Italy court overrules 'racial hatred' convictions of anti-Roma group

[JURIST] The Italian Court of Cassation [official website] Monday overturned the convictions of six Italians, including Verona Mayor Flavio Tosi, for distributing anti-Roma literature in 2001. The court found that the men were motivated by a belief that all Roma are thieves, but held that this motivation did not amount to "racial hatred" under existing Italian anti-discrimination laws. The decision is expected to draw anger from human rights groups and Roma advocates [European Roma Rights Centre website]. It was speculated that the release of the ruling, which was handed down in March, was timed to bolster recent government plans to fingerprint [JURIST report] the nation's entire Roma population. Interior Minister Roberto Maroni [OECD profile] said that the fingerprinting would help to reduce street begging and keep children in school, but opponents immediately criticized it as a method of "ethnic screening." The Guardian has more.

In November 2005, the European Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) [advocacy website] reported that Roma minorities are the ethnic group most susceptible to racism in the European Union [JURIST report]. Two years later, in November 2007, the European Court of Human Rights rejected [JURIST report] the educational separation of Roma children in the Czech Republic, holding that the practice amounted to racial discrimination and violated principles of human rights.

 

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.