Gratian Lupu v. Romania
30 July 2015
The case concerns allegations of ill-treatment of Romanian citizens of Roma ethnicity at the hands of Romanian border guards as they were attempting to leave the country, as well as the allegedly ineffective investigation by the police. The incident occurred in 2006, shortly before Romania joined the European Union.
The European Court of Human Rights granted the ERRC permission to intervene in the case on 17 December 2014 and we submitted our comments on 30 January 2015. On 30 June 2015, the Court struck the case out of the list of applications on the basis that the applicant no longer intended to pursue the application.
The ERRC stressed the following points in our intervention:
- The ERRC urged the Court to explicitly acknowledge the phenomenon of anti-Gypsyism, as defined and recognised by other Council of Europe bodies, as being the underlying problem of racist violence against Roma. The ERRC stressed that the definition of anti-Gypsyism encompasses institutional racism and further set out the scope of the problem of racist violence against Roma in Europe.
- The ERRC set out a widely-recognised definition of institutional racism (“the collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture, or ethnic origin”) and, based on research, explained to the Court that the national bodies in Romania which are responsible for protecting Roma against violence suffer from institutional racism. The ERRC set out evidence which underlined the particular vulnerability of the Roma to abuse from border guards in Romania immediately prior to that country’s accession to the EU.
- The ERRC asked the Court to integrate the notion of institutional anti-Gypsyism into its analysis of whether there has been a violation of Article 14 taken with the procedural limb of Article 2 or 3 in cases concerning violence against Roma. In addition to or instead of addressing the question of whether an investigation failed to unmask racist motives, the Court should ask whether an investigation into anti-Roma violence was ineffective due to institutional racism (i.e. due to a failure to provide and appropriate and professional service to Roma) and, if so, find a violation on that basis.