The Hungarian life imprisonment regime in front of apex courts I. - The findings of the European Court of Human Rights and the Constitutional Court
The regulation of whole life sentences varies in the Member States, however there seems to be a European consensus on granting some form of a meaningful review for possible conditional release from life imprisonment after the expiry of a long-term period spent in prison. Hungary was among the few Member States of the EU and the Council of Europe to have a sanction regime including whole life sentences without the possibility of review for conditional release – until the the European Court of Human Rights (hereinafter: ECtHR, Court or Strasbourg court) ruled on the matter and declared the Hungarian life imprisonment regime to be in violation of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (hereinafter: ECHR or Convention). As a response to the judgment, the legislative introduced a novel Pardon Committee proceeding that could have been scrutinized by the Hungarian Constitutional Court, but it missed this opportunity. A brief analysis of Hungary’s obligations flowing from the Strasbourg judgment and the new Pardon Committee proceeding will be offered in this blog post.