Koky and Others v Slovakia
02 October 2013
Forum: European Court of Human Rights
ERRC role: Representative
In February 2002, 10 Slovak citizens of Romani ethnic origin were violently attacked in Ganovce-Filice. A group of men armed with baseball bats and iron bars, shouting racist language, attacked the applicants’ settlement following an earlier incident in a bar when a non-Roma waitress refused to serve a drink to a Romani individual.
The victims suffered serious injuries, including a skull fracture, as well as damage to their property. The Slovak authorities failed to carry out an adequate investigation, failed to prosecute the perpetrators and did not offer compensation to the victims.
In 2003, the ERRC filed a joint application with a local partner organisation, the League of Human Rights, on behalf of the applicants to the European Court of Human Rights, claiming a failure to conduct an effective investigation into a case involving the right to be free from torture and inhuman treatment (Article 3) and an abuse of their right to be free from any kind of discrimination (Article 14).
In 2012, the Court ruled in favour of the applicants, finding that Slovakia had violated Article 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights, which prohibits inhuman treatment and requires the State to conduct an effective investigation into incidents involving such kind of treatment.
The Court stated in its judgment: “...the authorities have not done all that could have been reasonably expected of them to investigate the incident, to establish the identity of those responsible and, as the case may be, to draw consequences… the Court has taken into account the particular importance for an investigation into an attack with racial overtones to be pursued with vigour and impartiality, having regard to the need to reassert continuously society’s condemnation of racism and to maintain the confidence of minorities in the ability of the authorities to protect them from the threat of racist violence.”