Among other things: juvenile courts. Somehow Hungarian lawmakers never thought that anyone under the age of fourteen could commit a crime. If someone under the age of fourteen murders another person, he will walk: no reform school, no further supervision, no nothing. How can that happen? It seems that no one thought of it at the time the current criminal code was compiled in 1978.
According to the latest information, a group of lawyers is closing this particular "gap" in the Hungarian legal system. Actually, every time it is discovered that there is another problem it is referred to as "joghézag," whose exact translation is "legal gap." It seems to me that the whole Hungarian legal system is full of "gaps."It’s like a sieve. Even the laws that were born at the time of the regime change were formulated in the naive belief that with democracy will come eternal peace.
Take, for instance, the laws governing free assembly. The laws blithely assume that demonstrations will be brief, peaceful expressions of political opinion that don’t infringe on the rights or safety of others. Lately they haven’t turned out this way. What can the police do? Think back to the time when homeless people and crackpots gathered in front of the parliament building and decided to set up tents, shops, and kitchens and stay for a while. If I’m not mistaken, they stayed for some forty odd days. The police were madly looking for some legal way to remove them, but the law contains nothing limiting the duration of a demonstration.
Then here is this boy who, though his victim didn’t die as I incorrectly reported, is nonetheless a poster child for juvenile delinquency. Some people think that he is ten, some that he is twelve years old. No one knows whether his parents are from Romania or not or whether they are in the country or not. The child was placed in a juvenile home, but he "escaped" forty-three times. "Escaped?" No, he walked out. After he attacked the thirteen-year-old boy he was taken back to the home, but five minutes later he was gone. Ordinary people, not legal minds, just shake their heads. How can such a thing happen? What kind of a legal system is this? Surely, a very bad one.
Juvenile courts in the United States have been in existence in 1899. There is a whole network of juvenile courts with their own judges and their own legal system. It seems that the Hungarians have now discovered that a modern legal system must have provisions for under-age offenders. Letting a ten-year-old loose is irresponsible not only from the point of view of society; it is also not in the best interest of the child. Meanwhile most likely nothing will happen in this particular case except that more policemen are now patrolling the Lujza Blaha Square to make sure that the child doesn’t succeed in killing anyone.