The Hungarian Guard: End game?

It's hard to believe, but the first round of court proceedings against the Hungarian Guard (Magyar Gárda in Hungarian) is finally over. The judge agreed with the chief prosecutor's office of Budapest that the Hungarian Guard is illegal. Illegal in the sense that it is not a cultural association. The case had been dragging on and on, most likely because of the timidity of the first judge, Ágnes Öcsödi, who eventually withdrew from the case because she allegedly received a threatening telephone call. Just to give you an idea of how slow Ms Öcsödi was, here are some dates. The prosecutors sent the indictment over to the Budapest Court on December 17, 2007. Exactly one year ago. The court was in no hurry. The case initially appeared on the docket in March 2008. After a few hours and an incredible courtroom scene the judge adjourned the proceedings and postponed the case to May, then to June, and finally to September. It was in September that Ms Öcsödi announced that she could no longer handle the case. A new judge was appointed: Árpád Pataki. This fellow wasn't joking. The case began on Monday morning and by late Tuesday evening there was a verdict: the Hungarian Guard's activities don't conform to the organizers' stated aims.

The case was a little tricky because the organizers of the Magyar Gárda tried to insulate the troops from any litigation against the alleged cultural organization. They created a separate legal entity comprised of the uniformed fellows with their black boots and insignia suspiciously resembling that of the Hungarian Nazis of Ferenc Szálasi. It was legally distinct from the original organization with its self-described cultural mission. Thus we had a Magyar Gárda Mozgalom (Movement of the Hungarian Guard, the troops) and a Magyar Gárda Egyesület (Association of the Hungarian Guard, the so-called cultural association). It was with this legal separation that the lawyers working on behalf of Jobbik, the extreme right party responsible for the creation of the Hungarian Guard, tried to save at least the uniformed units that belong to the Movement. Thus, even if the Association meets its fate and is deemed illegal, the guys in uniform can continue their activities.

This court case addressed the Association, not the Movement. However, this is still a blow to the whole Hungarian Guard because the judge very rightly pointed out that the Movement and the Association are in a symbiotic relationship amply demonstrated by the changes made in the original documents, by the signed documents of cooperation between the two organizations, and by the financial interconnections that exist between them. The judge decided that the Hungarian Guard's main aim is to spread fear among Gypsies. Judge Pataki noted that the Guard is also antisemitic because in a speech a spokesman of the Guard talked about "Zionist rats, locusts, and grave diggers of the nation." The judge pointed out that all these activities are unconstitutional and not in conformity with Hungary's international obligations.

Of course, this is not the end of the story because the defendants will appeal the judgment. Hungarian skeptics are certain that on appeal the Hungarian Guard will get off scot-free. Unfortunately this skepticism is not without foundation.

In the meantime legal scholars can argue whether the uniformed guys will be able to march freely even after this verdict and whether another charge will be necessary to address the case of the Movement of the Hungarian Guard. The majority thinks that Judge Pataki's judgment will not affect the Movement, but others believe that the reasoning behind his verdict will constrain any organization whose main aim is to spread fear in certain groups. I also think that his mention of the symbiotic relationship between the two organizations will be a deterrent not only to the Guard but to other similar organizations as well.

Meanwhile Tamás Gaudi-Nagy, lawyer for the Hungarian Guard, already announced that if the appellate court's verdict also goes against the Guard, they will be heading to the European Court. This speaks volumes to their ignorance of European sentiment. I don't have the slightest doubt that the European Court of Justice would rule against them.

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Odin's lost eye
Guest
Wowee! Mr Justice Árpád Pataki certainly moved quickly. From what I have read it was an open and shut and case. The real problem now is the two separate parts of the movement. As you say in your piece *** “In the meantime legal scholars can argue whether the uniformed guys will be able to march freely even after this verdict and whether another charge will be necessary to address the case of the Movement of the Hungarian Guard. The majority thinks that Judge Pataki’s judgment will not affect the Movement, but others believe that the reasoning behind his verdict will constrain any organization whose main aim is to spread fear in certain groups. I also think that his mention of the symbiotic relationship between the two organizations will be a deterrent not only to the Guard but to other similar organizations as well.” If Movement of the Hungarian Guard to lose the appeal and go to the European Court they would be ripped to pieces by the judges there. What fun! I fear that they will use the old trick of ‘change the name and do the same’. However providing the ‘boys with the boots’ just march –sometimes at… Read more »
Op
Guest

Welcome to the land of liberal insanity.
Any organization with the name “Hungarian” will be banned. Send a message to gypsy criminals: it’s all right, do whatever you want, fear not, you’re protected.
Gyurcsany can sleep now, the country is safe and sound, all problems are solved. If we just eliminate the symptoms, the illness will go away. Sheep may safely graze…

Odin's lost eye
Guest
Mr Op you say *** “Welcome to the land of liberal insanity” ***. Thank you! Where I used to live I had a notice inside my gate saying ‘beware you are entering the asylum’! It was there to warn others and to remind me that the rest of the world was full of loonies. I would sooner live in a land of land of liberal insanity and democracy where a man can speak his mind than in a land lead by an addle pated ‘All Highest’ surrounded and supported by psychopaths, shaman and other weirdo’s, whose only wish is to be in POWER and where having ‘liberal or unapproved thoughts’ can kill you! You also say *** “Any organization with the name “Hungarian” will be banned.” Oh dear! I was hoping to found a society called “Hungarian Inebriates Anonymous”. If you are an Inebriate and feel like getting sober you call a fellow inebriate and he/she talks you out of it. The ‘Boys with the Boots’ could call themselves the “Raygam Dra ‘Ug” from the old proto-Neanderthal phons ‘Ra’ or ‘Ray’ meaning ‘pay attention’ or more correctly ‘Oi you’ –they were not very polite- . The phon ‘Gam’ emphasizes impoliteness… Read more »
Ricsi
Guest

Odin and his one eye
Why do you attack OP, freedom of speech ???
You and your idiotic,alcohol infused comments are probably most welcome on this tiny little blog,but stay out of the big boys debates please-you only make yourself look a fool.
Yes,its me again,old girl,forever observing and waiting for the right moment–you know what I mean.

Eva Balogh
Guest

Ricsi: “Yes,its me again,old girl,forever observing and waiting for the right moment–you know”
If this goes on much longer your comments will be deleted. I’m no old girl, especially not to you. If you think that that the inimitable Hungarian style is acceptable here you’re very much mistaken. I’m not accustomed to it and I will not tolerate it. Understood?

Ricsi
Guest

Yes Teacher, I understand and do grovel at your feet !!!
You nothing of me,but you should ??
FREEDOM OF SPEECH means nothing to you, you continuously praise your leftist friends in power and condemn any one who DARES to speak out.
SO BAN ME !!!and thus prove you are a true believer in free speech . Democracy-it never existed and you know it.
Good night and peace to all FREE people

Ricsi
Guest

Sorry typo error,
“you know nothing of me ….”