The People’s Republic of Hungary was established in 1949. During forty years of the communist regime, the country witnessed a number of popular unrests, the most well-known being the 1956 Revolution. After the end of the communist regime in 1989, round-table talks led to important reforms that opened the way to multi-party democracy in the country. The first free elections took place on 24 March 1990.

Transitional justice debates have mainly focused on retroactive criminal justice and screening measures, though only the latter were implemented. The Constitutional Court played an active role in debates about criminal justice, as well as restitutions and compensations for seized property under Communist rule. A lustration law was passed in March 1994.

In the 2010 parliamentary elections, a conservative coalition achieved a two-thirds majority. The government drafted a new constitution which has been internationally criticized for reducing personal freedoms and political rights under the category of “cardinal law.”


  • 05/08/2015. Utrecht TJDI team in Budapest, Hungary. Elizabeth Rhoads. From July 13 to July 18, 2015, the Utrecht TJDI PI Anja Mihr and Research Fellow Sandra Rios did their ORA field visit to Budapest, where they met with key observers and experts on the Hungarian transition to democracy and transitional justice. For more on their initial observations, please follow the link above.