Imperfect Justice: Anti-Roma Violence and Impunity

06 April 2011

Budapest, 6 April 2011: Many Romani victims of violent attacks do not secure justice, according to the findings of research undertaken by the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia.

In a significant number of countries, violence against Roma is a serious and ongoing problem. Not only because it harms the Roma directly affected by the attack, but Roma as an ethnic group are impacted by the lack of effective response by State authorities. While Roma are often described as a vulnerable group in Governments’ policies, little of this understanding is visible in the practice of police and other responsible State authorities in addressing anti-Roma violence.

From a series of attacks registered in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia against Roma and/or their property between January 2008 and December 2010, the ERRC has monitored the State response to violence against Roma in 44 of these cases: 14 cases from the Czech Republic, 22 from Hungary and 8 from Slovakia. After collecting information on these cases from various sources, the ERRC sent a series of requests for information to responsible police departments, prosecutors and courts seeking anonymised information related to the status and results of the police investigation, charges brought, sanction of perpetrators and the treatment of racial motivation in the investigation and prosecution of the acts.

The results of this research suggest that a climate of impunity surrounds violence against Roma, which can only serve to encourage more violence. A number of shortcomings in the State response to violence against Roma are apparent, including failure to identify suspects in a significant number of cases and/or recognise racial motivation in a significant number of cases.

On the basis of the findings of this study, the ERRC urges the Czech, Hungarian and Slovak Governments to take all necessary measures to prevent anti-Roma crimes, investigate when a crime is committed and prosecute all perpetrators to the fullest extent of the law.

A factsheet summarising the findings is available online. The full report, Imperfect Justice: Anti-Roma Violence and Impunity, is available on the ERRC website.

For further information, contact:
Sinan Gokcen
ERRC Media and Communications Officer


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