European Court Grants 100,000 Euros to Ousted Hungary Judge

  • Andras Baka lost his job in 2012 after criticizing government
  • Cabinet disagrees with ruling, will comply, minister says

The European Court of Human Rights awarded compensation to former Hungarian Chief Justice Andras Baka for the premature termination of his mandate in 2012, according to a verdict posted on the court’s website.

Baka lost his job as a consequence of his public criticism of government policies and not as a result of a judicial overhaul as the cabinet had claimed, according to the ruling, which awarded him a total of 100,000 euros ($114,000) for damages and costs.

“The early termination of his mandate thus constituted an interference with the exercise of his right to freedom of expression,” the court said.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban drew criticism from the European Union, the U.S. and the United Nations for asserting his influence over independent institutions after his 2010 election victory. The premier, re-elected in 2014, has advocated “illiberal democracy” as a model and pledged to preserve the country’s sovereignty against what he sees as foreign interference.

While Hungary disagrees with the court’s ruling, it will comply with it, Janos Lazar, minister in charge of the premier’s office, said on Thursday.

“I don’t believe this verdict has a bearing on Hungarian democracy as a whole,” Lazar told reporters in Budapest.