Ukrainian authorities fail to provide legal remedy to Roma
On January 8 and 9, 2000, in Kamenskoje, a village in the Transcarpathian region of western Ukraine, two incidents of abuse against Roma by non-Roma took place. On January 8, several young Roma were spending an evening in the local discotheque. At approximately 11 PM, one of them, a 14-year-old Romani girl named E.S. complained to her cousin, Mr Ivan Galambitsa, that she had been harassed by a drunk non-Romani man. After Mr Galambitsa asked the drunk person to stop harassing his cousin, a quarrel started which ended in a fight. Several local villagers joined the non-Romani man and all of them started beating Mr Galambitsa in the discotheque. As a result of the attack, Mr Galambitsa lost consciousness. He was taken to his uncle’s house on the same evening. According to eyewitnesses, a crowd of approximately forty persons subsequently gathered in the Romani settlement but were persuaded to leave. Mr Galambitsa reportedly received rudimentary medical treatment the same evening.
In the morning of the next day, January 9, witnesses state that a crowd gathered in the centre of Kamenskoje and that a number of police officers were present among persons gathered. Witnesses state that the owner of the discotheque got into a police car, also present at the scene. When two Romani women approached the car to ask what was going on, officers reportedly responded, “Nothing. Get ready for the evening. You will be set on fire.”
Representatives of the Uzhorod-based organisation Romani Yag visited the settlement in Kamenskoje on January 14. According to local Roma, non-Romani villagers had gathered in the settlement during the night of January 13, broke windows in four Romani houses and allegedly beat one Romani man, Mr N.P. Witnesses recognised the attackers as persons from the neighbouring village of Khmelnik. The chief of the Irshava area police department Mr Marushinets reportedly told representatives of Romani Yag that there is no emergency situation in the village of Kamenskoje.