The Košice Municipal Court today acquitted the police officers accused of abusing Roma boys at the police station in Košice, which they were alleged to have committed in March 2009.

Since 2009, our NGO has been providing free legal representation to the injured Roma boys through a cooperating lawyer, including their representation before the domestic general courts, the Constitutional Court of the Slovak Republic and the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

The Košice Municipal Court made the decision after the Constitutional Court of the Slovak Republic overturned the acquittals of the district and regional courts against the accused police officers in May 2023. The Constitutional Court reproached the general courts for the way they had approached the evaluation of the evidence, concluding that their decisions were not constitutionally acceptable and as such overturned them. It also referred to the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights of February 2023, which also assessed the criminal proceedings conducted by the courts as ineffective.

Our statement responds to the judgment delivered by the court at today’s hearing. A written copy of the judgment has not yet been delivered to the applicants or their legal counsel.

Štefan Ivanco, Programme Coordinator of our NGO reacted to today’s verdict:

“The decision is a huge disappointment for us. As part of our work, we continue to monitor cases of police violence against members of the Roma minority. This decision may have wider negative consequences and, among other things, may significantly deter others from seeking justice in cases of violent crime by police officers. In our view, this decision has shown that effective legal protection against police violence is still a distant goal in Slovakia.”