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Slovakia loses another forced sterilization case in Strasbourg

Bratislava (Slovakia), 14.6.2012 18:34, (ROMEA)
Members of the Group of Women Harmed by Forced Sterilization demonstrate outside a hospital in Ostrava, Czech Republic in 2006. The vast majority of women who have been forcibly sterilized have yet to be compensated.

Slovakia has lost yet another case regarding the forced sterilization of a Romani woman before the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in Strasbourg. News server Týden.cz reports that the court also found Slovakia responsible for errors committed in the investigation of an assault committed by unidentified perpetrators against Romani people in 2002. The Slovak Justice Ministry has reported that the state will be paying a total of EUR 85 000 to the successful plaintiffs.

A Romani woman who was forcibly sterilized in 2001 brought her case to the ECtHR because she was not satisfied with the CZK 40 700 (EUR 1 600) compensation awarded her four years ago by a Slovak court. Doctors performed the intervention during the delivery of her second child without her consent. She was a minor at the time.

The ECtHR found that the sterilization had seriously deteriorated her position as a woman in the Romani community and had caused her psychological suffering. The financial compensation awarded by the Slovak court was deemed insufficient and the plaintiff has been awarded compensation in the amount of EUR 25 000 and reimbursement of her court costs in the amount of EUR 5 000.

The ECtHR condemned Slovakia last fall for forcibly sterilizing another Romani woman. Even though the woman had signed a consent form for the operation, performed in the year 2000, judges came to the conclusion that the woman had not been fully aware of what she was agreeing to. The court obliged Slovakia to pay her EUR 31 000.

The court in Strasbourg also found in favor of a complaint by a group of Romani plaintiffs who said Slovak authorities did not sufficiently investigate an assault committed against the Romani residents of a settlement near Poprad 10 years ago. A group of masked people violently broke into various dwellings and destroyed furniture. Several persons were injured during the incident. Police halted their investigation into the case, claiming they had not succeeded in finding any evidence that would help them charge a specific individual. The raid on the settlement was said to have been preceded by an assault on a barmaid by a person of Romani origin after she refused that person service.

The ECtHR found that the Slovak authorities did not take the necessary steps to investigate the circumstances of the attack and determine who perpetrated it. The nine plaintiffs have been awarded compensation totaling EUR 55 000.

František Kostlán, Gwendolyn Albert, fk, Týden.cz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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