- Although he was able to ask for help in March, the general staff of the Hungarian Defense Forces only now – 444 and Free Europe After his essays – he may begin handling the case of a female soldier from Solnok who reported sexual harassment to her commanding officer.
- Victims speak of being silenced and swept under the rug.
- According to chief prosecutor Peter Bolt, the victim and witnesses have already been questioned – however, according to an inside source speaking to 444, no one has officially searched for the female soldier since then. According to him, the declared commander is still working at the same place and in the same position.
- After the case broke, under the cover of night, the Defense Ministry surprised the soldiers with a new order. It establishes that their fundamental rights may be sacrificed on the altar of order and discipline.
The otherwise quiet site in Szolnok has been particularly noisy recently: criminal proceedings were recently initiated in two separate cases of abuse against women. Last month, the Central Investigative Public Prosecutor’s Office began investigating a training session in Szolnok last fall where two female soldiers were injured. At the same time, a law enforcement officer reported the sexual harassment to his commanding officer.
In October last year, a so-called crowd management exercise was held at the helicopter base to prepare soldiers for conflict-like situations between Kosovo Serb protesters and Hungarian peacekeepers.
Safety equipment is mandatory in practice and practice, and women must wear a special bra. One of the female soldiers, a sergeant, told her superior, a staff flag, that the bra was not adequately secured because it lacked an insert that would cushion the chest. During this time, his superior hit him several times in the chest with a rubber stick, then kicked him in the stomach with a shoe – he wanted to prove to the sergeant that the protective equipment was effective.
During the same exercise, another female soldier was hospitalized with serious leg injuries. We understand that he underwent two operations and was only able to go home last week.
According to documents received by Peter Bould in response to a question from Member of Parliament Thomas Harangoso in early July, documentary evidence was obtained, data analyzed and victims and witnesses interviewed at both hearings. , but in both cases evidence is still lacking. According to our informant – who works at the Szolnok site and knows the people involved well – the law officer who was sexually harassed by his superior at the site, was not sought out and his questions were not answered.
According to the victim, he was not even searched, according to the lawyer, he was already questioned
According to a source familiar with the case, national security actually ordered an investigation three weeks ago, and only in the case of the injured women has there been no progress. A multi-member team of civil servants visited Solnok, the victims, the abused soldier and witnesses were also summoned. The Ministry of National Defense has so far answered our question why the female soldier who complained about sexual harassment did not get help: In October 2022, General Beronti headed the military representation of the Hungarian Defense Forces in Brussels. He has no right and no authority to adjudicate the action. Therefore, any complaint related to the case could not be traced to him as he was appointed Chief Secretary only in May this year.
There are many developments as the woman soldier is reserved for two months after the report, which means she can be removed practically at any time after the two months have passed. This has not been possible till now as he is on sick leave. According to the documents shared with us – signed by National Defense Minister Christophe Salle-Pobroniski – this is the maximum time: women soldiers, including women, are not required to hold a post other than theirs. in reserve staff for a period of two months.
According to our source, the law enforcement officer was able to transfer him to another duty station – but regardless, he remained his boss, who was sexually harassed.
Order and Discipline
Our article about how women can be abused and harassed on the Szolnok site was just published, and a new decree was issued the following evening. appeared In Magyar Közlöny, according to which the Hungarian soldiers had to endure more – referring to the Russo-Ukrainian War.
The new order states that the rights of soldiers may be sacrificed to a certain extent on the altar of military order and discipline. During drills and exercises, their immediate superiors can limit their personal freedom, demand from them “necessary, proportionate and appropriate” behavior and practically behave with them as they please. And their fundamental rights must be respected, and they can be restricted to the extent “necessary” and for a limited period.
First, due to the coronavirus, and then due to the state of emergency due to the war in Ukraine, it was possible to deviate from the current law on the deployment of soldiers for duty, the duration of training and exercises – this is what, according to a complaint to the Prime Minister, in May, when it was possible to publicly humiliate, teach and torture military drivers. Gábor Böröndi of the staff, according to the prosecution, did not infringe. By the way, national security would have had a legal duty to prosecute commanders accused of abuse, even in cases of female soldiers, but this did not happen.
“There is a criminal case because the victims filed a complaint. They wanted to sweep the case under the carpet.”Our source says. According to him, an investigation was launched against one of the commanders who had been accused of sexual abuse a few years ago.
The ministry says it generally cooperates with investigative authorities on parliamentary and press questions, but victims are unhappy about it.
They also conducted an investigation in the capital
Two years ago news broke that a lieutenant colonel of the National Guard may have sexually harassed several of his subordinates – but at that time an investigation was launched not in Czolnok, but in Budapest. One of the victims was called into his office by his supervisor a few weeks after starting work and told him the exact time they should have sex. The lieutenant colonel, who regularly had sex with the female soldier, told her she should be grateful to be allowed into the regiment and threatened to “destroy” her if she dared to tell anyone. After the lieutenant colonel met the victim’s daughter at an event, he suggested that he also wanted to have sex with her and that they might even have a threesome.
There are some similarities between the two cases: according to reports, the lieutenant colonel who was accused of sexual harassment, now the commander accused of sexual harassment, was able to keep his job, and after the complaint, the female soldier from Budapest continued. Sick leave so she wouldn’t have to face the lieutenant colonel for a while. Eventually, his alleged harasser had to return to the corridor where his immediate superior also worked, as the practice was halted.
The then-incumbent Chief of Staff, Romulus Rusin-Senti, was relieved of his duties by Katalin Novak at the end of April, and he resigned from the National Guard at the end of June. According to press reports, he was a victim of a political purge.
As we have done before, we again contacted the Ministry of National Defense to find out what is happening in the case of commanders who have been reported for sexual harassment and abuse; Are they still working for national security, and has the commander in question previously been investigated for sexual harassment? We also asked about developments in the Office of the Attorney General of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Once we get the answers, we will update our article.