Lingurar v Romania (third party intervention, pending)
The applicants are members of a Roma family who were badly beaten by police officers and gendarmes who forced their way into their home. The applicants filed criminal charges against the officers. The prosecutor initially decided not to bring charges, but was ordered by a court to reconsider the case. After a second set of investigations, the prosecutor again decided not to prosecute those responsible; this second decision was upheld by the courts.
The ERRC’s Intervention
The ERRC was granted permission to submit a third-party intervention in the case.
The ERRC urged the Court explicitly to acknowledge the phenomenon of anti-Gypsyism as underlying the problem of racist violence against Roma. The ERRC stressed that the definition of anti-Gypsyism encompasses institutional racism. The ERRC then set out the scope of the problem of racist violence against Roma in Europe. The ERRC relied on a widely-recognised definition of institutional racism (“the collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture, or ethnic origin”) and surveyed recent evidence that the national bodies in Romania responsible for protecting Roma against violence suffer from institutional racism. The ERRC urged the Court to integrate the notion of institutional anti-Gypsyism into its analysis of whether there has been a violation of Article 14 taken with the procedural limb of Article 2 or 3 in cases concerning violence against Roma. In addition to or instead of addressing the question of whether an investigation failed to unmask racist motives, the ERRC argued that the Court should ask whether an investigation into anti-Roma violence was ineffective due to institutional racism (i.e. due to a failure to provide and appropriate and professional service to Roma) and, if so, find a violation on that broader basis. The ERRC encouraged the Court to consider both the absence of appropriate mechanisms for monitoring hate crimes, and the implicit or explicit adoption of anti-Roma stereotypes by the authorities, when carrying out this exercise in relation to cases in Romania.
The statement of facts in the case can be found here.
The ERRC’s third-party intervention can be found here.