Horizontal Rule

Inadequate Justice in Czech Race Crime

29 October 2003

On March 26, 2003, the Karvina District Court sentenced 35-year-old Mr Libor Svoboda, one of twelve accused persons, to four years imprisonment for racially motivated grievous bodily harm, in accordance with Article 222 (1&2b) of the Czech Criminal Code. The sentence is in connection with the August 9, 2002, attacks by between twenty and thirty non-Roma of a group on about ten Roma at the local pub Bagsy and later in front of the Alexandria discotheque in the northeastern town of Český Téšín. The ERRC provided legal defense to Mr Norbert G., with the assistance of local lawyer Mr Pavel Pénkav. During the attack, Mr Svoboda broke the knee of Mr Norbert G. with a baseball bat (for further information in the case, see: Continued Racist Violence against Roma in the Czech Republic ). The Court further accepted Mr Norbert G.'s claim for compensation for the pain he suffered as a result of the attack and ordered Mr Svoboda to pay him damages in the amount of 10,800 Czech crowns (approximately 345 Euro). Thirty-two-year-old Mr Karel Pokorný was sentenced to eighteen months imprisonment, suspended for two years, for rioting (Article 202(1)), and defamation by a group of persons of a nation, its language or race (Article 198(1a&2)) for his actions in the Alexandria attack; and rioting, defamation of a nation, its language or race (Article 198(1a)) and racially motivated violence against a group (Article 196(2)) in connection with the Bagsy attack. Mr Zdeněk Janeta, aged 32, Mr Petr Měsíček, 22, Mr Petr Lukša, 26, and Filip Kubančík, 22, were all sentenced to eighteen months imprisonment, suspended for two years, for rioting, defamation by a group of persons of a nation, its language or race and racially motivated violence against a group, in connection with the Alexandria attack. Twenty-five-year-old Michal Piechaczek, Mr Aleš Buzek, 26, Mr Tomáš Muszynski, 27, Mr Jaroslav Bytčanek, 24, Mr Marek Žirek, 21, and Mr Josip Marjanović, a 37-year-old man born in Bosnia, were all acquitted due to a purported lack of evidence. All twelve men had originally been charged with racially motivated grievous bodily harm.

During the trial, Mr Svoboda admitted that he had been the one to hit Mr Norbert G. on the knee with a baseball bat. Mr Svoboda appealed the verdict on the spot. According to the Czech national daily newspaper Mladá Fronta Dnes (MFDnes) of March 27, 2003, after the trial, Mr Svoboda stated, "I know that we did something wrong. Apparently, I made another mistake when I admitted to the crime. Four years imprisonment is a lot."

(ERRC, MFDnes)

Horizontal Rule

ERRC submission to UN HRC on Hungary (February 2018)

14 February 2018

Written Comments of the European Roma Rights Centre concerning Hungary to the UN Human Rights Committee for consideration at its 122nd session (12 Narch - 6 April 2018).

more ...

horizontal rule

The Fragility of Professional Competence: A Preliminary Account of Child Protection Practice with Romani and Traveller Children in England

24 January 2018

Romani and Traveller children in England are much more likely to be taken into state care than the majority population, and the numbers are rising. Between 2009 and 2016 the number of Irish Travellers in care has risen by 400% and the number of Romani children has risen 933%. The increases are not consistent with national trends, and when compared to population data, suggest that Romani and Traveller children living in the UK could be 3 times more likely be taken into public care than any other child. 

more ...

horizontal rule

Families Divided: Romani and Egyptian Children in Albanian Institutions

21 November 2017

There’s a high percentage of Romani and Egyptian children in children’s homes in Albania – a disproportionate number. These children are often put into institutions because of poverty, and then find it impossible ever to return to their families. Because of centuries of discrimination Roma and Egyptians in Albania are less likely to live in adequate housing, less likely to be employed and more likely to feel the effects of extreme poverty.

more ...

horizontal rule