In HCLU’s view the terror-inducing activity of the people vindicating the role of order-makers in Gyöngyöspata did not fall under the category of freedom of assembly. Through their threatening appearance the persons „patrolling” the village for ten days questioned the exclusivity of the state’s monopoly on force, while the inactivity of the police created a legal uncertainty.
Associates of HCLU’s Roma program went to the village several times, preparing the casework for and video-recording the events and the Roma residents’ complaints. Based on our on-site experience we took a legal position on the situation, in which we analyze in detail, which measures the authorities should have taken based upon which paragraphs of the law.
On March 17th associates of HCLU personally made known HCLU’s legal position to Zoltán Balog, Secretary of State Responsible for Social Inclusion.
As we already emphasized in our letter sent on March 13th together with the Hungarian Helsinki Committee and the Legal Defence Bureau for National and Ethnic Minorities (NEKI) to the Minister of the Interior, in HCLU’s view a well-founded suspicion of serious crimes (especially the hate crime: violence against a member of the community) arises with regards to the events in Gyöngyöspata, as well as the criminal and disciplinary responsibility of the policemen and police force management failing to take appropriate measures.
Further we called Mr. State Secretary’s attention to the fact that the government failed to take a political stance at the appropriate time and on the appropriate level. We asked that the government make it clear for its citizens that the Gyöngyöspata activities of the members of paramilitary organizations were both legally and humanly unacceptable and that the police management failed to act, thereby endangering the security of the law. We asked that the government instruct the police via the Minister of the Interior to start appropriate criminal proceedings.
We called Mr. State Secretary’s attention to our conviction that it is the government’s responsibility to make sure that in an effort to protect the minorities such situations do not develop in other villages, and therefore we asked the government to stop such situations with all possible means of the law from occuring in the future.
State Secretary Zoltán Balog made a promise that the government will consider our propositions.
HCLU provides legal aid to the victims of the Gyöngyöspata crimes and those wishing to press charges in the matter.