Slovak investigators decide that two killings of Roma not racially motivated
07 November 1997
The Slovak daily newspaper SME reported on June 28 that an investigator had determined that the two men who killed a Romani man in Handlová on June 22 had not acted out of racial animosity. The regional directorate of the police in Prievidza told the press that 29-year-old Robert K. and 22-year-old Miroslav B., both from Handlová, had killed a 26 year-old Romani man named Ervin S. in the beer garden of a restaurant in the centre of Handlová. According to SME, the police told the press that the two men, both of whom have a long history of petty crime, were probably planning to rob the restaurant but could not decide how to divide the bounty. That was why they killed Mr. Ervin S.
Handlová was the scene of another killing of Roma late last year. On the night of December 21, 1996, an eighteen-year old skinhead named T.H. stabbed to death a 43-year-old Romani man named Gustáv Baláz and seriously wounded his 21-year old son (Bee ERRC report Time of the Skinheads: Denial and Exclusion of Roma in Slovakia). Mr T.H. allegedly stated shortly after the crime that he was sorry he had not killed the second Rom as well. A trial for murder began against Mr T.H, who is now 19, at a regional court in Trenčin at the beginning of August. In this case as well, the racial-motivation charge is absent.