Violence against Roma
5 May 2011
In cases brought by the ERRC in Croatia (2009), Bulgaria (2010) and Macedonia (2008), the European Court of Human Rights confirmed that the State is obliged to investigate and prosecute persons who commit violence against Roma, whether they are private actors or State officials. Despite this, most perpetrators of violence against Roma in Europe act with impunity. Since 2008, the ERRC has registered at least 48 violent attacks against Roma in Hungary, at least 19 attacks in the Czech Republic and at least 10 attacks in Slovakia resulting in a combined total of at least 11 fatalities and involving Molotov cocktails, hand grenades and guns, police violence, arson attacks, mob violence and demonstrations. In December 2010, skinheads attacked 2 young Romani men exiting public transportation with bats in Bulgaria and in March 2011 a Romani boy was attacked and insulted on the way to school by three men in Serbia. Other incidents of mob violence against Roma were recorded in Italy, Northern Ireland and Turkey in the last three years. ERRC monitoring of the State response to violence against Roma in 44 selected cases in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia found that only 20% of cases have resulted in convictions (only one final judgment), police investigations were suspended without identifying suspects in nearly 1/3 of cases and racial motivation was ruled out or not confirmed during police investigation in 50% of all cases.