This Information note does not bind the Committee of Ministers and is not exhaustive

Execution of European Court of Human Rights judgments concerning Roma Brief overview of main cases under Committee of Ministers supervision

An increasing number of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights (the Court) concerns Roma applicants. The Committee of Ministers follows closely the execution of such judgments, under Article 46 of the European Convention on Human Rights (the Convention).

Detailed information on the state of execution of the relevant cases can be consulted on the Departments website under state of execution. See also the Annual Reports on the Committee of Ministers supervision of execution of the Courts judgments.

The main violations found by the Court concerned :

Authorities failure to protect Roma from violence from both the police and civilians, to investigate racial motives of attacks, and to provide redress

i) In a number of cases concerning Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, Romania and The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia the Court notably concluded that police investigations into abuses by the police had been inadequate, in particular by excluding investigation into possible racist motives (1). In a number of situations, the Court also concluded that the authorities had failed to conduct proper investigations into racially motivated attacks by civilians against Roma people (2).

The execution measures supervised by the Committee of Ministers include : the reopening of inadequate police investigations; specific training and awareness-raising measures for the police, notably in order to ensure that racially motivated actions are identified; improved investigation procedures into allegations of violence, including improved supervision (through judicial review) of decisions not to prosecute; and amendments to the regulations governing police behaviour vis--vis the citizens and in particular the use of force.

ii) Several cases have concerned the consequences of racially motivated violence against Roma between 1990 and 1993: improper living conditions following the destruction of the applicants houses; failure to protect the applicants rights and degrading treatment by the authorities ; excessive length of judicial proceedings ; and discrimination based on the applicants Roma ethnicity (3).

See also memorandum CM/InfDH(2009)31 rev of 27 November 2009, Moldovan and others (No. 1 and No. 2) and other similar cases against Romania - Examination of the state of execution of general measures. → The States undertakings vis vis the specific Roma communities concerned by these judgments include the following measures: enhancing the educational programs for preventing and fighting discrimination against Roma within school curricula; drawing up programs for public information and for removing the stereotypes, prejudices and practices towards the Roma communities in public institutions; initiating programmes of legal education together with the members of the Roma communities; supporting positive changes in the public opinion of the Roma communities, on the basis of tolerance and the principle of social solidarity; stimulating Roma participation in the economic, social, educational, cultural and political life of their local communities; implementing programs to rehabilitate housing and the environment; and identifying, preventing and actively solving conflicts likely to generate family, community or inter-ethnic violence.

Discriminatory treatment of Roma children as regards schooling

In several cases, concerning Croatia, Czech Republic and Greece, the Court found that Roma children were discriminated against in their right to education. In particular, the authorities had placed the children in special schools or classes without any objective or reasonable justification, or placed them in discriminatory conditions because the tests used were not sufficiently objective and did not take into account the specific background of Roma children and their needs (4).

Croatia has recently forwarded an action plan concerning the measures envisaged or taken in response to the Courts judgment. The Committee of Ministers is assessing this action plan.
In the Czech Republic, legislation has been modified and now provides that children with special educational needs, including socially disadvantaged children, are to be educated in ordinary primary schools. School programmes have been reformed and a specific programme, aimed at improving integration of Roma through education has been set up. The effectiveness of these measures is currently under assessment.
In Greece, an important new programme by the Minister of Education relating to the education of Roma children has been launched and is currently being assessed by the Committee of Ministers.

Discriminatory treatment against people of Roma or Jewish origin in standing for election

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Constitution requires candidates for election to the House of Peoples and to the Presidency to be affiliated to a constituent people (i.e. Bosniacs, Croats and Serbs). The Court found this to be a discriminatory violation of the applicants' right to free elections in that they were ineligible to stand for election on grounds of their Roma and Jewish origin (5).

In June 2010, the Committee of Ministers expressed concern for the lack of political consensus on the content of the constitutional and legislative amendments necessary to execute the present judgment; observed that the measures envisaged in the action plans that had been previously submitted to the Committee of Ministers [had] not been taken within the deadlines provided therein; took note, however, of the statement of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mr Sven Alkalaj, made during the 120th Ministerial Session that as a member of the Council of Europe, Bosnia and Herzegovina is obliged to respect the judgment and [it] intends to do so and that the effective implementation of the judgment is of crucial political and legal importance for [Bosnia and Herzegovina] and represents a great challenge for Bosnia and Herzegovina; strongly encouraged the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina to bring the country's Constitution and its Electoral Code in line with the Convention as a matter of priority;reiterated its call upon the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina to take into account the relevant opinions of the Venice Commission in this regard; invited the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina to continue keeping the Committee informed of the developments regarding the measures to be taken; decided to resume consideration of this case at the latest at their 1100th meeting (December 2010) (DH), in the light of further information to be provided on general measures.
See also the Declaration on Bosnia and Herzegovina made by Micheline Calmy-Rey, outgoing Chair of the Committee of Ministers, and Antonio Miloshoski, incoming Chair of the Committee of Ministers at the 120th Session of the Committee of Ministers (Strasbourg, 11 May 2010).

Refusal to grant a pension to a Roma widow

The Court considered that this refusal, on grounds that the marriage under Roma rites was held to be void of civil effects, constituted a disproportionate difference in treatment, by statute or case-law, as compared to that of other similar situations of good faith marriage, not strictly valid from a legal point of view (6).

The law was amended and the applicant was granted a survivor's pension.

Other recent cases transmitted to the Committee of Ministers

A few cases concern discrimination suffered by Roma people in different contexts, such as :

♦ Lack of access of Roma women in Slovakia to personal medical records in the context of suspicion to have been submitted to forced sterilisation and lack of access to a court (7).

The Committee of Ministers has requested the authorities to provide an action plan or an action report on the measures envisaged or taken.

♦ Refusal by a Bulgarian court to suspend a sentence on account of the accuseds Roma origin (8)

This new case will be examined by the Committee of Ministers for the first time in December 2010.

(1) See Nachova & Hristova / Bulgaria (application No. 43577/98+, judgment of 06/07/2005 - Grand Chamber) and Tzekov / Bulgaria (Application No. 45500/99, judgment of 23/02/2006, final on 23/05/2006) - next examination at 1108th CMDH meeting, March 2011;; Bekos & Koutropoulos & other similar cases / Greece (Application No. 15250/02, judgment of 13/12/2005, final on 13/03/2006) and Petropoulou -Tsakiris / Greece (Application No. 44803/04, judgment of 06/12/2007, final on 06/03/2008) next examination at 1100th CMDH meeting, December 2010 ; Cobzaru / Romania (Application No. 48254/99, judgment of 26/07/2007, final on 26/10/2007) and Stoica / Romania (Application No. 42722/02, judgment of 04/03/2008, final on 04/06/2008) next examination at 1100th CMDH meeting, December 2010; Carabulea / Romania (Application No. 45661/99, judgment of 13/07/2010 not final) ; Balogh / Hungary (Application No. 47940/99, judgment of 20/07/2004, final on 20/10/2004) examination in principle closed at the 1043rd CMDH meeting, December 2008; Jasar and other similar cases / The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (Application No. 69908/01, judgment of 15/02/2007, final on 15/05/2007) next examination at 1108th CMDH meeting, March 2011.

(2) See Angelova & Iliev / Bulgaria (Application No. 55523/00, judgment of 26/07/2007, final on 26/10/2007) next examination at 1100th CMDH meeting, December 2010; Secic / Croatia (Application No. 40116/02, judgment of 31/05/2007, final on 31/08/2007) next examination at 1100th CMDH meeting, December 2010; Beganovic / Croatia (Application No. 46423/06, judgment of 25/06/2009, final on 25/09/2009) next examination at 1108th CMDH meeting, March 2011.

(3) See Moldovan & others n 1 and 2 and other similar cases including friendly settlements / Romania (Application No. 41138/98+, judgment No.1 of 05/07/2005 - Friendly settlement and judgment No. 2 of 12/07/2005, final on 30/11/2005) next examination at 1100th CMDH meeting, December 2010; Tanase & others / Romania (Application No. 62954/00, judgment of 26/05/2009, final on 26/08/2009 striking out on the basis of a unilateral declaration by the Government) next examination at 1115th CMDH meeting, June 2011.

(4) cf. Orsus & others / Croatia (Application No. 15766/03, judgment of 16/03/2010 - Grand Chamber) next examination at 1100th CMDH meeting, December 2010; D.H. & others / Czech Republic (Application No. 57325/00, judgment of 13/11/2007, Grand Chamber) next examination at 1100th CMDH meeting, December 2010; Sampanis / Greece (Application No. 32526/05, judgment of 05/06/2008, final on 05/09/2008) next examination at 1100th CMDH meeting, December 2010.

(5) See Sejdić and Finci / Bosnia and Herzegovina (Application No. 27996/06, judgment of 22/12/2009, final on 22/12/2009 - Grand Chamber) next examination at 1100th CMDH meeting, December 2010.

(6) See Munoz Diaz / Spain (Application No. 49151/07, judgment of 08/12/2009, final on 08/03/2010) next examination at 1100th CMDH meeting, December 2010.

(7) See K.H. & others / Slovak Republic (Application No. 32881/04, judgment of 28/04/2009, final on 06/11/2009) next examination at 1108th CMDH meeting, March 2011.

(8) See Paraskeva Todorova / Bulgaria (Application No. 37193/07, judgment of 25/03/2010, final on 25/06/2010) first examination at 1100th CMDH meeting, December 2010.