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LGBTQIA & Hate Crime: MC and AC vs Romania

13 April 2016

Romanian authorities failed to properly investigate hate crime during Bucharest Pride, judgment from European Court of Human Rights.

The AIRE Centre was an intervenor (along with ILGA-Europe and FIDH) in the case of M.C. and A.C. vs Romania, which was the subject of a European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) judgment on Tuesday, 12 April 2016.

The ECtHR found that the Romanian authorities’ failure to properly investigate a hate crime incident, relating to physical and verbal attacks which followed a gay rights march, and its potential discriminatory motive, breached Article 3 (prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention.

In 2006 M.C. and A.C. had participated in the annual gay march in Bucharest. At the end of the march, returning home on the metro, they were attacked by a group of 6 people. They were subjected to homophobic abuse, as well as being punched and kicked. The attack was witnessed and photographed by someone on the train. The victims also went to the local hospital where they were examined and their injuries noted, before they attended Bucharest Police station in order to make a formal complaint.

The Court found that the criminal investigation conducted was far from satisfactory, in terms of the identification and punishment of the perpetrators and use of the available evidence. Importantly they noted that the LGBTI community in Romania were in a precarious situation, given they are subject to very negative attitudes (since 2006 sexual orientation has been added as a hate crime in Romania). This meant that it was “indispensable” for State authorities in Romania to consider whether the attack was motivated by discrimination. Without such a rigorous approach, there was a real danger that prejudice-motivated crimes would inevitably be treated by law‑enforcement authorities on an equal footing with cases involving no such overtones. This resultant “indifference” would be tantamount to official acquiescence to, or even connivance with, hate

The judgment was the subject of a partial dissent by Judge Kuris, who felt that the Court should also have examined whether there had been other Convention violations, such as freedom of assembly and right to an effective remedy in this case, which could have given MC and AC even wider impact beyond the issue of compensation.

 

Read the full MC and AC vs Romania judgment here

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