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Stílusváltozatok a világ rendészeti járványkezelésében

Varieties of Style in Law Enforcement Dealing with the Pandemic

Scientia et Securitas
Géza Finszter
Péter Cieleszky

Összefoglaló. A világjárvány a Föld minden országát fenyegeti. Az ellene folytatott küzdelem eredményeit és kudarcait akkor lehet felmérni, ha a veszély elmúlt. Addig csak a vírus támadásának a más társadalmi kockázatoktól eltérő egyedi tulajdonságai tárhatóak fel. Tanulmányozásra várnak az egyes országokban bevezetett rendkívüli intézkedések és az Egészségügyi Világszervezet (WHO) globális védekezésre tett kezdeményezései.

Summary. The time has not yet come for a comprehensive assessment of the COVID-19 pandemic situation. At this stage, it is possible to collect information, formulate incomplete hypotheses, and define possible research directions and methodology. With this in mind, our paper will focus primarily on domestic practices. We will study the legislation, the constitutional basis of the special legal order, the functioning of public administration organisation, the reactions of criminal substantive and procedural law and, finally, the changed tasks and functions of law enforcement administration in the emergency situation.

On the basis of the information available to us, we are seeking answers to three questions.

Firstly, can the pandemic be considered a global threat to societies, one with specific characteristics that are different from all other threats?

Secondly, what role do the state, government in general, and public administration authorities and law enforcement in particular, have to play in combating the pandemic?

Thirdly, can international cooperation achieve such a level of global capacity for action that is needed to tackle the global threat?

In response to the first question, the study describes the specificities that justify the uniqueness of the pandemic in nine points:

  • the classification as the highest risk,

  • the three hazards theory,

  • the incomparable nature of the consequences of pandemics and natural disasters,

  • the exclusion of any prior consideration of risk-taking,

  • the application of the tolerable and intolerable distinction,

  • the inconsistency of the typology of internal and external risks,

  • a characteristic that cannot be predicted by legislation,

  • the mathematical measurability of consequences, and

  • the impact on the world economy.

Our second aim was to present the domestic practice of combating the epidemic through the special legal order, drawing on the evaluations of legal scholars on the subject published since 2020. We have reviewed the constitutionality of the special legal order, its impact on central state and municipal administration, on substantive and procedural criminal law, and on law enforcement administration. Attention was paid to a specific institution dictated by the exceptional situation: the hospital command system. The police officers temporarily appointed to this post are responsible for supporting the organisational work in health institutions, which cannot include medical activities requiring medical training.

The third theme focused on the World Health Organisation’s response to the epidemic from a global perspective. We recalled that the idea of an international treaty was first raised by the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, at the Paris Peace Forum in November 2020 and subsequently endorsed by the G7 leaders on 19 February 2021. EU leaders then expressed their commitment to start work on the preparation of an international treaty on pandemics in the framework of the World Health Organisation.

We are convinced that this threefold approach will be worth pursuing when the opportunity arises to assess good and bad practices in epidemic management. However, this will be a task for the post-COVID era.

Open access