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Hungary ratified Protocol No. 13 to the European Convention for the Protection of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms concerning the abolition of the death penalty in all circumstances. This event is not a surprise since the Hungarian Constitutional Court declared capital punishment unconstitutional in 1990. Retrospectively, the development of the safeguards against capital punishment in Hungary might seem as a stretch of self-evident consequences. The present paper attempts to situate the decision of the Constitutional Court in its broader context and reflect upon the significance of symbolic founding gestures in times of democratic transition.

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