Parliament approves several amendments to the constitution

Changes were also adopted aimed at increasing protection for children against sexual abuse.

Parliament approved amendments to the constitution affecting presidential pardons, the movement of troops and clearance for European Union credit in a vote on Tuesday. Changes were also adopted aimed at increasing protection for children against sexual abuse.
The new amendments allow the president to issue pardons without the countersignature of a member of the government, while also prohibiting pardons for crimes against children as defined in the scope of a cardinal act. They also require a cardinal act for the movement and stationing of Hungarian Armed Forces troops abroad as well as for the stationing of foreign troops in Hungary. The amendments also require a parliamentary resolution, supported by two-thirds of lawmakers, to clear any ad hoc government decision on Hungary’s participation in taking out joint European Union credit. The thirteenth amendment to the constitution was approved with a vote of 152 for, 1 against and no abstentions. The amendments come into effect on July 1, with the exception of those concerning the military, which enter into force on November 1. The amendment proposal was submitted to parliament in February.
Changes were also adopted aimed at increasing protection for children against sexual abuse. Under the amendments, adopted with 163 votes and 14 abstentions, the penal code will stipulate that sexual crimes against people under 18 shall never lapse. Also, people sentenced to imprisonment for such crimes shall not be released on probation. The amendments have not changed current rules under which criminals convicted for more than 5 years imprisonment cannot be cleared of a criminal record. The penal code now also stipulates that the president of the republic cannot grant their presidential pardon to people convicted of sexual crimes against minors. Hungary’s registry of people convicted of paedophilia will contain the names of criminals not only convicted in Hungary but by courts of other European Union members and the United Kingdom. Child molesters in the future shall not be released into home custody. The amendments stipulate that leaders and staff of child protection institutions should be screened for psychological aptitude and that those people should have “an impeccable lifestyle”. Candidates failing to pass the psychology test cannot be employed or should be dismissed without delay if they are already in employment. An assessment of lifestyle could be requested at any time during their employment “once there is sufficient reason to assume that it is objectionable,” the amended law says. The police’s National Protection Service must carry out such checks.
Concerning children’s camps, the law now says that adults in the camp must have a certificate of good conduct to prove that they have no criminal record for child molestation, they are not currently under prosecution, nor are they under involuntary medical treatment. The new changes ensure increased protection for children through “responsible education concerning their use of the internet and the media”. As a new component, the legislation stipulates that children, while exercising their right to free expression, shall respect the human dignity of other children. Under the amendment, it will be easier to report and remove cyberbullying content.