Number of People Prosecuted for Racially Motivated Offences Is Falling

Prosecutor-General Jaromir Ciznar. (Photo by TASR)

Bratislava, August 8 (TASR) – According to a report on the activities of the Prosecutor-General’s Office for 2015 submitted by Prosecutor-General Jaromir Ciznar, the number of people prosecuted for racially motivated crimes and offences with traits of extremism, including spectator violence (at sporting events, concerts, etc.), is continuously decreasing, TASR learnt on Monday.

Last year saw only 30 people charged with such offences, while the figure for the year before reached 35. Criminal prosecutions of 67 and 36 persons were concluded in 2014 and 2015, respectively. The highest number of prosecutions concerned the crime of supporting and promoting groups focused on suppressing basic human rights and freedoms (12) and for the crime of possessing extremist materials (ten).

Despite these crimes being predominantly only minor offences often performed by a single perpetrator without the direct use of violence, the Prosecutor-General’s Office is highly attentive to these matters. “One way of committing these crimes is via the internet, where they [the perpetrators] publish hateful statements and expressions or buy/sell items related to groups suppressing basic human rights and freedoms,” states the report.

Ciznar said that easy access to these means of communication makes it possible to address larger groups of people, thereby increasing the severity of the crime committed. However, Ciznar warned that uncovering such individuals on the internet is getting harder every day, especially due to the small number of staff and lack of top-notch technologies.

Based on several complaints from citizens and the media, the Prosecutor-General’s Office issued a statement in September 2015, stressing that every person has the right to express views on these issues in a socially acceptable manner but that all derogatory labels of migrants based on their nationality, religion or other factors will be reviewed before the law.