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On 21 April 2021 the MCC School of Law hosted dr. Ákos Kozma, the Hungarian Commissioner for Fundamental Rights.
The talk was moderated by dr. Márton Sulyok, head of the Public Law Center, who – among others – asked the Commissioner about how the most recent institutional consolidation in the field of fundamental rights protection affected the work of the Commissioner and his Office. In response, dr. Kozma stressed his belief in the necessity of a strong institution for the protection of fundamental rights, because many examples from all around the world demonstrate how otherwise very important competences are divided among many separate institutions.
In relation to the dissolution of the Independent Police Complaints Board and the Equal Treatment Authority the Commissioner underlined that European counterparts gladly took note of the fact that the Office took over the powers of the Body and the Authority in their entirety, which also reinforces this new model by assigning formerly not applied administrative powers to the Office.
In terms of the specific competences of the Commissioner, the domestically lesser known, so-called “OPCAT-procedure” (i.e. national preventive mechanism) was first addressed as the front to tackle the prohibition of torture and inhuman, degrading treatment. In this regard, powers “shared” with the prosecutorial service and law enforcement (police) have also been addressed in terms of any eventual parallel procedures that might arise regarding the legality of penal execution and incarceration.
Upon students’ questions relevant to the cooperation with police, the new system of "school police" has been discussed. In his reply, Commissioner Kozma emphasized the success and importance of cooperation with the national command of law enforcement, e.g. in terms of educating "school police" officers, also regarding insight into the points of view of the children, the educational institutions and the parents.
As far as broader international cooperation is concerned, based on further questions from students, the UN procedure to accredit national human rights institutions was mentioned, in terms of which a repeated evaluation and assessment is already under way in terms of the Commissioner of Fundamental Rights, currently ranked in (the highest) Category "A".