within its own legal system. This paper focuses on Section 8(1) of Act LVIII of 2010 on the legal status of government officials, which states that the employer has the right to terminate the contract of government officials with a two months’ notice period without justification. This research is of considerable interest because the dismissed officials – who, in my opinion, de facto suffered injury for the violation of their human rights – were forced to turn to international fora due to the fact that the Hungarian legal system was unable to grant them proper relief. Therefore, the analysis also evaluates the current level of fundamental rights adjudication and jurisprudence related to fundamental principles in Hungary.


Zsuzsanna Szabó
Assistant lecturer, University of Debrecen.
Article

Defining the Role of the Aarhus Convention as Part of National, International and EU Law

Conclusions of a Case-Law Analysis

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords Aarhus Convention, principle of public participation, protection of the environment, environmental issues before national (constitutional) courts, direct applicability
Authors Ágnes Váradi
AbstractAuthor's information

    As a basic point of reference in international law the Aarhus Convention has a considerable impact on the framework of public participation in environmental matters. The fact that the Convention forms part of national legal orders of EU Member States both as part of international and EU law, the proper enforcement of its provisions makes it inevitable to draw up certain principles of interpretation. The current paper aims to analyze how the Aarhus Convention appears at the level of legal argumentation in the case-law of the CJEU and selected national constitutional courts or high courts of EU Member States, namely, Germany, France and Hungary. Those decisions are examined that refer directly and explicitly to the Aarhus Convention. The case-law analysis is completed by the reference to the relevant secondary literature. The findings can provide a synthesis about the role of the Aarhus Convention, thematic milestones can be drawn up concerning the interpretation of the obligations stemming from the Convention and they can give useful insights into the relationship of national laws, EU law and international law. Meanwhile, they contribute to the analysis of the role of civil participation in the protection of the environment. This way, the conclusions can support the emergence of a (more) general approach in EU Member States as far as public participation in environmental matters is concerned.


Ágnes Váradi
Research fellow, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Centre for Social Sciences, Institute for Legal Studies.

    Géza Herczegh was a Hungarian academic, justice of the Hungarian Constitutional Court and judge of the International Court of Justice (ICJ). In this paper, which commemorates the 90th anniversary of Géza Herczegh’s birth, his successor at the ICJ, Judge Peter Tomka, offers his reflections on Herczegh’s time at the Court. While they had only limited interaction, Judge Tomka recalls his encounters with Herczegh, both before and after Herczegh’s election to the ICJ. Additionally, Judge Tomka reviews Herczegh’s legacy at the ICJ, considering both the occasions when Herczegh wrote separately from the Court and his reputation amongst people familiar with the ICJ as a dedicated and open-minded judge interested in finding areas of consensus.


Peter Tomka
Member of the ICJ since 6 February 2003 (re-elected as from 6 February 2012), Vice-President of the ICJ from 6 February 2009 until 5 February 2012; President of the ICJ from 6 February 2012 until 5 February 2015.
Article

The Case of the Hungarian Constitutional Court with Environmental Principles

From Non-Derogation to the Precautionary Approach

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords Constitutional Court of Hungary, environmental issues, non-derogation principle, precautionary principle, Article P of the Fundamental Law of Hungary, right to a healthy environment
Authors Gyula Bándi
AbstractAuthor's information

    Principles influence legislation, implementation and enforcement of the law to a great extent. This is especially the case with those fields of law, which are relatively new and subject to constant changes, such as environmental law. Principles have legal value, among others to fill legal gaps or to assist proper interpretation. It is always expedient to have a high-level judicial forum for legal interpretation at national level this would be a constitutional court or a supreme court. Legal interpretation can be particularly tricky when principles are combined with human rights. Constitutional courts, such as the Hungarian Constitutional Court are the preferred choice for such legal interpretation, since human rights are normally enshrined in the constitutions. In Hungary both the previous (1989) Constitution and the currently effective Fundamental Law of 2011 contain express and rather similar provisions regarding the right to environment, the content of which need clarification. Beside this similarity, the Fundamental Law has several other additional provisions supporting interpretation in the interests of the environment. This paper only presents – as examples of necessary interpretation – two principles to illustrate what the right to environment actually means. These are the non-regression (non-derogation) and the precautionary principles, which will be described both in general and in light of their current Hungarian interpretation. Non-regression (non-derogation) basically represents a decent minimum that should not be contravened, while precautionary principle is more in flux, a moving target, focusing on likely consequences, with scientific uncertainty at its core. Both principles will be introduced through the decisions of the Hungarian Constitutional Court.


Gyula Bándi
Jean Monnet professor of law, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest; Ombudsman for future generations.
Article

Towards a Conceptualization of the Notion of Solidarity in the Legal Framework of the EU

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords Concept of solidarity, principle of solidarity in EU law, theory of EU law, solidarity as a value concept
Authors András Pünkösty
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article carries out an in-depth analysis of the complex meaning of solidarity within the EU legal framework. Solidarity is a multi-layered concept that serving as the basis for different policy-making choices of highly variable material substance, contributing significantly to the judgments of the CJEU. The point of departure in the analysis are references made to the notion of solidarity in the Founding Treaties. An important layer of its meaning derives from solidarity considered as a ‘value’. Important references are made to solidarity as a ‘principle’ or ‘spirit’ and there are additional layers of its meaning in the Treaties. In secondary legislation and the institutions’ communications, solidarity serves mainly as a basis for socially orientated policymaking. Following the analysis of the meaning of solidarity, I consider the notion of ‘solidarity acquis’ elaborated by Malcolm Ross that suggests that solidarity is one of the most effective tools in maintaining the consistency of the EU legal framework. Finally, the paper focuses on the case-law of the CJEU to conceptualize core legal implications of solidarity in order to establish whether solidarity may be recognized as a general principle of EU law.


András Pünkösty
Senior lecturer, Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest.
Article

E Pluribus Unum? Racial Injustice in the US and the International Response

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords UN human rights machinery, prohibition of discrimination, segregation in the US, racial discrimination, UN Human Rights Council
Authors Thamil Venthan Ananthavinavagan
AbstractAuthor's information

    The UN issued a scathing report in 2016 stating that “[I]n particular, the legacy of colonial history, enslavement, racial subordination and segregation, racial terrorism and racial inequality in the US remains a serious challenge.” After international slave trade, abolition of slavery, Jim Crow laws, civil rights struggle, ongoing systemic police brutality against African Americans and a prison machinery with a high prison rate with African Americans inmates the question remains: has racial discrimination ever ended in the US? The rising strength of a white supremacist movement poses another significant threat to the national cohesion of different communities in the US. Moreover, it reveals the dormant white nationalism that has awakened in light of policies and rhetoric animated and nourished by leading politicians in the country. To this end, this paper will investigate the following question: what is the impact of the colonial past on the US and how did the UN respond to this past? Finally, what will be the role of the UN to enhance the US human rights infrastructure for African Americans and ameliorate their situation in light of rising white supremacism?


Thamil Venthan Ananthavinavagan
Lecturer, Griffith College, Dublin.
Article

European Water Law and Uncertainty

Managing Hydrological Variability in Shared River Basins in the EU

Journal Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law, Issue 1 2019
Keywords hydrological variability, transboundary water governance, EU water law, shared river basins, variability management
Authors Gábor Baranyai
AbstractAuthor's information

    Hydrological variability has been on the rise in the past decades with dramatic consequences for water management on the national and international plane alike. Yet, most legal regimes governing the use and protection of water resources reflect a high degree of rigidity presuming that hydrological conditions prevailing at the time of their conception remain stable indefinitely. The mismatch between rigid legal frameworks and rapidly changing natural conditions are likely to give rise to new types of interstate conflicts in shared river basins (or accentuate existing ones), since historically the adoption of (new) transboundary governance regimes has been very slow and reactive in character. While the EU has been praised worldwide as an exemplary model of co-riparian cooperation, its multi-layered water governance regime also deserves a comprehensive fitness check that, among others, should evaluate its ability to handle the growing uncertainty surrounding underlying hydrological circumstances. This article provides a resilience assessment of European water law from the perspective of the management of hydrological variability.


Gábor Baranyai
Senior lecturer, National University of Public Service, Budapest.
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