The Framework of Criminal Law
Legislation on Bias-motivated Violence
|Bias-motivated Violent Crimes as Specific Offenses||Bias as an Express General Aggravating Factor||Bias as an Aggravating Factor in Specific Common Crimes|
Bias Types Covered by Provisions on Aggravating Circumstances
|Race/National Origin/Ethnicity||Religion||Sexual Orientation||Gender||Disability||Other|
The legislation of the Hungary does not contain any provisions that expressly enable the racist or other bias motives of the offender to be taken into account by the courts as an aggravating circumstance when sentencing.
In its Fourth Report on Hungary from 2009, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) notes in this regard that:
Certain articles of the Criminal Code, such as those covering murder or grievous bodily harm, expressly grant judges discretion to take account in sentencing offenders of the latters’ “base motivations”, where these are averred, and the Supreme Court has given guidance to judges on such matters. It is thus open to the judge in each such case to consider an offender’s racist motivation as a form of base motivation and take it into account as an aggravating circumstance. Racist motivation is not, however, expressly listed in the relevant provisions as a form of base motivation, and no general provision exists in Hungarian law under which, for all ordinary criminal offences, racist motivation constitutes an express aggravating circumstance. ECRI observes that as a result, it is practically impossible to monitor the situation with respect to racially motivated offences in Hungary; moreover, the absence of such a provision may mean that ordinary offences committed with racist motivations are not systematically prosecuted or punished as such.
Bias-motivated Violent Crime as a Specific Offense
The Criminal Code defines one bias-motivated offense as a specific crime. Section 174/B comes under the heading of “Violence Against a Member of a Community” and punishes persons who assault somebody else because he belongs or is believed to belong to a national, ethnic, racial, religious, or other group.
In its Third Report on Hungary, ECRI describes some positive steps taken, in particular efforts to train police officers, prosecutors and judges on the implementation of these criminal law provisions. ECRI also notes, however, “that numerous sources continue to report acts of violence, committed mainly against members of the Roma community, but also against members of other groups, such as non-citizens, by members of the majority population, and, most alarmingly, by police officers. It has been observed that the police and the prosecutors fail to take into account the racist motive of offences, preferring to consider such offences as common offences. In some cases, the police and the prosecutors encounter a difficulty in proving the racist motive of offences.”
 European Commission against Racism and Intolerance, “Fourth Report on Hungary,” CRI(2009)3, June 20, 2008
 Legislationonline, Criminal Code of the Republic of Hungary, Chapter 12, Title 1: Crimes Against Life, Limbs, and Health, Article 170, OSCE/ODIHR, http://www.legislationline.org/upload/legislations/15/ef/84d98ff3242b74e606dcb1da83aa.pdf. This provision of the criminal code was amended in 2008. See http://www.mfa.gov.hu/NR/rdonlyres/A9996FC8-D394-4FEC-9492-2FEB062C3380/0/roma_non_paper_final_0611.pdf.
 European Commission against Racism and Intolerance, “Third Report on Hungary,” CRI(2004)25, June 8, 2004, http://hudoc.ecri.coe.int/XMLEcri/ENGLISH/Cycle_03/03_CbC_eng/HUN-CbC-III-2004-25-ENG.pdf.