European Court of Human Rights: Slovakia did not sufficiently investigate racial motivation of shooting six years ago
The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has agreed with the relatives of the victims of the massacre that happened six years ago in Hurbanova, southern Slovakia. A 51-year-old local police officer shot dead three Romani people and injured two others with an illegally held weapon during the incident.
The bereaved and the surviving victims have sued the Slovak Republic in Strasbourg for its insufficient investigation of the perpetrator's motivation as possibly having been racial. Gunman Milan Juhász was sentenced a year after the tragedy to nine years in prison and three years in a psychiatric treatment facility for intentional triple murder and two counts of attempted intentional murder, for possession of an unlicensed weapon, and for trespassing.
The defendant originally faced life in prison but judges handed down a lesser sentence after the prosecutor filed a motion to that effect and after experts testified that the gunman was not absolutely in his right mind at the time the crime was committed. Despite the express request of the injured parties, the court did not review a possible racial motive for the crime, so they complained to the Constitutional Court.
That court did not agree with the injured parties' complaint, so they turned to Strasbourg. The European Court of Human Rights has agreed with them and awarded them compensation in the amount of EUR 50 000, to be paid by the Slovak Justice Ministry.
According to Strasbourg, the Slovak authorities "...did not properly investigate the possible racial motive of the behavior of the perpetrator of these multiple murders", according to a report from the European Roma Rights Centre, which represented the injured parties in Strasbourg. "After misconduct was committed during the investigation by the police, the prosecutor had the opportunity to order the investigation of a possible racial motive for this crime, but did not do so. The court did not explain its verdict, thereby facilitating the overlooking of a racial motive despite the express request of the injured parties that it be investigated. After this criminal law protection for the injured parties failed, the Constitutional Court, to which the victims turned, could at least have indicated that their rights had been violated," Dorde Jovanović, the president of the ERRC, told news server Aktuality.sk, adding that in his view the case is one of the systemic failure of Slovakia's criminal investigation authorities.
Slovakia now has three months to appeal to the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights for a review of the judgment. According to Marica Pirošíková, the attorney for Slovakia before the Strasbourg court, the country would not have much chance of success if it were to appeal, as the court's judgment was unanimous.
- Slovakia: Chair of local party cell has swastika tattoo, national chair denies neo-Nazi associations
- Slovakia: Romani women giving birth allege they are subjected to physical violence, racism in hospitals
- Slovak ironworks prefers to hire Romani citizens instead of foreign nationals
- Slovakia: Four Romani girls and their mother die in house fire, police investigate racist comments about the news on their own Facebook page
- European Court of Human Rights: Freedom of speech does not include Holocaust denial
- Czech Republic deporting Afghan family whose case came before the European Court of Human Rights
- European Court for Human Rights condemns Slovakia for forced sterilization of Romani woman
- Romani girl runner in Slovakia scores another regional victory
- Czech town ordered to pay Romani residents evicted in 2006, may appeal
- Slovak Govt Plenipotentiary for Roma: We don't want closed settlements, testing residents for COVID-19 will prevent repressive measures
- Romani activist will seek to become chair of Progressive Slovakia party
- Newly-elected Slovak MP Jarmila Vaňová: I thank Romani voters for coming out and demanding change
- Czech ombudsman to control discrimination agenda, head of the legal section steps down to work for his deputy
- Czech Deputy Public Defender of Rights wants to investigate human rights, new Public Defender is downplaying that aspect of the office
- In twist of fate, new Public Defender of Rights sworn in by chair of ultranationalist party
- European Court of Human Rights finds Slovak authorities did not properly investigate police brutality against Romani boy
- Czech media reports Human Rights Commissioner co-authored communist-era paper alleging Roma are predetermined to commit crimes
- Czech President's nominee for ombudsman says he would not deal with discrimination against Roma if chosen because that's what the courts are for
- Slovak President Čaputová awards Romani doctor and human rights activist with state honors