Background According to the US Department of State 2004 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – Slovak Republic, “Roma constituted

the second largest ethnic minority, reported by the 2001 census to number 90,000, although experts estimated the population to be up to 375,000 (nearly 7 percent of the population). NGOs maintained that Roma continued to be reluctant to identify themselves as Roma because they feared discrimination.”1 However, the Slovak Ministry of Justice estimates the number in the region 300,000 – 500,000 people and believes that the vast majority of them lives in eastern Slovakia.2 The information below looks at a number recent cases documenting misconduct and police brutality committed against persons of Roma origin in an attempt to show that ill-treatment by members of the police in Slovakia of persons of Roma origin has been a repeated occurrence. It also provides an outline of an older case of a racially motivated murder of a Roma woman in Zilina and the sentencing of the perpetrators which followed. The case is compared with another case in which, according to the prosecution, the perpetrator, who was Roma, was guilty of murder in order to illustrate disproportionate sentencing of Roma in criminal justice. It concludes with a series of reports by major human rights organisations and watchdogs on Roma rights, police brutality and ill-treatment of Roma by police officers, depicting the situation between 2010 and 1999. Lucie Fremlova3 On 14 December 2010, the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Mižigárová (represented by Andi Dobrushi of European Roma Rights Centre) v Slovakia found a violation of Article 2 (right to life) of the European Convention on Human Rights in a decision regarding the death in 1999 by shooting of a young Romani man, Lubomir Šarišský, in police custody. The Court held that Slovak authorities had failed to give a plausible explanation to the death of Mr Šarišský, who was in good health at the time of his arrest. Consequently, the Court found that Slovak authorities had violated their obligation to take reasonable measures to protect Mr Šarišský’s health and well-being while he was in police custody. The Court also held that the ensuing investigation was severely inadequate which amounted to a further violation of Article 2.4 The applicant was awarded 45,000 EUR in non pecuniary damages for pain, frustration, helplessness and humiliation caused by the violent death of Mr Šarišský. Furthermore, the applicant was awarded 8,000 EUR in costs and expenses.

1 2 3 Lucie Fremlova is Head of Programmes at Equality, a UK-based charity that works to uphold and secure the rights of ethnic minority groups in Britain and Europe, primarily those of Roma who migrated to the UK from the new EU Member States. She has extensive research and programme management experience from working on minority rights issues in the UK and the Czech Republic, including for European Dialogue, Life Together and the European Roma Rights Centre. She was the main author of the 2009 report ‘The Movement of Roma from the new EU Member States: a mapping survey of Roma in England’ and the lead researcher in the 2009 FRA study on the movement of Roma from new EU Member States to the United Kingdom. She has provided expert advice to the Council of Europe, OSCE and the United Nations. 4 The case concerns the death of a 21-year-old Roma man Mr Šarišský, who was arrested in August 1999 on suspicion of bicycle theft and brought to the police station in Poprad for questioning. At the police station, Mr Šarišský was questioned by an off-duty police officer, Lt. F, with whom he had had previous encounters. At some point during the questioning, Mr Šarišský was shot in the abdomen. Mr Šarišský died in hospital four days after being shot at the police station. He left behind a wife and a ten-month-old daughter. In domestic proceedings, Lt. F was convicted in October 2000 of injury to health caused by negligence in the course of duty because he had failed to secure his service weapon contrary to relevant regulations and received a one-year prison sentence suspended for a two-and-half year probation period. Lt. F committed suicide in January 2001. The victim’s wife, Ms Mižigárová, turned to the Court in 2001 to seek justice concerning the death of her husband. action=html&documentId=878641&portal=hbkm&source=externalbydocnumber&table=F69A27FD8FB86142 BF01C1166DEA398649

In 2010, the relatives of a 46-year-old Roma man, who died of suffocation as a result of a raid conducted by riot police in Tornal'a, filed a wrongful death suit against Slovak police.5 The plaintiffs alleged the victim had died of slow poisoning after officers allegedly used a disproportionate amount of tear gas against him. He was said to have signed his testimony shortly after the police raid even though he was unable to read it because his eyes kept tearing up. On 17 September 2009, the Supreme Court had issued a final judgement in the case of the tragic death of Karol Sendrei, a member of the Roma national minority. The first-instance court had handed down a guilty verdict against seven policemen on 28 February 2008, convicting them of participation in the violent death of Mr. Sendrei, who had died in early July 2001 at the local police department in Revuca after brutal questioning by the police. A total of six imprisonment sentences – ranging from two to eight and a half years – had been issued against the former police officers, four of them for the criminal offence of torture and other inhuman or cruel treatment. After that tragic event, the Government had instructed the Ministry of the Interior to urgently propose measures for restoring confidence in the police force as guardians of law and order. On 21 March 2009, six Roma juveniles were subject to ill-treatment by police officers in a police station in Košice.6 The incident, which was broadcast on Slovak television on 7 April 2009, showed that the juveniles were, under threat of physical assault by police officers, forced to strip naked and to slap and kiss each other.7 The trial in the case opened in November 2010, with all of those charged claiming their innocence. In a case dating back to August 2000, Anastazia Balazova, a mother of eight children, was brutally murdered in front of her children at her home by the three men with a baseball bat in the northern Slovak town of Žilina. The aggressors reportedly shouted "keep quiet you black pigs, or I will kill you all" during the attack. Mrs Balážová died in the hospital three days later of cerebral haemorrhage caused by blows to the head. Two of the children were also treated for injuries. On 18 May 2001, SME, a Slovak daily, reported that the ruling in the case of 21-year-old Peter Bandur, from Zilina and a soldier enlisted in Slovakia's compulsory military service, is valid. The military district court in Banska Bystrica handed down a guilty ruling.8
5 News server Aktuálně.sk reports that the organization Ľudia proti rasismu (People against Racism) has filed criminal charges over the incident. 6 Police brutality in Slovakia sparks outrage on International Roma Day 7 8 On March 30, 2001, a jury of the Military Court of the Banská Bystrica District found Mr Peter Bandur, who was a member of the Slovak military at the time of the killing, guilty of crimes including racially motivated bodily harm (Article 222 of the Slovak Criminal Code) and violation of the freedom of the home (Article 238 of the Slovak Criminal Code) and sentenced him to a total of seven years incarceration. However, the court ordered that Mr Bandur serve three-and-a-half of the seven years in a reformatory, while he would be on probation for the remaining three-and-one-half years. The other three defendants were tried by a first instance district court in Žilina on August 30, 2001, and were given lenient sentences ranging from two-and-a-half to five years of effective imprisonment: Twenty-two-year-old Mr Pavel Hrčka was sentenced to five-year jail term for bodily harm. The court ordered that he serve an effective sentence of only two-and-a-half years, with the rest of the sentence served as probation. Twenty-six-year-old Mr Pavol Kozák was sentenced to a fiveyear jail term for violation of the freedom of the home. As Mr Kozák had a prior criminal record, the court ordered that he serve the full sentence. Twenty-two-year-old Mr Marian Skaličan was sentenced to a threeyear jail term, for violation of the freedom of the home, and was ordered to serve the full sentence. The court did not recognise racial motivation in the actions of any of the men, though the Slovak Criminal Code makes explicit provision for racially-motivated bodily harm, and the prosecutor had specifically recommended applying a relevant Criminal Code article. In a written opinion in the case, the presiding judge stated that, with respect to the actions of Mr Hrčka, although he had been proven to be a "sympathiser of the movement Skinheads," and had confessed in court to animosity toward Roma, the court could not find that when he broke into Ms Balážová's house and beat her to death he had acted out of racial hatred because, inter alia, "[...] the fact of being a sympathiser of the movement Skinheads, and the fact that he does not like Roma, cannot be regarded as an expression of racial animosity [...]" and "[i]t was not shown that prior to the event, the accused had sought out a situation in which he could purposefully harm the home, property or life of members of the Romani ethnic group."

Sentencing of Roma and non-Roma perpetrators In an article entitled Discrimination in the Slovak Judicial System,9 using the above case of the brutal murder of Anastasia Balazova, the European Roma Rights Centre argued that “(t)wo recent cases in Slovakia – one in which Roma were victims, another in which a Romani man was the alleged perpetrator – illustrate that Roma suffer discrimination in the Slovak criminal justice system.” “On February 20, 2002, a trial began in Bratislava, Slovakia, in the case of a 20-year-old Romani man named Mario Bango, in connection with the March 10, 2001, killing on a tram in Bratislava of a non-Romani man named Branislav Slamko. Mr Bango allegedly fatally stabbed Mr Slamko (...).”10 However, Mr Bango's defenders claimed that Mr Slamko was a racist skinhead and that Mr Bango had acted in self-defence in the case. “In accordance with the decision of a Slovak prosecutor, upheld by the decision of a Bratislava District Court on November 20, 2001, Mr Bango went to trial facing the charge of murder under Article 219 of the Slovak Criminal Code. If convicted, he could receive up to fifteen years imprisonment for the crime. Article 219 carries a minimum prison term of ten years.”11 In 2004, ERRC reported that the Bratislava-based non-governmental organisation People Against Racism initiated a petition to free Mr Mário Bango who was imprisoned at that time for the killing by stabbing of an ethnic Slovak named Mr Branislav Slamko on March 10, 2001. 12 ERRC concluded by claiming that the decision to prosecute Mr Bango for the alleged murder was in stark contrast to the decision by Slovak prosecution and judicial authorities in the premeditated killing by perpetrators of Ms Anastazia Balážová’s murder. “The amended ruling in the killing [by the non-Roma perpetrators] of Ms Balážová is dramatically more lenient than the verdict recommended in the prosecution of Mario Bango, although the former case appears to be a serious premeditated racially motivated killing. A raw comparison of the recommendations of prosecutors in connection with the two cases indicates that ethnicity may have played a key role in sentences sought: Prosecutors in the killing of Ms Balážová by racist skinheads never sought convictions under Criminal Code articles more severe than those pertaining to "bodily harm" (Articles 221 and 222 of the Slovak Criminal Code); prosecutors in the killing of a non-Romani man by Mario Bango, a Romani man, have been unwavering in their determination to see Mr Bango prosecuted for murder. Absent accurate data on sentencing disparities in the Slovak judicial system – to date unavailable from official Slovak sources – monitors of the situation of Roma in Slovakia will be able to rely only on comparisons such as those suggested by internationally infamous cases such as Bango/Slamko and Balážová.”13
A district prosecutor in Žilina subsequently filed an appeal to the Regional Court of Žilina. On November 20, 2001, the appeals court ruled that the accused persons had committed the crime of racially motivated bodily harm: Mr Kozák was found guilty of crimes including racially motivated bodily harm under Slovak Criminal Code Article 222(1 and 2b); Mr Skaličan was found guilty of crimes including racially motivated bodily harm under Slovak Criminal Code Article 221(1 and 2b); Mr Hrčka was found guilty of racially motivated bodily harm under Slovak Criminal Code Article 221(2). However, the appeals court failed to alter to any great degree the sentences handed down by the first instance court. The appeals court issued the following sentences: Mr Hrčka was ordered to serve four years; Mr Kozák was ordered to serve five years; and Mr Skaličan was ordered to serve three years imprisonment respectively. Neither the prosecutor nor any party appealed the verdict. Bandur was sentenced to seven years in prison—in the "lowest penalty" type of prison in his home area. The court also ordered the soldier to compensate the husband of Anastazia Balazova with 18,000 SKK (approx. 450 USD) and the oldest daughter Stella with 600 SKK (15 USD) Compensation claims of 55 million SKK (1,410,256 USD) made by the family, including the compensation for psychological trauma, will be a matter of civil legal procedure. 9 Discrimination in the Slovak Judicial System, European Roma Rights Centre, 7 May 2002, 10 11 12 13

Reports on ill-treatment in pre-trial detention/custody and police brutality towards Roma in Slovakia by major international human right bodies and institutions 1. Amnesty International World Report 2010 (Slovakia) The report notes under Section Torture and other ill-treatment:: i/ There were some positive developments in legal cases regarding police officers accused of torture, and at least one further report of ill-treatment by officers was received. In September, the Supreme Court confirmed the sentences of six former police officers who were convicted of illtreatment and the unlawful death of Karol Sendrei, a 51-year-old Romani man who died in police custody in 2001. The two officers principally responsible were sentenced to eight and a half years’ imprisonment. Seven police officers were accused of ill-treating six Romani boys in Košice police station in April, after a newspaper published graphic video footage of the abuse. In May, the General Prosecutor informed Amnesty International that racial motivation would be considered.14 2. Council of Europe Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) (Report to the Government of the Slovak Republic on the visit to the Slovak Republic carried out by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) from 24 March to 2 April 200915 The report made the following observations: i/ In contrast to previous visits to Slovakia, the CPT received only a few allegations of ill-treatment during police questioning and/or custody. However, the well-publicised incident of 21 March 2009, concerning the ill-treatment of six Roma juveniles in a police station in Košice, highlights the necessity for the Slovak authorities to remain vigilant in promoting and enforcing a message of zero tolerance of ill-treatment by police officers. ii/ The incident, which was broadcast on Slovak television on 7 April 2009, showed that the juveniles were, under threat of physical assault by police officers, forced to strip naked and to slap each other. Furthermore, they were subjected to intimidation by dogs which were kept at a distance of just a few metres. Subsequently, by letters of 28 April and 6 July 2009, the CPT was informed by the Slovak authorities that an investigation by the Control and Inspection Service of the Ministry of Interior has inter alia led to the dismissal of seven police officers directly involved in the incident. The letter also stated that criminal charges have been brought against these police officers, as well as against a seventh officer and that four senior police officers have been dismissed. (page 13) 3. The United Nations Office at Geneva Committee Against Torture (review of the second periodic report on Slovakia CAT/C/SVK/2 )16
14 15 16 The Criminal Code also offered protection against the abuse of means of coercion by members of the police by defining the criminal offence of "abuse of power by public officials". Every complaint of illtreatment filed with an investigator or another police officer in the course of criminal proceedings had always to be referred to the Inspection Service Office of the Police Force. In the interest of eliminating ill-treatment of detainees, the Inspection Service presented annual reports on police crime to the Ministry of the Interior. Another important legislative change had been introduced by Act No. 475/2005 on the Execution of Custodial Sentences and Act No. 221/2006 on the Execution of Remand Custody. The two acts, adopted in reaction to the recommendations both of this Committee and the Council of Europe Committee on the Prevention of Torture, created the necessary legal conditions for humanizing the Slovak prison system. Compliance with the rules applicable to the places holding, inter alia, remand prisoners, sentence prisoners, persons under court-ordered protective treatment, or in institutional care was supervised by the prosecution service. The prosecution service exercised similar supervisory powers also with respect to police officers not only during criminal proceedings, but in all cases when the police acted as a public authority vis-à-vis citizens, Mr. Rosocha added. Mr. Rosocha also drew attention to Act No. 90/2001 amending the Constitution, which, among others created the institution of the Public Defender of Rights (ombudsman), who might be called upon by

i/ Fedor Rosocha, Permanent Representative of Slovakia to the United Nations Office at Geneva, noted that in spite of the Government's efforts, there had been cases involving elements of torture and other cruel or inhuman treatment. With regard to police action taken in Kosice against six Roma juveniles in March 2009, Slovakia admitted that the police conduct in that case was incompatible with the mission, powers and the code of ethics of police officers. The Ministry of the Interior had immediately condemned that conduct. After the facts of the case had been established, the six members of the police force directly involved in the action had been suspended and eventually dismissed from the force, while proceedings against one policewoman were still pending on account of illness. Motions were also being prepared to dismiss three more policemen who had been present on the premises of the local police station during the time of the incident. Moreover, criminal proceedings had been initiated and indictments filed against seven police officers for the crime of abusing power of a public official and for the crime of extortion committed in complicity. Ii/ Providing another example, Mr. Rosocha said that, on 17 September 2009, the Supreme Court had issued a final judgement in the case of the tragic death of Karol Sendrei, a member of the Roma national minority. The first-instance court had handed down a guilty verdict against seven policemen on 28 February 2008, convicting them of participation in the violent death of Mr. Sendrei, who had died in early July 2001 at the local police department in Revuca after brutal questioning by the police. A total of six imprisonment sentences – ranging from two to eight and a half years – had been issued against the former police officers, four of them for the criminal offence of torture and other inhuman or cruel treatment. After that tragic event, the Government had instructed the Ministry of the Interior to urgently propose measures for restoring confidence in the police force as guardians of law and order. 4. The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) Report on Slovakia (fourth monitoring cycle, Adopted 19 December 2008, published 26 May 2009, pg. 35)17 The report observes under paragraph 144: i/ ECRI notes with concern reports according to which instances of police brutality against members of the Roma minority still occur. There are also reports of police being occasionally reluctant to take witness testimony from, among others, members of this group and that often cases involving Roma and other minorities are not promptly and thoroughly investigated. Moreover, there do not appear to have been many successful prosecutions of police 5. The US Department of State 2009 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – Slovak Republic (March 11, 2010)18 The report notes: i/ Notable human rights problems included some continuing reports of police mistreatment of Romani suspects and lengthy pretrial detention; restrictions on freedom of religion; concerns about the integrity of the judiciary, corruption in national government, local government, and government health services; violence against women and children; trafficking in women and children; and societal discrimination and violence against Roma and other minorities.

any person who believed that his or her fundamental rights and freedoms had been violated by a public authority. The ombudsman's office had begun to operate in Slovakia in 2002, and had received over 17,980 submissions to date, more than 100 of them filed by persons remanded in custody or serving custodial sentences who had complained about living conditions in penitentiary institutions. Under a 2006 amendment, the ombudsman's powers had been expanded to include the ability to initiate proceedings before the Constitutional Court in matters involving violations of fundamental rights and freedoms. (httpNewsByYear_en)/435E0385CE896356C1257663005D33FD?OpenDocument 17 18

ii/ Under Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom From: a. Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life, ther report made the following observation: “In September the Supreme Court upheld the February 2008 Banska Bystrica Regional Court conviction of seven former police officers for torture and inhuman treatment in connection with the 2001 death of a Romani man in police custody. The man died while handcuffed to a radiator; the official autopsy revealed injuries to vital organs caused by fist and nightstick blows, kicks, and other forms of physical abuse. The former officers will serve between 18 months and eight years and six months in prison.” iii/ Under c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the report noted: “Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and members of the Romani community cited a continuing trend of mistreatment of Romani suspects by police officers during arrest and while in custody. The Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) released an inspection report in 2006 that noted significant allegations of mistreatment of detainees by law enforcement agencies, including slaps, punches, kicks, or blows with hard objects such as batons. In a "notable proportion" of cases the victims were Roma.” (…) On March 21, police officers abused six Romani boys (ranging in age from 11 to 16 years old) detained in Kosice following alleged theft of a purse. Videotapes of the incident, leaked to the media on April 7, showed the officers forcing the boys to strip naked, kiss, and hit each other. Police authorities immediately suspended nine officers, seven of whom subsequently lost their jobs, accused them of abuse of office and intimidation, and faced criminal charges; the trial was pending at year's end. Authorities also dismissed four of the officers' superiors.” iv/ Under d. Arbitrary Arrest or Detention: Role of the Police and Security Apparatus, the report noted: “Human rights observers believed that police were occasionally reluctant to accept the testimony of certain witnesses, particularly Roma, women, and homeless persons and often failed to investigate cases involving Roma and other minorities promptly and thoroughly. (…) The most common charge authorities brought against police officers was abuse of power; other charges included battery, assault and battery, and illegal intrusion into private homes. In 2008 authorities charged 158 police officers with crimes; in 68 of these cases, the crime was abuse of power. Disciplinary action ranged from fines to expulsion from the police force.” v/ “There were some indications that impunity was a problem, as evidenced in the continuing case of Radoslav Puky, a Slovak citizen of Romani origin. In 2004 Puky's body was found in a Trebisov canal following his disappearance during a police operation. A CPT investigation indicated that police took only perfunctory action to investigate reports of police assault against Puky. In 2007 the Constitutional Court dismissed a new complaint filed by the League of Human Rights Activists on behalf of the Puky family. In April 2008 the European Roma Rights Center submitted the case to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), where it was pending at year's end.” 5. The US Department of State 2004 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – Slovak Republic The report noted: i/ “The Government generally respected the human rights of its citizens; however, there were problems in some areas. Police officers allegedly beat and abused persons, particularly Roma. The performance of the security forces, particularly the police, continued to improve during the year. Investigation and prosecution of racially motivated crimes improved, although sentences imposed by some judges appeared lenient, leading some non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to claim that perpetrators were not adequately punished. There were reports of sterilizations that were coerced or without informed consent, particularly of Romani women, which the Government did not promote or approve but did investigate and took some steps to address. Societal violence against women and children remained problems. Skinhead attacks on Roma and other minorities continued. Minorities, particularly Roma, faced considerable societal discrimination. Trafficking in women also remained a problem.”

Ii/ Under Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom From: a. Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life, the report also noted that “The case of seven police officers, who were charged with inhuman and degrading treatment in the 2001 death of a Rom while in police custody, was returned to the prosecutors for further investigation. The prosecutor appealed the decision to the Supreme Court. The remaining four officers were released from pretrial detention, while an investigation into the alleged involvement of the mayor of Magnezitovce was reopened after a judgement from the Supreme Court.” “A complaint filed by the European Roma Rights Center (ERRC) in the case of a Rom killed during an interrogation in 1999 remained pending before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) at year's end.” iii/ Under c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the report noted “The Constitution prohibits such practices; however, on occasion, police allegedly beat suspects in custody, primarily Roma. (…) There continued to be reports of police brutality against Roma (see Section 5). According to Roma legal rights NGOs, Roma were frequently subjected to abusive raids on Romani settlements, the use of excessive force against suspects, and officials' failure to investigate thoroughly crimes against Roma. There were 165 complaints of police brutality reported in the first 6 months of this year, compared with 102 complaints in the same period of 2002. The suspected officers went to trial in only 3 percent of the cases. From October 2002 through June, Minister of the Interior Vladimir Palko dismissed 236 officers, of whom 6 percent left the force for committing physical abuse or threats. A supervisor who witnessed a racially motivated crime and did not act was also released from duty. (…) Police reportedly used pressure and threats to discourage Roma from pressing charges (see Section 1.d.). There were credible reports that, at times, police contributed to the problem of violence against Roma by not investigating attacks against them in a timely and thorough manner or by coercing Roma not to submit potentially incriminating evidence (see Sections 1.d. and 5).” iv/ Under d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile, the report noted that “Human rights observers continued to charge that police investigators were reluctant to take the testimony of witnesses, particularly Roma, regarding skinhead attacks on Roma. They also contended that on occasion, police failed to investigate cases of skinhead violence when the skinheads did not admit to the crime, although they were increasingly responsive in their efforts to monitor and control the skinhead movement (see Section 5). The Police Center for Monitoring Extremist Activities organized raids on meeting places of extremist groups and continued to cooperate on factfinding investigations with NGOs. Lawyers often were reluctant to represent Roma for fear that it would have a negative effect on their law practices.” v/ Under f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence, the report noted that “The law prohibits such actions; however, at times, the authorities infringed on these rights in practice. The Criminal Code requires police to obtain a search warrant in order to enter a home. The court may issue such a warrant only if there is a well-founded suspicion that important evidence or persons accused of criminal activity are present inside, with few exceptions. Police must present the warrant before conducting the search or within 24 hours afterwards. Some Romani activists alleged that occasionally local police entered Romani homes without a search warrant. This was reportedly most common in the eastern part of the country.” 6. The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) Report on Slovakia (third monitoring cycle, Adopted 27 June 2003, published 27 January 2004)19 The report noted: i/ Under paragraph 48. ECRI deplores that incidents of police mistreatment and violence against members of the Roma minority – including incidents leading to deaths in police custody - continue to occur. Although some investigations have been carried out and at least one criminal case brought,20 it does not appear that perpetrators have been brought to justice. At present no

independent investigatory mechanism such as envisaged by ECRI exists to look into allegations of police mistreatment. Ii/ Under paragraph 49. ECRI recommends that further measures be taken to put an end to incidents of police misbehaviour and mistreatment towards members of minority groups, in particular Roma. In particular, it stresses the importance of setting up an independent investigatory mechanism which can carry out enquiries into allegations of police misconduct and where necessary ensure that the alleged perpetrators are brought to justice. ECRI stresses that cases of police violence which are brought to court should be dealt with as rapidly as possible, in order to transmit the message to society that such behaviour on the part of the police is not tolerated and will be punished. 7. Conclusions and Recommendations of the Committee Against Torture (11 May 2001) The report refers to allegations of instances of police participation in attacks against Roma, to the failure on the part of the authorities to carry out prompt, impartial and thorough investigations into allegations of such actions or to prosecute and punish those responsible as well as to allegations that the law enforcement officials ill-treated detainees during detention and in police custody, particularly in lock-ups and police cells. 8. International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights: Human Rights in the OSCE Region: The Balkans, the Caucasus, Europe, Central Asia and North America, Report 2001 The report indicated that: “The most common human rights violation committed by the police was the disproportionate use of coercive methods, which often resulted in injuries to the arrestee and the need for medical care. Such abuse, however, was almost impossible to prove since there was no independent control commission for complaints of ill-treatment and misconduct by law enforcement officials.” 9. US Department of State 2000 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – Slovak Republic 61. The report observed that: “Police reportedly use pressure and threats to discourage Roma from pressing charges of police brutality. In 1998 and 1999, Roma in the town of Vráble lodged complaints against a local law enforcement officer ... for allegedly attacking teenage Romani boys. The Ministry of the Interior investigated the case and found [the officer] not guilty ... In March two Roma from the eastern town of Michalovce voluntarily came to the police station for questioning. They were allegedly beaten by some police officers. The victims suffered several injuries including broken legs, hands and ribs. When questioned about the incident, the police first claimed that the action was justified but later admitted that it was unwarranted.” 10. United Nations Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance (Annual Report, E/CN.4/1999) The report indicates, inter alia, that human rights monitoring bodies observed that the police exerted pressure on the victims of police brutality to withdraw their complaints. 11. The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI): Second Report on Slovakia adopted on 10 December 1999 The report noted that: “...the problem of police mistreatment of members of minority groups, particularly Roma, is of

20 Seven police officers were arrested and charged in connection with the death of Karol Sendrei, who was
reportedly tied to a radiator at the police station and beaten in July 2001; however, no sentences have as yet been passed.

particular concern to ECRI...Victims are reportedly very unwilling to come forward through fear of reprisals and for lack of confidence in the possibilities for redress. ECRI stresses that any incidence of police brutality against minority groups should not be tolerated by the authorities, and that this should be made clear by a firm and public condemnation from politicians and police leaders. Steps should be taken to investigate all alleged mispractices and punish offenders: an independent investigatory body should carry out all such investigations. (…) At the level of prosecuting authorities and judges, it is noted that very few cases of racially motivated crime reach the courts at all, or, if they do, they are generally prosecuted as ordinary crimes.” 12. US Department of State 1999 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – Slovak Republic The report noted that: “In January police officers reportedly raided a Roma settlement in Kosice, injuring 16 Roma...In October, during a raid on a Romani community in Žehra, police allegedly used excessive force as they detained 9 Roma on charges of hooliganism. During the incident, the police shot a 13 year old Romani boy with a plastic bullet, and he was hospitalised as a result of his injury. Police reportedly use pressure and threats to discourage Roma from pressing charges of police brutality. Human rights monitors continued to charge that police...used their device of countercharges to pressure Roma victims of police brutality to drop their complaints...” 13. International Helsinki Federation Annual Report 1999 This report observed that: “In recent years, although racist violence against Roma in Slovakia has increased, effective prosecution and punishment have been rare. Also the police have resorted to abuse. On 27 October police officers assaulted Roma inhabitants of the village of Hermanovce, eastern Slovakia. Police entered the homes of two Roma families and beat two Roma youths, handcuffed them, forced them into the trunk of a car, and drove them to the police station ... The police offered no explanation to the detainees or their families; nor did they show arrest or search warrants to justify their actions. At the police station the two youths were allegedly beaten with truncheons and kicked. They were interrogated and shown diverse items, and pressed to falsely admit to stealing some of them. They were later released the same day, apparently without having been charged with any crime. Doctors who examined them documented bruises consistent with a beating. At no point were the two detainees advised on their rights.”

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