X and Y v North Macedonia (pending)
04 January 2018
Two Romani minors were arrested by members of a special mobile police unit in Skopje and subjected to physical and racial abuse. In order to protect the privacy and the safety of the applicants, the European Court has anonymised the case (which is why the applicants are called “X and Y”), has restricted access to the case file, and has only made public very limited information about the case. This is why we are not providing more details here.
In Macedonia, when you have a complaint against the conduct of police officers, you make a complaint to the prosecutors’ office. The ERRC supported X and Y to complain to the prosecutors’ office about what happened to them. The authorities did not investigate what happened. As a result, X and Y decided to take their case to the European Court of Human Rights and we are representing them. The case is pending.
Normally, in cases about this kind of failure to investigate what appears to be racially motivated police brutality, the European Court considers the matter under Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights (prohibition on discrimination when guaranteeing Convention rights) taken with Article 3 (prohibition on torture and inhuman and degrading treatment). In this case, the Court is also looking at whether Macedonia may have violated Article 1 of Protocol no.12 to the European Convention on Human Rights. This is a self-standing prohibition on discrimination which has only been ratified by some European countries, including Macedonia. There have been very few cases under Protocol no.12. This case may provide an opportunity to see how that protocol can guarantee further rights protections in cases of police brutality against Roma and other minorities.
The Court’s statement of facts is available here.