Presidential pardons

I. The right of granting a pardon

Section g) of paragraph (4) of article 9. of the Fundamental Law stipulates that the President of the Republic shall have the right to grant individual pardons.

The individual pardons process has to be differentiated from general pardons (amnesty), the right of which is exercised by the National Assembly.

Legal scope of presidential pardons

Regulations on the presidential pardon procedure are set forth in Act XC of 2017 on Criminal Proceedings and Act CCXL of 2013 on the Enforcement of Penalties, Measures, Certain Coercive Measures and Detention for Misdemeanours.

The right of individual pardons extends to the termination of the criminal procedure, and to ruling on petitions for a pardon from serving a sentence or for relief from the collateral consequences of a criminal record. Pardons for serving a sentence may cover the sentence (incarceration, detention, community service, fines, barring from profession or from driving, bans, ban from sports events, expulsion) and
for the collateral sentences of being barred from civil responsibilities, whereas in the case of criminal measures it only covers conditional sentencing, community work and detention for juvenile delinquents.

No petitions for pardon may be submitted to reduce or cancel any sentence not mentioned above or in the case of sentences or punishments served to be cancelled retroactively or if the acquittal has already happened by the force of law or a court ruling.

The President of the Republic is not bound by any conditions or circumstances when exercising his rights; however, the President cannot proceed directly on pardons cases. Decision-making by the President is always dependent on a recommendation to the President of the Republic by the Minister of Justice or the Prosecutor General. The President of the Republic shall not discuss the reasons for granting or denying a pardon. The ruling of the President enters into force if the Minister of Justice countersigns it later. IF this does not happen, the pardons process ends.

The right of the President of the Republic to grant a pardon does not extend to relief - on the basis of Act XLVII of 2009 on Criminal Records, the register of judgements adjudicated by the courts of Member States of the European Union against Hungarian nationals and the registry of criminal and law enforcement biometric data - from the collateral consequences of a criminal record and to expunging the petitioner’s name from the criminal records registry.

Our Office receives a significant number of petitions, requesting expungement from the criminal records, because the petitioner is unable to perform some kind of an activity because of being listed in the criminal registry. The authority of the President of the Republic does not cover this, thus the pardons process cannot be conducted

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