Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Investigation

This blog has covered the events in Hungary this autumn from the first stirrings of trouble (predicted by us but not by any journalist) to the demonstrations on 23rd October and the brutal behaviour of the police. It is, therefore, worth mentioning that the Hungarian government has set up a commission to investigate what really happened during the demonstrations, particularly on the worst day, the 23rd, the fiftieth anniversary of the famous demonstration that had triggered off the uprising.

The commission is made up largely of academics and is headed by Professor Katalin Gonczol, a criminologist. The opposition, FIDESZ, has claimed that the commission is nothing but a charade, filled with supporters of the government.

Professor Gonczol herself has denied it in the interview she gave the BBC correspondent before going into suitable purdah. In fact, she explained, her loyalty to the government was very low or, even, nothing.

In the meantime, the President László Solyom, among others, has blamed the Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány for most of the unfortunate developments. He, on the other hand, is clearly trying to ensure that no individual will be blamed:
The prime minister emphasised that it is necessary to investigate the social-psychological background of what happened," said constitutional lawyer Istvan Szikinger. "I'm afraid that the task of the commission may be some social explanation, instead of naming exactly who was responsible
.Social-psychological backgrounds do not beat up people with steel batons or fire rubber bullets at head level.

The Hungarian police chief, László Bene also thinks that it might have been individuals responsible:
We have seen scenes of police operations that clearly do not stand the test of legality," General Bene told the press.

"Those officers guilty of misconduct or criminal violations during the policing of these events have proved to be unworthy of the profession. And after their identification, they will be dishonourably discharged from the force."
Unfortunately, one of the aspects of policing that does not stand the test of legality was the lack of identification numbers on the uniforms of the masked police with weapons. Therefore, video footage is not likely to be as helpful as all that.

The commission is due to report in February.

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