Joint conference of the Minority Ombudsman and the Res Iudicata Association on the current challenges and opportunities in tackling hate crime took place with a significant number of participants

A hybrid (online and on-site) conference on “Current challenges and opportunities in tackling hate crime - through criminal law and beyond” took place on 8 December at the Office of the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights with the participation of more than 150 participants. The joint professional event of the Secretariat of the Minority Ombudsman and Res Iudicata - Judges for Social Awareness Association was a unique event on the topic. Judges, prosecutors, lawyers and NGO staff working in the field were able to discuss their professional experience and learn from academic experts about the current challenges in the field.


The events of the past two years have reshaped our global and local communities in many ways: the pandemic has been a challenge that has caused both direct economic and even more serious indirect social damage, and the war has reinforced these trends. As a sad consequence of the lack of coping strategies at the individual and community level, existential insecurity and the growing distance between social groups, we have witnessed in recent years a multidirectional expansion of prejudice-motivated acts, particularly hate crimes. The European Union and its Member States have also sought to develop effective and long-term solutions to these new challenges, reassessing the legislative and enforcement efforts made over the past decades to combat hate crime. The aim of the conference was to learn about current EU and Hungarian trends and measures, to exchange experiences on hate crime law enforcement, and to discuss issues of interpretation and options for action.

The event was opened by Dr. Ákos Kozma, the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights and Dr. Anna Madarasi, forensic judge and member of the Res Iudicata Association's Board, followed by opening speeches by Dr. Elisabeth Sándor-Szalay, Minority Ombudsman, on “The practical role and further possibilities of ombudsman-type legal protection in the fight against hate crimes”, and Dr. Ibolya Hirtling, Judge of the regional court, on "The criminal law's response to hate". The special areas of the topic were presented by Dr. Gergely Gosztonyi, Associate Professor at the ELTE Faculty of Law, “Hate speech in social media: regulatory framework and problems in Europe” and Dr. László András Pap, Research Professor and Head of Department at the ELKH TK JTI, “The obligation to take effective action against hate crimes under international legal standards”.

During the lunch break, Pawel Sawicki, Press Officer of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, gave a keynote speech (“Let it not happen again! - How remembrance helps to counteract acts of hatred”), presented the social impact of hate speech, using horrific historical examples.

In the final module of the event, experts shared their practical experiences in an interactive expert roundtable discussion. Moderated by Dr. Adrienn Laczó, forensic judge and member of the Res Iudicata Association Board, the participants of the exchange of experiences were Dr. Zoltán Gebe (Judge, head of team, Central District Court of Buda), Dr. Borbála Ivány (expert, Hate Crime Task Force), Dr. Ákos Kara (Head of Department, Ministry of Justice) and Dr. András Kondorosi (Deputy Chief Criminal Prosecutor, Pest County Prosecutor's Office), who were joined in the second half of the discussion by Csilla Nagygyőr (Lieutenant Colonel, Hate Crime Section Head, ORFK) and Eszter Polgári (Lawyer, Háttér Társaság).

The conference was closed by Dr. Elisabeth Sándor-Szalay, Minority Ombudsman.