Roma have good reason to mistrust the police. Failures to investigate police brutality or other hate crimes against Roma are the only kinds of cases concerning Roma that regularly make it to the European Court of Human Rights. However, those cases have not achieved systemic change. Institutional antigypsyism in police and prosecutors’ offices is rife. There is also ample anecdotal evidence that Roma are abused in the criminal justice system. Despite the fact that virtually all cases that have secured public attention have involved men, it is well known that Romani women also face rights violations by police, including when trying to secure police protection against gender-based violence. While the courts have often condemned authorities for failing to investigate police brutality against Roma, there have not yet been any civil cases under anti-discrimination laws condemning institutional discrimination against Roma in police and prosecutors’ offices.
We support litigation that exposes institutional antigypsyism in police services and prosecutors’ offices and forces them to undertake reforms to rid themselves of it, with particular attention to the way they respond to gender-based violence against Roma.