Mate Kocsis - Photo: Facebook

Kocsis: ‘No clemency for paedophiles’

"There shall be no clemency for paedophiles," Mate Kocsis, the group leader of ruling Fidesz, told public Kossuth radio's morning programme on Friday, adding that Fidesz MPs support Prime Minister Viktor Orban's constitutional amendment proposal to that effect.

Kocsis said a debate had arisen in Hungary in recent days that made it clear that from now on, it is not necessary to consider whether such an offender can be pardoned or not, but that the possibility of granting a pardon to such a person must be excluded from the start.

Commenting on President Katalin Novak’s decision to pardon the deputy director of a children’s home who had been convicted for coercing residents to withdraw allegations of paedophilia against the director, Kocsis said “nobody contests the legality of the president’s decision.”

“Also, I believe that since there was a referendum in Hungary in 2022, which aligned 3.6 million people in the area of child protection(.), and in this referendum people made it clear that lawmakers must do everything to protect children,” Kocsis said.

He added that the constitutional amendment submitted by the prime minister on Thursday must be accepted because it complements the child protection system, so from now on all offenders must know that if they do what they do at the expense of children, no presidential pardon would be available to them.

Kocsis said the governing parties in 2021 adopted Europe’s strictest child protection and anti-paedophile law, which the left-wing parties did not support. They did not back proposals for a searchable register of paedophiles or stricter rules in the penal code, he added.

He said the left regularly attacks Hungary abroad over this, adding that the president of the European Commission said Brussels was withholding EU funds due to Hungary in a large part because of Hungary’s child protection act.

“This is why I think what the left wing has done in recent days (…) is hypocritical, since they have always opposed everything about child protection rules and the anti-paedophile law,” he said.

Kocsis said it would be good to know what the president’s clemency decision was based on, but MPs should not deal with what the basis for the decision was but ensure that this will not happen again.

The constitutional amendment could be adopted in the second half of March, Mate Kocsis said.

Gulyas: Perpetrators of crimes against minors not to be granted pardon

Perpetrators of crimes committed against minors shall not be granted a pardon of any kind, Gergely Gulyas, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office, said on Thursday evening, in connection with the prime minister’s announcement on a constitutional amendment proposal he had submitted earlier in the day. Viktor Orbán announced that he had submitted the amendment proposal on behalf of the government, adding that it was his personal belief that there must be “no mercy for paedophiles”.

Speaking to HirTV, Gulyas said that the opposition in Hungary had done everything it could to prevent the implementation of a family support system.

“In a concrete case, because of a dispute that arose in this regard, it was considered absolutely necessary for the government to make it clear and enshrine it in the constitution that granting a pardon in any crime committed deliberately against minors shall not be an option allowed to the president of the republic”.

Gulyas said this measure was hoped to help make clear the government’s penal policy goals.

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