Memedov v Macedonia (pending)
On 5 May 2013, police conducted a raid in a Romani neighbourhood in Skopje (Macedonia). The applicant is a Romani man who was in a shop at the time, where the police burst in. He was kicked and punched by a large group of police officers, who also shouted racial insults at him.
In Macedonia, when you think you have been a victim of a crime committed by police officers, you make a complaint directly to the prosecutors’ office. With the ERRC’s help, the applicant made such a complaint. Years later, that complaint is still pending. The prosecutors have basically been inactive.
So the ERRC helped the applicant do three things:
- Bring a discrimination complaint in the national courts against the police for racially abusing and assaulting him.
- Bring a discrimination complaint in the national courts against the public prosecutors’ office for failing to investigate.
- Bring this case to the European Court of Human Rights.
It is unusual to have cases pending at the same time before the national courts and the European Court, but we think this is justified. On the one hand, the applicant should not have had to do anything more than make his complaint to get a proper investigation, but this has never happened. So that means that he can now go to the European Court to complain. On the other hand, we think this is part of a pattern of institutional discrimination that needs to be exposed as such, and the best way to do that is by bringing a discrimination complaint before the civil courts in Macedonia.
Normally, in cases about this kind of failure to investigate, the European Court considers the matter under Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights (prohibition on discriminating when securing other human rights) taken with Article 3 (prohibition on torture and inhuman or degrading treatment). In this case, the Court is also looking at whether Macedonia may have violated Article 1 of Protocol no.12 to the European Convention on Human Rights. This is a self-standing prohibition on discrimination which has only been ratified by some European countries, including Macedonia. There have been very few cases under Protocol no.12. This case may provide an opportunity to see how that protocol can guarantee further rights protections in cases of police brutality against Roma and other minorities.
The Court’s statement of facts can be found here.
The relevant parts of the application form can be found here.
The Government’s observations on the admissibility and merits of the application can be found here.
The response that the ERRC submitted on behalf of the applicant can be found here.