A judge invoked anti-Roma statements when handing down a verdict refusing to dissolve a vigilante group linked to the former Magyar Gárda that has marched through Roma settlements, index.hu reported.
The judge, Dr. Erika Mucsi, wrote in her verdict’s justification that “Being a Roma should not be primarily interpreted as a racial category, rather as a way of life led by a group of people who stand apart from the traditional values of majority society, and whose lifestyle is characterized by the avoidance of work and the disrespect of private property and the norms of living together.”
The Court of the town of Gyula in Békés county, Southeast Hungary decided not to dissolve the Szebb Jövőt Vigilante Association, which is closely linked with Jobbik and the previously dissolved Magyar Gárda.
In relation to the infamous patrolling and constant threatening presence for a month and a half in Gyöngyöspata in the spring of 2011, the judge concluded that since other paramilitary groups were also present in the village – the so-called Protection Force, the Outlaws and the Gendarmerie – it cannot be ascertained who committed unlawful acts, and therefore, the fear inducing acts of Szebb Jövőt cannot be proved.
Concerning the atrocities against Roma people, including throwing stones in Devecser in August 2012, these acts served only to call the attention of the public to certain problems, the judge said.
The prosecution argued Szebb Jövőt – which is widely regarded as one of the successor organizations of Magyar Gárda – should be dissolved on the grounds that their ideology is against Hungary’s Constitution, they offend the human dignity of the Roma population and they differentiate between people on a racial basis. The prosecution also said the group abuses the right of free assembly, as their activities offend the freedom of others.
Civil groups understandably do not approve of the verdict. Erika Muhi, the director of the National and Ethnic Minority Rights Proctection Office regretted that – despite the numerous arguments and evidence gathered by the Prosecution – the court failed to realize that Szebb Jövőt is an openly racist organization. The prejudiced statements included in the verdict appear to legitimize the acts of the association, Muhi said.
According to Dr. Tamás Fazekas, a lawyer for the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, the overall competence of the judge can be questioned as she repeatedly failed to take notice of facts. The prosecution has appealed the verdict.