Hate crimes against Roma communities in Ukraine

Source: ERRC

Source: ERRC

Fedorchenko and Lozenko group v Ukraine (Application No 387/03)

Briefed on: 25th February 2019

These cases concern the failure to carry out effective investigations into violent acts allegedly carried out on racial/ethnic grounds (violation of the procedural limb of Articles 2 or 3) and to investigate a possible causal link between alleged racist attitudes and the attacks (violation of Article 14 taken in conjunction with Articles 2 or 3 in respect of its procedural limb). In Fedorchenko and Lozenko, the authorities failed to investigate the deaths of the applicants’ Romani-origin relatives caused by an arson attack on their house in October 2001.

The authorities submitted a first action plan on 17 September 2013 (see DH-DD (2013)1012) for Fedorchenko and Lozenko case. An updated action plan was published on 4th January 2019.

On 1st February, the European Roma Rights Centre and ICO Roma Fund Chiricli made a submission on this case, which they presented at the briefing. Based on their fact-finding, both organisations argued that the Ukrainian government had not taken the necessary general measures to comply with the judgment. Throughout 2018, attacks occurred in Ukraine which targeted Romani communities in at least 5 cases. They appeared to be carried out by organised racist groups, and were not isolated. However, none of them were being treated as hate crimes. In other words, none of the mechanisms the Ukrainian Government described in its updated Action plan were being deployed in these cases, which bear all the hallmarks of racially-motivated violence.

In view of this situation, the representatives of ICO Roma Fund Chiricli and the European Roma Rights Centre therefore invited the CM to ask the Ukrainian authorities to:

  • Amend Article 161 § 2 of the Criminal Code

  • Regularly report to the Committee of Ministers on current hate crime cases (including these five)

  • Ensure effective training of law enforcement

  • Set up an oversight structure for dealing with hate crimes

  • Strengthen mechanisms for complaints against police

  • Report to the Committee of Ministers on the budgets and financing for related aspects of Roma Integration Strategy 2020