Strasbourg, 28 January 2016
CONSULTATIVE COUNCIL OF EUROPEAN PROSECUTORS(CCPE)
1. Does the prosecution service in your country work strategically with ensuring quality in the work of prosecutors? If yes, how is that done?
Current challenges perceived and experienced by all European prosecution services have given impetus for dealing with the questions of strategic planning especially when it comes to the question of increasingly bigger challenges of cross-border and transnational crimes.
The Prosecution Service of Hungary is aware of the high importance of strategic planning and therefore works according to its “Institutional Strategic Plan”. The Plan identifies the problematic areas and risks, defines the strategic goals and necessary actions.
The currently implemented plan covers the period of 2014-2020.
2. Which criteria are considered crucial in your country for securing the highest quality and efficiency of the work of prosecutors: their independence, impartiality, human and material resources, conditions of work etc.? Please briefly describe.
The most important factors securing the highest quality and efficiency of prosecutorial work are constitutional and budgetary independence and impartiality.
According to Article 29 (1) of the Fundamental Law of Hungary the Prosecutor General and the Prosecution Service are independent entities. The Prosecution Service is obliged to report to Parliament only.
The organisation of the Prosecution Service shall be managed and directed by the Prosecutor General. Among the Prosecutor General’s powers the Constitutional Court recognized the right to appoint prosecutors and leaders, the employer’s rights, and the right to command. At the same time, the Constitutional Court underlines that these powers are limited by law i.e. the decisions may be challenged before the court.
Article 6 of the Act on the Prosecution Service provides that the Prosecution Service shall form a separate chapter of the budget in the Act on the Central Budget. The right to prepare the proposal for this chapter of the Budget belongs to the Prosecutor General. The government shall submit both the proposal and the report on the implementation of the budget regarding the Prosecution Service to the Parliament without changes.
According to the Act on the Legal Status of Prosecutors, they may not be Members of Parliament, Members of the European Parliament, local municipality board representatives, nationality representatives, mayors or state leaders. Prosecutors may not engage in gainful activities beyond the fulfilment of their office, not including any academic and teaching work (as coach, referee or umpire), artistic activities and activities under copyright protection, proof-reading and editorial work and creative technical work, provided that these do not jeopardise their independence and impartiality and do not hinder them in the fulfilment of their official obligations.
3. Are there any indicators, formal or informal, used in your country in order to assess the quality and efficiency of the work of prosecutors, for example, the number of cases considered, the length of the consideration, the complexity of the cases considered etc.? Please briefly describe.
In order to ensure and increase the quality and efficiency of public prosecutors’ work, constantly improved prosecutorial IT infrastructures and database are available. Each prosecutorial organizational unit collects and regularly reports data to the Office of the Prosecutor General on the number of received and handled cases, workload, length of procedures etc. The database and comprehensive statistics serve as a base for important decisions of the Prosecutor General such as decisions of the organizational structure and distributing personnel within the organization.
4. Is there a formal or informal procedure for evaluation of the work of prosecutors, how often it is evaluated, by whom, and with what consequences? Do the prosecutors have the right to raise formal or informal objections to the results of the evaluation and to its consequences?
The complex evaluation system of prosecutors is defined by Articles 50-52 of the Act on the Legal Status of Prosecutors as follows:
(1) Prosecutors, with the exception of the Prosecutor General and the Deputy Prosecutor General, shall be assessed before the expiry of the fixed term of the first prosecution appointment, while in the case of a first appointment for an indefinite term, before the expiry of a period of three years following the appointment, and thereafter every eight years, provided that they worked under the supervision of the assessor or his/her deputy for minimum one year during the assessment period. Prosecutors need not be assessed during the six years preceding the completion of the applicable old-age pension age.
(2) In addition to the cases mentioned in Paragraph (1), a prosecutor shall also be assessed if a) requested by the prosecutor, provided that two years have elapsed since the previous assessment, b) circumstances have emerged that indicate the prosecutor’s professional ineligibility or the necessity to alter the evaluation of the previous assessment, c) in the extraordinary proceeding to be completed without delay, he fails to meet the deadline extended by the superior prosecutor under the Code of the Criminal Procedure after the presentation of the files of the investigation to ensure the examination of such files.
(3) In the case referred to in Paragraph (2), Points b) and c), the prosecutor shall be notified of the extraordinary assessment in writing.
(4) Assessment is the duty of the person exercising the employer’s rights. The official work of prosecutors assigned to the Ministry shall be evaluated by the Minister responsible for justice in accordance with the rules applicable to government officials.
(5) The purpose of assessment is to assess the quality of the prosecutor’s professional activities, to evaluate his/her skills, abilities and character traits with an impact thereon and to facilitate professional development.
(6) The assessment may only feature duly supported, factual findings.
(1) As a result of the assessment, prosecutors may be awarded the following evaluation grades: a) excellent, suitable for promotion, b) excellent and fully eligible, c) eligible, d) eligible, subsequent assessment required, e) ineligible.
(2) In the event of an ineligible grade, upon the disclosure of the result of the assessment, the prosecutor shall be called upon to resign his/her office within thirty days.
(3) If ineligibility is a consequence of health-related circumstances and the prosecutor does not resign his/her office in spite of the notice referred to in Paragraph (2), it is necessary to have the prosecutor’s state of health examined, and subsequent action shall depend on the outcome of the examination. The prosecutor is obliged to subject him/herself to the examination. The provisions of Section 12 (3)–(5) shall duly govern the examination. The costs of the examination shall be covered by the employer.
(4) If the prosecutor is awarded an evaluation grade “eligible, subsequent assessment required” as a result of the assessment, the person exercising the employer’s rights shall identify the deficiencies and irregularities experienced in the assessment and shall state the main criteria of the desired changes which shall be reviewed prior to the next assessment. The next assessment shall be carried out within 2 years. A prosecutor repeatedly appointed for a fixed term under Section 17 (4) shall be assessed by the sixtieth day preceding the expiry of the fixed term, at the latest.
(5) A prosecutor shall be awarded an ineligible grade upon the next assessment if he/she fails to obtain an eligible grade on the occasion of this assessment.
(1) The assessment shall be disclosed to the prosecutor. The assessment shall be handed over to the prosecutor minimum three working days before the official notification procedure. In addition to the person exercising the employer’s rights, the head of the prosecution office where the prosecutor serves shall also attend the official notification procedure. The prosecutor shall verify the fact of due notification by signing the assessment and may state his/her remarks if there are any upon the official notification procedure, at the latest.
(2) One copy of the assessment shall be handed over to the prosecutor at the official notification procedure.
(3) The prosecutor’s assessment may be viewed by a) the prosecutor and any other person authorised by him; b) the prosecutor’s superiors; c) the prosecution employee responsible for the management of human resources; d) the head and prosecutor responsible for the management of human resources of the prosecution body to which the prosecutor is planned to be transferred.
(4) The prosecutor may request a court of law to quash any erroneous or untrue finding in the assessment or any other finding that may be injurious to his/her personality rights.
5. As regards the fight against organised crime and terrorism, are there any specific conditions, criteria, procedures or indicators created for prosecutors in your country in order to facilitate and evaluate their work?
Due to criminal offences becoming transnational, the problem of concealing of assets and the current problem of terrorism two new divisions have been set up within the Central Chief Prosecution Office of Investigation as of 1st May 2015. These two divisions are the Division for International Cooperation and Coordination and the Division against Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing.
As a continuation of these structural changes and in reaction to threats of terrorism and new forms of crime two new departments were established at the Office of the Prosecutor General. The two departments named the Counter-Terrorism, Anti-Money Laundering and Military Cases Department and the Department for Priority, Corruption and Organized Crime Cases started their work in January 2016. Prosecutors working at these departments are subject to national security screening.
A high level of assets recovery requirements apply to the fight against organized crimes and corruption. Several bylaws on these requirements and on the procedures to be followed have been issued both by the Deputy Prosecutor General and the heads of the concerned Departments.
As far as the evaluation of prosecutorial work is concerned, the general rules prescribed in Answer 4 apply.
6. Are there in your country recent legislative reforms to fight more effectively against organised crime and terrorism and how are these reforms seen in relation to the quality and efficiency of the work of prosecutors? Please briefly describe.
The following legislative acts should be mentioned in this context.
Act C of 2012 - the new Criminal Code - entered into force on 1 July 2013. Due to the country report of the Moneyval under the new Code “Financing terrorism” has become a distinct and separate crime and the term “financial means” has been defined.
Act CCXXIII of 2012 has delegated the tasks of tracking and securing illegal assets to a special investigation authority. This Act has also made possible the tracking and securing of certain illegal assets after final court judgements.
Act LXXVI of 2015 has clarified the rules to be applied when sanctioning members of criminal organisations in order to unify relevant case law.
Act CXL of 2015 has introduced reversed burden of proof in relation to the origin of illegal assets gained in a course of illegal immigrant smuggling.
7. Do you consider that current international conventions, as well as international organisations, like Eurojust, Europol and Interpol, are sufficient to effectively fight against organised crime and terrorism?
In our opinion, the present multilateral treaties serve as a good base for wide-range international co-operation that are implemented by the effective mutual recognition tools of the European Union.
Eurojust and Europol are of great help in coordinating investigations which affect more than one Member State by supporting joint investigation teams, providing evaluation-analysation capacities and exchange of information. Interpol facilitates information and data exchange with third counties prior to the issue of formal MLA requests.
The new forms a co-operation between experts specialised in the fight against organised crime and terrorism are warmly welcomed, e.g. the Counter Terrorism Prosecutors Network (CTPN) and Europol’s European Counter Terrorism Centre.
8. What are the major challenges in your country as regards the quality and efficiency of the work of prosecutors and, in particular, their fight against organised crime and terrorism?
Our main challenges are the difficulties we meet when proving organised crime and terrorist cases before the court. Prosecutors dealing with such kind of cases work with the means of under-cover investigations, they are to pay special attention to the protection of witnesses and other procedural guarantees. All these tasks require up-to-date and high-level professional knowledge, firmness, inventiveness and proactive approach.