Roma and Travellers
The Court's Press Service has compiled Factsheets by theme on the Court’s case-law and pending cases.
These factsheets are available on the Court's website (www.echr.coe.int/ECHR/EN/Header/Press/Information+sheets/Factsheets)
We summarized some of them for our readers and recommend to visit the Court's website on these topics.
- Racially biased police investigations
Duty to investigate possible racist motives in fatal police shooting of two Roma fugitives : the European Court of Human Rights found violations of Article 2, of Article 14 together with Article 2, in that the authorities failed to investigate possible racist motives behind the deaths of the applicants’ relatives.
E.C.H.R., 06.07.2005, Nachova and Others v. Bulgaria
- Attacks on Roma villages and destruction of property
In September 1993 three Roma men were attacked in the village of Hădăreni by a large crowd of non-Roma villagers, including the local police commander and several officers: one burnt to death, the other two were beaten to death by the crowd.
The applicants alleged that the police then encouraged the crowd to destroy other Roma properties: in total 13 Roma houses in the village were completely destroyed. Hounded from their village and homes, the applicants were then obliged to live in crowded and unsuitable conditions – cellars, hen-houses, stables.
Following criminal complaints brought by the applicants, some were awarded damages ten years later.
The European Court of Human Rights could not examine the applicants’ complaints about the destruction of their houses and possessions or their expulsion from the village, because those events took place in September 1993, before the ratification of the Convention by Romania in June 1994.
However, European Court of Human Rights found violations concerning the complaints about the applicants’ living conditions and noted that the applicants’ ethnicity had been decisive in the excessive length and result of the domestic proceedings : violations of Article 3, Article 8, Article 6 §1, Article 14 together with Article 6 §1 and Article 8.
E.C.H.R., 12.07.2005, Moldovan and Others v. Romania (n°2)
- Segregation in schools
1. Placement of schoolchildren of Roma origin, in “special schools” intended for pupils with learning disabilities had not been justified.
In particular, the Czech legislation at the relevant time had had a disproportionately prejudicial effect on the Roma community and therefore also the applicants, as members of that community : the European Court of Human Rights found violation of Article 14 together with Article 2 of Protocol N°1
E.C.H.R., 13.11.2007, D.H. and Others v. the Czech Republic
2. The European Court of Human Rights found that the placement of the applicants, at times, in Roma-only classes during their primary education had not been justified, holding in particular that adequate safeguards had not been put in place at that time to ensure sufficient care for the applicants’ special needs as members of a disadvantaged and vulnerable minority : violation of Article 6 §1 and Article 14 together with Article 2 of Protocol N°1.
E.C.H.R., 16.03.2010, Orsus and Others v. Croatia
- Validity of Roma marriage: refusal to grant survivor’s pension
A Spanish national belonging to the Roma community married in 1971 according to the Roma community’s own rites.
Court found that it was disproportionate for the Spanish State, which had provided the applicant and her family with health coverage and collected social security contributions from her husband for over 19 years, then to refuse to recognise her Roma marriage when it came to granting her a survivor’s pension on her husband’s death : violation of Article 14 together with Article 1 of Protocol N°1.
E.C.H.R., 08.12.2009, Muñoz Díaz v. Spain
- Prohibition of a Rom from standing for election
On 14 December 1995 the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, (“the Dayton Peace Agreement”) entered into force which put an end to the 1992-95 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Court found discriminatory the constitutional arrangements, put in place by the Dayton Peace Agreement, according to which only people declaring affiliation with Bosniacs, Croats or Serbs were eligible to stand for election to the tripartite State presidency and the second chamber of the State parliament : violation of Article 14 together with Article 3 of Protocol N°1, violation of Article 1 of Protocol N°12
E.C.H.R., 22.12.2009, Sejdic and Finci v. Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Refusal to suspend a criminal sentence
Bulgarian courts’ refusal to suspend the applicant’s criminal sentence for fraud on account of her Roma origin.
In particular, the courts referred to “an impression of impunity, especially among members of minority groups, who consider that a suspended sentence is not a sentence” : violation of Article 14 together with Article 6 §1.
E.C.H.R, 25.3.2010, Paraskeva Todorova v. Bulgaria