Back

Reforms introduced after police failed to properly investigate a racist attack

Koky and Others v. Slovakia  | 2012

Reforms introduced after police failed to properly investigate a racist attack

Where an individual raises an arguable claim that he has been seriously ill-treated … there should be an effective official investigation capable of leading to the identification and punishment of those responsible.

Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights, 12th June 2012

Background

One night in the village of Gánovce-Filice, a group of non-Roma residents forcibly entered three Roma houses. They beat the inhabitants with baseball bats and iron bars, whilst allegedly shouting racist slogans.

The victims identified a number of people who they said were responsible for the attack. However, the authorities refused to charge anyone with a crime.

Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights

The Strasbourg court found that the authorities had failed to properly investigate the incident or punish those responsible. The court said it was particularly important for attacks with racist overtones to be properly investigated.

Follow-up

In 2014 the offence of extremism was created, to make it easier for the authorities to prosecute racially-motivated crimes. Specialised police units were set up to deal with such crimes, and new regulations were introduced covering the actions of the authorities. 

Further legal changes in 2017 banned a wider range of extremist activities and made it easier for the authorities to prosecute violent racism. A specialised court and prosecution service took over responsibility for prosecuting such crimes.