Bias motives by association In 2017Bias motives by association In 2017

Bias motives by association

In 2017, the ECtHR clarified in the case Škorjanec v Croatia that it is possible to suffer of a bias motivation by association. In June 2013, two men racially abused the applicant’s partner on the basis of his Roma origin, before attacking both him and the applicant herself. The two assailants were prosecuted and convicted on charges that included a hate crime against the applicant’s partner. However, the men were not charged for a racially motivated crime against the applicant herself. The authorities rejected her complaint of a hate crime, finding that there was no indication that the men had attacked her because of hatred towards Roma, as she is not of Roma origin. The applicant complained to the European Court of Human Rights of a lack of an effective procedural response of the Croatian authorities in relation to a racially motivated act of violence against her. The ECtHR ruled that under the ECHR, a person may be a victim of a violent hate crime not only when they have been attacked because they themselves have a certain characteristic – but also when they are attacked because they have an actual or presumed association with another person, who has (or is perceived to have) that characteristic. The ECtHR ruled that states have an obligation to recognise both types as hate crimes, and investigate them accordingly. However, in this case the Croatian authorities repeatedly failed to take the necessary care in identifying the violence against the applicant as a suspected hate crime and had violated Article 3 under its procedural aspect in conjunction with Article 14 of the Convention.

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