MINELRES: ERRC: Romanian Government Acknowledges Responsibility for Anti-Romani Pogroms

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Sat May 5 09:40:43 2007

Original sender: European Roma Rights Centre <errc@errc.org>

European Court of Human Rights Delivers Justice to Romani Victims after
Seventeen Years 

Budapest, Targu Mures, 27 April 2007

On 26 April 2007, the European Court of Human Rights delivered judgments
in two cases concerning anti-Romani pogroms that took place in Romania
at the beginning of the 1990s. The Romanian Government acknowledged
responsibility for breaches of a number of articles of the European
Convention on Human Rights, committed to paying considerable amounts of
money as damages and costs to the applicants, and undertook to implement
measures aimed at improving living conditions and interethnic relations
in the aggrieved communities. These judgments emphasize the failure of
the Romanian judicial system to provide adequate redress to the victims
of widespread ethnically-motivated violence that took place in Romania
at the beginning of the 1990s. The European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC)
and Liga Pro Europa (LPE) assisted the applicants during domestic and
international proceedings.

Gergely v. Romania, the first of the two cases, concerns incidents that
took place in 1990 in which a non-Romani mob set on fire or otherwise
destroyed several Romani houses in the village of Casinu Nou, Harghita
County, and forced the Romani families to leave the village. The second
case, Kalanyos and Others v. Romania, concerned similar incidents that
took place in June 1991 in the neighboring village of Plaiesii de Sus.
It involved the brutal beating by a non-Romani mob of two Romani men who
died subsequently because of the injuries sustained, and the systematic
destruction of 28 Romani houses followed by the banishment of the Romani
families from the village. In both cases, local authorities condoned or
actively participated in the attacks. The official investigations into
the incidents were superficial, failing to assign responsibility to the
guilty individuals or provide relief to the victims. None of the victims
ever received full compensation for the losses incurred.

In a rarely used procedure, the European Court of Human Rights struck
the two cases out of its list of cases on the basis of unilateral
statements made by the Romanian Government that contain a series of
admissions and undertakings. Thus, the Romanian Government admitted that
its agents were responsible for breaches of Article 3 (prohibition of
torture), Article 6 (right to a fair trial), Article 8 (right to respect
for private and family life), Article 13 (right to an effective remedy)
and Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) of the European
Convention. The Government stated that it “regret [ted] the failure of
the criminal investigation to clarify fully the circumstances which led
to the destruction of the applicants’ home and possessions, which left
them living in improper conditions, rendered difficult their possibility
of filing a civil action for damages, as well as the exercise of their
right to respect for home, private and family life. Furthermore, the
Government expressed regret for the fact “that remedies for the
enforcement of rights in the Convention generally lacked at the time
when the applicants was seeking justice in domestic courts, and that
certain remarks were made by some authorities as to the applicant's Roma

In addition, the Government undertook to implement a series of measures
aimed at improving interethnic relations as well as living conditions in
the two communities. Finally, the Government committed to paying damages
totaling 133,000 EUR to the four applicants in the two cases. 

These judgments by the European Court of Human Rights deliver some
reparation to four of the many victims of the pogroms in Casinu Nou and
Plaiesii de Sus. Furthermore, these judgments confirm and strengthen the
findings of the Court in a similar case, Moldovan and Others v. Romania,
issued two years ago, which contained a damning indictment of the
failure of the Romanian Government to investigate adequately another
anti-Romani pogrom that took place in 1991. Indeed, official
investigations of an estimated thirty anti-Romani pogroms that took
place in post-communist Romania, which resulted in several Romani
deaths, destruction of Romani properties and displacement of entire
Romani communities were largely cosmetic endeavors. They failed utterly
to elucidate the circumstances of the attacks, bring the perpetrators to
justice or provide redress to the victims. Moreover, due to the
prevailing climate of impunity, in which such lax law enforcement
results, racially-motivated attacks against Roma continue to occur with
concerning frequency to the present day. 

The ERRC and LPE underline that the Romanian government is now under an
obligation to proceed swiftly to complying with the judgments and in
this context to reopen the criminal files concerning the above mentioned
two pogroms and compensate the rest of the Romani victims not included
in the original applications filed with the European Court of Human

The ERRC and LPE furthermore appeal to the Romanian Government to open
the files concerning all pogroms of the 1990s, with a view to bringing
all those responsible to justice, so that a dark chapter of Romania’s
recent history may be finally closed. 

Read the full text of the judgments here:

Further information on the case is available from:
Constantin Cojocariu, ERRC Staff Attorney, Email: constantin@errc.org , 
Tel.: +36-1-413-2200

Istvan Haller, LPE Human Rights Officer, Email: ihaller@proeuropa.ro , 
Tel.: + 40-265-250 182

Liga Pro Europa (Pro Europa League) is one of the first non-governmental
organizations in the post-communist Romania. The central programmes of
the association, inplemented predominantly in Transylvania, are based on
the promotion of interculturalism, human rights and minority rights, on
civic education and on preventing conflicts. For more information about
the Pro Europa League, visit the website at http://www.proeuropa.ro .

Liga Pro Europa
Piata Trandafirilor nr. 5
P.O. Box 1-154
Tel.: ++ (40 265) 250 182
Fax: ++ (40 265) 250 183
E-mail: ihaller@proeuropa.ro


The European Roma Rights Centre 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 Centre, visit the ERRC on the web at

To support the ERRC, please visit this link:

European Roma Rights Centre
1386 Budapest 62
P.O. Box 906/93
Tel: +36.1.413.2200

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