ECHR judgment of 28 March 2017 in the case of "Skorjanec (Skorjanec) v. Croatia" (application No. 25536/14).
In 2014, the applicant was assisted in the preparation of the application. Subsequently, the application was communicated to Croatia.
In the case, a complaint was successfully considered for evading the investigation of a racially motivated act of violence against a victim by association. There has been a violation of Article 3 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
The applicant and her partner, who was a gypsy, were attacked by two people who expressed anti-Romani insults before and during the attack. The applicant was a witness in a criminal case, not a victim, as her partner. In the conventional proceedings, the applicant complained about the failure of the domestic authorities to effectively fulfill her positive obligations with respect to the racially motivated act of violence against her, in violation of articles 3 and 14 of the Convention.
ISSUES OF LAW
Compliance with Article 3 of the Convention (procedural aspect) in conjunction with Article 14 of the Convention. The authorities' obligation to establish a possible link between racist views and this act of violence, which was part of the obligation imposed on States in accordance with article 3 of the Convention in conjunction with article 14 of the Convention, concerned not only acts of violence based on the actual or imaginary personal status of the victim or characteristics, but also acts of violence based on the actual or perceived association or connection of the victim with another person who is really or presumptive but has a specific status or protected characteristic. In such cases, the authorities had to do what was reasonable under the circumstances to collect and preserve the evidence, investigate all the practical means of establishing the truth and render fully motivated, impartial and objective decisions, without omitting suspicious facts that might indicate racially motivated violence.
rticle 3 of the Convention required the implementation of adequate criminal law mechanisms if the severity of the violence caused by private persons provided protection under this provision. These principles are all the more applicable in cases of violence motivated by racial discrimination. The Court decided that Croatia's legal system provided adequate legal mechanisms to provide an acceptable level of protection to the applicant under the circumstances. However, in the present case, the prosecution authorities focused their investigation and analysis only on the element of the hate crime related to the violent assault on the applicant's partner. They did not perform a thorough assessment of the relevant situational factors and the relationship between the applicant's relationship with her partner and the racist motive for attacking them. In her complaint, the applicant raised specific allegations of racially motivated violence directed against her. The prosecution authorities insisted on the fact that she herself was not a gypsy and their inability to establish whether she was perceived by the attackers as a gypsy and the failure to take into account the links between the racist motive for the attack and the attitude of the applicant to her partner led to a lack of assessment of the circumstances of the case by the domestic authorities . This belittled the adequacy of the procedural response of the respondent Government to the applicant's allegations of a racially motivated act of violence against her to the extent of incompatibility with the State's obligation to take all reasonable steps to identify racist motives in the incident.
The violation of the requirements of Article 3 of the Convention (unanimously) was committed in the case.
In the application of Article 41 of the Convention. The Court awarded the applicant EUR 12,500 in respect of non-pecuniary damage.