MINELRES: ERRC: Roma from Croatia Seek Justice in Skinhead Case

European Roma Rights Center minelres@lists.delfi.lv
Wed Nov 13 07:43:11 2002


European Roma Rights Center Press Release:

Law Suit Filed at the European Court of Human Rights in Croatian Racist
Violence Case
November 12, 2002

On November 12, 2002, the European Roma Rights Center (ERRC), along with
Croatian lawyer Lovorka Kusan, filed an application against Croatia with
the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of a father and son who
were victims of violent skinhead attacks.

Although it has been two years since the initial attack, Croatian police
have failed to take into account relevant information submitted by the
victims, by their lawyer, and by other Romani victims of similar
violence and have failed to conduct an adequate investigation into the
crimes.

The application alleges that on April 29, 1999, Mr Semso Secic was
savagely beaten by a group of Neo-nazi skinheads, sustaining multiple
rib fractures and requiring hospitalization for a week. The attack also
caused serious psychological harm, resulting in a diagnosis of
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder chracterized by insomnia, nightmares,
panic attacks, and a general emotional breakdown. Mr Secic filed a
criminal complaint with the Zagreb Municipal Public Prosecutor’s
Office. Despite repeated requests from Mr Secic and his lawyer, and
despite evidence that these same individuals were involved in other
attacks against Roma and had been apprehended by police, the
prosecutor’s office did not take any steps to bring the perpetrators to
justice.

On January 24, 2001, applicant Sevko Secic, Mr Secic’s son, was pursued
by five skinheads in front of a café close to Kvaternikov Square in
Zagreb but managed to escape. Although he clearly recognized his
attackers and provided detailed information about them to the police, no
further action was taken and no arrests made.
“Croatia has a clear obligation under the terms of the European
Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms to protect people
from these kinds of attacks,” said ERRC Executive Director Dimitrina
Petrova. “This means not just having laws against racist violence on
the books, but meaningful investigations and prosecutions. If the
police turn a blind eye, skinheads will continue to act with impunity
and carry out their campaigns of hate and violence.”

The complaint seeks a finding that Croatia has violated Article 1 (the
state’s obligation to secure the protections of the Convention), Article
3 (prohibition of torture or inhuman or degrading treatment), Article 13
(right to an effective remedy) and Article 14 (prohibition of
discrimination), along with compensatory damages for the victims.

Detailed information on the situation of Roma in Croatia can be found
at: http://www.errc.org/publications/indices/croatia.shtml


_____________________________________________

The European Roma Rights Center is an international public interest law
organisation which monitors the rights of Roma and provides legal defence
in cases of human rights abuse. For more information about the European
Roma Rights Center, visit the ERRC on the web at http://www.errc.org.

European Roma Rights Center
1386 Budapest 62
P.O. Box 906/93
Hungary


Phone: +36 1 4132200
Fax:   +36 1 4132201

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