Slovakia: Roma Plenipotentiary asks Prosecutor-General to review case of police abuse of Romani boys
The Slovak Government Plenipotentiary for Romani Communities, Peter Pollák, is asking the Prosecutor-General to supervise the prosecution of a case involving the abuse of Romani boys by police. "I have been following the development of this much-publicized case of the humiliating, unprofessional treatment of young Romani boys by police officers at the Košice–Jih Police Department since it began in 2009. I have seen the video recording of officers forcing these boys to strip naked, slapping them, and cursing their Romani origins. I would like to highlight the fact that the prosecutor has filed an appeal after the court issued its verdict, is ensuring compliance with the law by the state authorities in this case, and is focusing on the legality of the court's assessment of the evidence. Like the prosecutor, I too do not agree with the justification presented by the presiding judge, according to whom 'evidence acquired through multiple transfers from one device to another cannot meet the legal requirements of evidence in order to clarify what actually occurred, because the evidence was not acquired in accordance with the applicable legal regulations'," Pollák has posted to his official website.
The Plenipotentiary has sent a personal letter to Prosecutor-General Jaromír Čižnár in which he presents the legal viewpoint of the Office of the Slovak Government Plenipotentiary for Romani Communities. In that communication, he expresses the opinion that in this case the audio and video recordings were made by the perpetrators of illegal behavior who most probably directly used that footage to spread awareness of their crimes.
"By doing so, the perpetrators declared, as a matter of law, their express will to make generally accessible and usable this footage of events that transpired on premises owned by the state of the Slovak Republic, premises intended for the implementation of the exercise of powers by public officials which, moreover, the defendants in this case were not legally entitled to use in this way," Pollák's letter states. The Plenipotentiary believes that the acquisition of the recordings by the officers, moreover, violated both the personal space and the rights of the victims.
For their part, the victims consider the evidence lawful and necessary. Pollák also believes the judgment of the Košice II District Court acquitting the officers for lack of evidence is unwarranted and that ultimately its legal consequence is to deny justice and violate the European Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms as well as other international agreements.
"I appreciate the work done by those police officers who, when performing their service, ensure the preservation of human dignity, honor and solemnity and do not allow baseless harms to human rights and freedoms to arise in connection with their activity. In the case of this scandal, I am convinced that the officers who were supposed to protect the law have failed, that they harassed these boys, and that their behavior rises to the level of felony abuse of the powers of a public official. I believe that justice and truth will ultimately be enforced and that the responsible institutions will guarantee a fair trial. Just as I condemn the illegal practices of the members of the police force exemplified in the case of this scandal, I also condemn the perpetration of crimes and misdemeanors by children of any ethnic or national affiliation," the Plenipotentiary said.
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