This chapter aims to critically analyse the attempts of the Hungarian judiciary to address crimes committed during the 1956 revolution through the use of international law. These so-called historical justice trials undertook to uncover the true history of the mass atrocities perpetrated against civilians suppressed during the communist regime and bring the perpetrators to justice. However, the Hungarian judiciary proved unable to apply international criminal law, which led to a series of contradictory judgments that left the general populace confused. Coupled with the absence of a popular desire to confront the country’s past, the predominantly technical approach of the trials not only could not fulfil their purpose but might have exacerbated the general indifference. This chapter will thus have a two-fold goal: to demonstrate the inherent problems associated with the direct application of international criminal law in a domestic legal environment, and to tell the story of an unsuccessful attempt to substitute criminal procedures for social reconciliation.
Thursday, November 14, 2013
Hoffmann: Trying Communism Through International Law? - the Experiences of the Hungarian Historical Justice Trials
Tamás Hoffmann (Corvinus Univ. of Budapest) has posted Trying Communism Through International Law? - the Experiences of the Hungarian Historical Justice Trials (in The Hidden Histories of War Crimes Trials, Kevin Heller & Gerry Simpson eds., 2013). Here's the abstract: