Αυτός είναι ο κ. Δημητράς κ. Κοντογεώργο !

Χθες ο βουλευτής Ευρυτανίας της ΝΔ Κώστας Κοντογεώργος σχολιάζοντας τη μηνυτήρια αναφορά  25/04/2020: Mηνυτήρια αναφορά για ξενοφοβική επιστολή βουλευτή και δημάρχων Ευρυτανίας αναρωτήθηκε για τον Εκπρόσωπο του Ελληνικού Παρατηρητηρίου των Συμφωνιών του Ελσίνκι Παναγιώτη Δημητρά “Ποιός είναι ο κ. Δημητράς;” [το πλήρες κείμενο των γεμάτων με ψεύδη δηλώσεών του ακολουθεί].

Να λοιπόν ποιος είναι ο κ. Δημητράς κ. Κοντεογώργο με βάση το δημόσια προσβάσιμο βιογραφικό του:

  1. Εκπρόσωπος και ιδρυτικό μέλος (1993) του Ελληνικού Παρατηρητηρίου των Συμφωνιών του Ελσίνκι (ΕΠΣΕ)
  2. Εκπρόσωπος και ιδρυτικό μέλος (2010) της Ένωσης Ουμανιστών Ελλάδας (ΕΝΩ.ΟΥΜ.Ε.)
  3. Μέλος του Διοικητικού Συμβουλίου του Ευρωπαϊκού Δικτύου για την Εκτέλεση των Αποφάσεων του Ευρωπαϊκού Δικαστηρίου Δικαιωμάτων του Ανθρώπου (EIN) από το 2018,
  4. Μέλος του Εκτελεστικού Συμβουλίου της Ευρωπαϊκής Ουμανιστικής Ομοσπονδίας (EHF) από το 2014 και
  5. Μέλος της Γενικής Συνέλευσης της Παγκόσμιας Οργάνωσης Κατά των Βασανιστηρίων (OMCT) από το 2004.

Εντελώς ενδεικτικά να θυμίσουμε ποιο είναι το ΕΠΣΕ:

  1. Ο Εισηγητής της Πλειοψηφίας Λεωνίδας Γρηγοράκος στη Βουλή κατά τη “Συζήτηση επί της αρχής των άρθρων και του συνόλου του σχεδίου νόμου του Υπουργείου Δικαιοσύνης: “Καταπολέμηση της εμπορίας ανθρώπων, των εγκλημάτων κατά της γενετήσιας ελευθερίας, της πορνογραφίας ανηλίκων και γενικότερα της οικονομικής εκμετάλλευσης της γενετήσιας ζωής και αρωγή στα θύματα των πράξεων αυτών” (2 Οκτωβρίου 2002):

    “Για το νομοσχέδιο αυτό συζητήσαμε με οργανισμούς, με οργανώσεις και με μεμονωμένα άτομα και ιδρύματα όπως το ίδρυμα Μαραγκοπούλου, το Ελληνικό Παρατηρητήριο των Συμφωνιών του Ελσίνκι και με την Ευρωβουλευτή του ΠΑΣΟΚ Άννα Καραμάνου, η οποία είναι Πρόεδρος της Επιτροπής Δικαιωμάτων των Γυναικών και Ίσων Ευκαιριών. Όλα τα πρόσωπα και οι φορείς είναι ευαισθητοποιημένοι σε αυτό το θέμα.”

  2. Η Καθηγήτρια του Αριστοτέλειου Πανεπιστημίου Θεσσαλονίκης (ΑΠΘ) Ζωή Παπασιώπη-Πασιά το 2008, στη μελέτη της “Tο νομικό καθεστώς για τις αλλοδαπές γυναίκες – θύματα εκμετάλλευσης και παράνομης διεθνούς διακίνησης”, έγραψε:

    “Ειδικά για το ΕΠΣΕ θα πρέπει να τονισθεί το ιδιαίτερο βάρος που παίζει με την προβολή υποθέσεων trafficking μέσω της πλούσιας ιστοσελίδας του , καθώς επίσης και για την μαχητικότητα που επιδεικνύει, όσο κι αν αυτή φαίνεται σκληρή, γύρω από το φαινόμενο της εμπορίας ανθρώπων στη χώρα μας… Πρέπει να επισημανθεί και η ιστοσελίδα του Ελληνικού Παρατηρητηρίου των Συμφωνιών του Ελσίνκι στην οποία δημοσιεύονται ειδικότερα προβλήματα που άπτονται της εμπορίας ανθρώπων και τα οποία αφορούν κυρίως στην πρακτική εφαρμογή του υπάρχοντος νομοθετικού πλαισίου, όπως και σε υποθέσεις που απασχολούν τη δικαιοσύνη και τη διοίκηση και οι οποίες βρίσκονται σε εκκρεμότητα. Πρόκειται για μία μαχητική ιστοσελίδα που μέσα από πολύ αυστηρή κριτική και κάποιες φορές ίσως ακραίες θέσεις, λέει αλήθειες.”

  3. Το Ελληνικό Ίδρυμα Ευρωπαϊκής και Εξωτερικής Πολιτικής (ΕΛΙΑΜΕΠ)  στην έκθεση του 2008 για τη νομολογία των ελληνικών υποθέσεων στο ΕΔΔΑ (όπου το ΕΠΣΕ έχει μέχρι σήμερα κερδίσει δεκάδες προσφυγές κατά της Ελλάδας) “Supranational rights litigation, implementation and the domestic impact of Strasbourg Court jurisprudence: A case study of Greece” by Dia Anagnostou and Evangelia Psychogiopoulou (ELIAMEP, Report prepared for the JURISTRAS project funded by the European Commission) αναφέρει: 

    Η απουσία ή/και η περιορισμένη παρουσία σημαντικών ΜΚΟ ανθρωπίνων δικαιωμάτων με αξιοσημείωτη και επιδραστική δραστηριότητα υπεράσπισης των ανθρώπινων δικαιωμάτων είναι χαρακτηριστική της σχετικά υπανάπτυκτης και κακο-οργανωμένης κοινωνίας των πολιτών της Ελλάδας στο σύνολό της. Ακόμη λιγότερες οργανώσεις στην Ελλάδα επικεντρώνονται στη νομική δράση ως μέσο επιδίωξης στόχων δημόσιας πολιτικής και νομικής μεταρρύθμισης. Μερική εξαίρεση από αυτή την άποψη είναι το Ελληνικό Παρατηρητήριο των Συμφωνιών του Ελσίνκι … που προωθεί τις αρχές των ανθρώπινων δικαιωμάτων στις χώρες του ΟΑΣΕ. Τα τελευταία χρόνια, προσανατολίζει όλο και περισσότερο τις προτεραιότητές του και τους πόρους του για την ανάπτυξη δραστηριοτήτων που σχετίζονται με δικαστικές προσφυγές στο ΕΔΔΑ και παρέχει υποστήριξη σε υποψήφιους διαδίκους και πιλοτικές υποθέσεις ως μέρος της ευρύτερης πολιτικής στρατηγικής του για την πίεση της ελληνικής κυβέρνησης.

  4. Πολύ πρόσφατα, στις 9 Απριλίου 2020, δημοσιοποιήθηκε η “Έκθεση προς την ελληνική κυβέρνηση σχετικά με την επίσκεψη στην Ελλάδα που πραγματοποιήθηκε από την Ευρωπαϊκή Επιτροπή για την Πρόληψη των Βασανιστηρίων και της Απάνθρωπης ή Ταπεινωτικής Μεταχείρισης ή Τιμωρίας (CPT) μεταξύ 28 Μαρτίου – 9 Απριλίου 2019” όπου η Επιτροπή αναφέρει στο τέλος:

    Κατάλογος των εθνικών αρχών, άλλων φορέων και μη κυβερνητικών και άλλων οργανώσεων με τις οποίες πραγματοποιήθηκε διαβούλευση με την αντιπροσωπεία της CPT

    Μη κυβερνητικές … οργανώσεις

    Ελληνικό Παρατηρητήριο των Συμφωνιών του Ελσίνκι
    Ελληνική Δράση για τα Ανθρώπινα Δικαιώματα
    Ελληνική Ένωση για τα Ανθρώπινα Δικαιώματα

  5. Τέλος, την ίδια ημέρα που έκανε τις δηλώσεις του ο Κώστας Κοντογεώργος δημοσιευόταν εγκύκλιος της Εισαγγελίας του Αρείου Πάγου για τη συμμόρφωση της ελληνικής δικαιοσύνης με την καταδικαστική απόφαση του Ευρωπαϊκού Δικαστηρίου Δικαιωμάτων του Ανθρώπου (ΕΔΔΑ) της 18 Ιουλίου 2019 μετά από προσφυγή του ΕΠΣΕ σε υπόθεση εμπορίας ανθρώπων για σεξουαλική εκμετάλλευση (Τ.Ι. και άλλες κατά Ελλάδας).

Όπως προαναφέρθηκε, οι δηλώσεις του βουλευτή βρίθουν από ψεύδη:

  1. Η μηνυτήρια αναφορά δεν έγινε (μόνο) για τη χρήση του όρου “λαθρομετανάστες” αλλά γιατί “στιγμάτιζαν τους μετανάστες και πρόσφυγες ως εν δυνάμει φορείς κορονοϊού και “λαθρομετανάστες”, όπως ρατσιστικά τους ονομάζουν, που θα είναι υπεύθυνοι για αύξηση ανεργίας και απαξίωση του νομού και του τουρισμού πλήττοντας την οικονομία και την κοινωνία του νομού.” 
  2. Ο ισχυρισμός του πως δεν υπάρχει εγκύκλιος της Εισαγγελίας του Αρείου Πάγου πως ο όρος “λαθρομετανάστης” είναι μειωτικός για τους μετανάστες διαψεύδεται από την ίδια τη μηνυτήρια αναφορά που παραπέμπει στη σχετική εγκύκλιο της 26 Ιουλίου 2018.
  3. Συκοφαντεί το ΕΠΣΕ πως είναι μόνο μια “ταμπέλα κάπου στην Αθήνα.” Ήδη αναφέρθηκε παραπάνω ποιος είναι ο Παναγιώτης Δημητράς και τι είναι το ΕΠΣΕ. Μια και του βουλευτή της ΝΔ του αρέσουν οι ταμπέλες, ας δει στις φωτογραφίες μιαν ταμπέλα του ΕΠΣΕ μπροστά από τον Παναγιώτη Δημητρά, κάπου στο Στρασβούργο όμως, όταν ενημερώνει στις 26 Νοεμβρίου 2019 την Επιτροπή Υπουργών του Συμβουλίου της Ευρώπης για την εκτέλεση από την Ελλάδα καταδικαστικών αποφάσεων του ΕΔΔΑ για τα ρατσιστικά εγκλήματα, υπόθεση για την οποία η ελληνική κυβέρνηση της ΝΔ παρουσίασε την πρόοδο που σημειώνεται χάρη σε μερικές εκατοντάδες μηνύσεις για ρατσιστικά εγκλήματα που έχουν υποβληθεί, από τις οποίες το 90% είχαν υποβληθεί από το ΕΠΣΕ
  4. Ο χαρακτηρισμός του έργου αυτού του ΕΠΣΕ ως “ταλαιπωρία της ελληνικής δικαιοσύνης με σχεδόν 3000 προσφυγές κατά πάντων” και η ερώτηση “πόσο ακόμη θα τον ανεχόμαστε να απασχολεί την ελληνική δικαιοσύνη με τις έωλες αναφορές του” δεν είναι πρωτότυπες, αφού τις έχουν διατυπώσει εκατοντάδες φορές οι εχθροί των ανθρώπινων δικαιωμάτων ή/και οι συντάκτες ρατσιστικών κειμένων ή δηλώσεων που όταν δεν μπορούν να απαντήσουν, απλώς θα συκοφαντήσουν.

Κώστας Κοντογεώργος: Ποιός είναι ο κ.Δημητράς;

“Δεν επιτρέπω σε κανέναν να μου στερεί το δικαίωμα της ελευθερίας της έκφρασης, της γνώμης και της θέσης σε σοβαρά θέματα που απασχολούν την ελληνική κοινωνία και εν τω προκειμένω τους συμπατριώτες μου Ευρυτάνες…”FM-1 ο βουλευτής Ευρυτανίας Κώστας Κοντογεώργος απαντώντας στον Εκπρόσωπο του Ελληνικού Παρατηρητηρίου των Συμφωνιών του Ελσίνκι Παναγιώτη Δημητρά.

Όπως είναι γνωστό την περασμένη εβδομάδα ο κ.Κοντογεώργος, ο αντιπεριφερειάρχης Ευρυτανίας Αρης Τασιός, ο Δήμαρχος Καρπενησίου και πρόεδρος της ΠΕΔ Στερεάς Νίκος Σουλιώτης μαζί με εκπροσώπους επαγγελματικών και άλλων φορέων του Καρπενησίου , πραγματοποίησαν συγκέντρωση διαμαρτυρίας στην σήραγγα Τυμφρηστού μετά από πληροφορίες που είχαν ότι επίκειται η μεταφορά σε ξενοδοχειακές μονάδες του Καρπενησίου 300 περίπου προσφύγων και μεταναστών.

Ο κ.Κοντογεώργος μάλιστα απέστειλε επιστολή στην κυβέρνηση όπου χαρακτήριζε τους πρόσφυγες και μετανάστες ως “λαθρομετανάστες”.

Αυτό προκάλεσε την αντίδραση του κ.Δημητρά ο οποίος απέστειλε στην Αστυνομική Διεύθυνση Ευρυτανίας μηνυτήρια αναφορά κατά του βουλευτή και των δύο αυτοδιοικητικών, επικαλούμενος απόφαση ανωτάτου δικαστηρίου της χώρας ότι η έκφραση αυτή εμπεριέχει ρατσιστικό χαρακτηρισμό.

“Καμιά τέτοια απόφαση δεν υπάρχει και ο κ.Δημητράς ας μας αποδείξει τι ακριβώς εκπροσωπεί γιατί από ότι γνωρίζω έχει μόνο μια ταμπέλα κάπου στην Αθήνα ενώ έχει ταλαιπωρήσει την ελληνική δικαιοσύνη με σχεδόν 3000 προσφυγές κατά πάντων, πόσο ακόμη θα τον ανεχόμαστε να απασχολεί την ελληνική δικαιοσύνη με τις έωλες αναφορές του.

Γνωρίζω καλά τι λέω και προσέχω τις εκφράσεις μου, γνωρίζω επίσης καλά την ελληνική γλώσσα και έχω πλήρη επίγνωση των ευνοιών της, στην Ευρυτανία δεν θα περάσει κανένας επαναλαμβάνω λαθρομετανάστης,δηλαδή άνθρωπος που εισήλθε παράνομα,λαθραία στην χώρα μας”.

 

 

 

 

Sakir group v. Greece (Committee of Ministers Decision and Notes)

MINISTERS’ DEPUTIES Decisions CM/Del/Dec(2019)1362/H46-10 5 December 2019
https://search.coe.int/cm/Pages/result_details.aspx?ObjectID=090000168098f8fe
1362nd meeting, 3-5 December 2019 (DH)

H46-10 Sakir group v. Greece (Application No. 48475/09)

Supervision of the execution of the European Court’s judgments

Reference document

CM/Notes/1362/H46-10

 

Decisions

The Deputies

  1. recalled that this group of cases concerns the authorities’ failure to carry out effective investigations into assaults against migrants, including into possible racist motives;

As regards individual measures

  1. recalling that according to the Court’s case-law the respondent State’s obligation to carry out effective investigations, including into possible racist motives of a violent act, is one of means, not of result;
  2. as regards the Sakir case, noted that, after the Court’s judgment, the investigation into the assault against the applicant was reopened; noted furthermore that as the applicant’s whereabouts could not be established and the authorities could not receive his testimony about the assault, the case was not pursued further by the authorities; invited the authorities to provide further information as to other investigative steps that may be taken, in particular the summoning and questioning of other witnesses, to fill the gaps in the investigation that were identified by the Court;
  3. as regards the Gjikondi case, noted that in compliance with the ne bis in idem principle, as enshrined in the Convention, Greek criminal law does not allow the reopening of a case following a defendant’s acquittal, save under very specific circumstances which are not present in this case; noted therefore that it is not possible to reopen the investigation and that no further individual measure appears to be feasible; decided to close the examination of this case and adopted Final Resolution CM/ResDH(2019)366;

As regards general measures

  1. welcomed the authorities’ determination and continuing efforts, reflected in the wide range of measures taken, to combat hate crime, in particular the specialisation of police and prosecutors and the methodological guidance provided by the Court of Cassation Prosecutor to the country’s prosecutors;
  2. in this regard, encouraged the Greek authorities to continue training prosecutors and judges on human rights protection and on the application of the legislation on hate-motivated offences, in order to ensure the sustainability of the progress achieved, possibly drawing on the Council of Europe’s expertise in this area;
  3. noted furthermore with interest the positive conclusions of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) in 2018 regarding the implementation by the Greek authorities of its recommendation that the question of racist motivation in cases of violent incidents is made an integral part of investigations and judicial proceedings from the outset;
  1. having regard to the official statistics provided, invited the authorities to submit more detailed and updated statistical data concerning racist violence, including information on the results achieved in this area;
  2. decided to continue the supervision of the Sakir case under the standard procedure.

 

MINISTERS’ DEPUTIES Notes on the Agenda CM/Notes/1362/H46-10 5 December 2019
https://search.coe.int/cm/Pages/result_details.aspx?ObjectID=090000168098cffc
1362nd meeting, 3-5 December 2019 (DH)

Human rights

H46-10 Sakir group v. Greece (Application No. 48475/09)

Supervision of the execution of the European Court’s judgments

Reference documents

DH-DD(2019)1115CM/Del/Dec(2017)1302/H46-12

 

Application Case Judgment of Final on Indicator for the classification
48475/09 SAKIR 24/03/2016 24/06/2016 Complex problem
17249/10 GJIKONDI AND OTHERS 21/12/2017 21/03/2018

Case description

This group of cases concerns the breach by the authorities of their obligation under the Convention to conduct an effective investigation into violent assaults on migrants which resulted in injury (Sakir) or death (Gjikondi and others). In particular, the Court found that the authorities failed to investigate possible racist motives for these assaults.

In Sakir, the Court found that the police had not sought to determine whether the medical condition of the applicant, following his assault by unidentified persons in Athens in 2009 and his hospitalisation, was compatible with detention pending deportation (substantive violation of Article 3). The Court also found that there was no effective remedy for the applicant to complain about conditions of detention (violation of Article 13). It also identified shortcomings in the conduct of the investigation into his assault, notably as regards the gathering and assessment by the authorities of relevant evidence. It further noted that although the assault had the characteristics of racial bias, the police and the judicial authorities treated the case as an isolated one, notwithstanding that international NGOs and national human rights bodies had warned of the phenomenon of racist violence, in particular in Athens, by extremist groups often linked to the political party “Golden Dawn” (procedural violation of Article 3).

In Gjikondi, the Court considered that the authorities failed to carry out an effective investigation into the fatal assault, perpetrated by an unidentified individual in 2004. In particular, it held that the authorities had not dealt with the case with the necessary diligence, had failed to involve the applicants to the extent required in the relevant investigation, and had not examined the issue of a possible racist motive for the assault (procedural violation of Article 2).

Status of execution

The issues concerning conditions of detention in police stations and the lack of an effective remedy (violations of Articles 3 and 13) were examined in the Siasios group of cases, which was closed by Final Resolution CM/ResDH(2018)224.

Information was provided on 15 June 2017 (SakirDH-DD(2017)702) and on 6 December 2018 (GjikondiDH-DD(2018)1230). A joint Action Report was submitted on 4 October 2019 (DH-DD(2019)1115), which can be summarised as follows:

Individual measures

Sakir case

In response to the Court’s judgment, on 28 November 2016 the applicant’s case was assigned anew to a Prosecutor of the Athens First Instance Court who immediately ordered the competent police director to initiate a fresh preliminary investigation into the assault on the applicant. In this context, the applicant was summoned as a witness. However, he was no longer to be found at his recorded address, and was no longer in contact with his appointed lawyers. As a result, the prosecutor shelved the case. The authorities indicated that in view of these circumstances, as well as the time that has elapsed since the facts of the case, the reopening of the proceedings does not seem possible.

Gjikondi

The authorities noted that the Court found that investigation into the death of the applicants’ relative was ineffective for the following reasons: a) the pre-trial investigation was excessively lengthy, possibly compromising its effectiveness; b) the victim’s relatives were not involved in the investigation and the judicial proceedings; and c) the authorities did not investigate whether the defendant (I.L.) had had a racist motivation. The authorities noted that all these shortcomings concerned the acts alleged to have been perpetrated by I.L., who was acquitted by a final judgment. Under domestic law, a case can be re-opened following acquittal only in specific circumstances, in particular where it is established that the judgment was the result of falsified evidence or breach of duty by a judge. Since these conditions are not fulfilled in the Gjikondi case, and taking into account the fact that 14 years have elapsed since the fatal incident, the authorities consider that no individual measure is necessary.

General measures

In response to the European Court’s judgments the authorities have taken a number of measures to prevent similar violations (for more details see CM/Notes/1302/H46-12).

Legislative measures

Article 21 of Law No. 4356/2015 modified the definition of hate crime under Article 81A of the Criminal Code, abolishing the prerequisite that the perpetrator felt hate for the victim because of his/her race, colour, religion, etc. The selection of the victim by the offender on the basis of his/her characteristics (race, colour, religion, descent, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, gender or disability) is sufficient to characterise the crime as a hate-motivated one.

Furthermore, Article 82A of the Criminal Code provides for enhanced penalties for hate crimes.

The authorities also indicated that victims of racist violence as well as witnesses of racist motivated incidents can be granted residence permits. Victims may also receive compensation under the relevant legislation.

Also Law No. 4478/2017 transposed Directive 2012/29/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime.

Specialisation of police and prosecutors investigating hate crime

Two departments specialised in the fight against racist violence have been established within the Hellenic Police, one in the Athens and one in the Thessaloniki police directorates, with the aim of investigating racist crimes. Overall, 68 offices (5 in Athens and 63 at regional level) are tasked with the same mission. Police authorities also keep records of the number of cases reported that present characteristics of racist acts.

Special Public Prosecutors for racist violence have been appointed in Athens, Thessaloniki, Patras and Heraklion. A 24-hour hotline and an online platform have been set up for the reporting of potentially racist acts.

Policy-making and capacity-building to combat hate crime

Law No. 4356/2015 established the National Council against Racism and Intolerance, an advisory inter-ministerial body tasked with developing policies against racism and promoting initiatives aimed at protecting individuals and groups against hate crime.

A working group consisting of representatives of all relevant stake-holders in this field has been established within the Ministry of Justice for the purpose of collecting and consolidating data on racist incidents.

Awareness-raising measures

In December 2018 the Prosecutor of the Court of Cassation issued a circular addressed to all prosecutors reminding them of the obligations stemming from the Convention and the Greek Constitution and inviting them to investigate the motives of each violent act and to display appropriate severity when responding to racially motivated acts of violence.

The Ministry of Justice is cooperating closely with the Council of Europe and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in combating racist violence. In this context, in June 2015 it organised a seminar in Athens on hate speech where the report of the European Committee against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) on Greece was presented.

Statistical data

Between 2015 and 2018, 615 racially motivated incidents were reported to the police authorities (84 in 2015, 100 in 2016, 184 in 2017 and 247 in 2018). 174 cases were reported during the first semester of 2019.

Between 2015 and 2017, criminal charges were brought in 127 cases (32 in 2015, 40 in 2016 and 55 in 2017). Between 2015 and 2017, in 19 cases the perpetrators were convicted, while in four cases they were acquitted.

The authorities indicated that the above-mentioned data, collected by the police and prosecutors, are based on a 12-month plan and require careful analysis and processing. For this reason, the relevant data for 2018 are not yet available.

Furthermore, 216 criminal investigations into hate crime cases are currently pending before prosecutors at Regional Courts and four before Courts of Appeal.

The authorities referred to a judgment of the Athens Criminal Court of Appeal (No. 286/2019) concerning the racially motivated murder of a Pakistani national. The two offenders were found guilty and each of them was sentenced to 21 years and five months’ imprisonment. Both in this judgment as well as in judgment No. 19488/2017 of the Thessaloniki Criminal Court (defendants convicted of religiously motivated insult and given suspended prison sentences), the courts took into account the defendants’ racist motives as aggravating circumstances when passing sentence. In the former case the assassinated victim’s parents were informed about the proceedings and his father took part in the proceedings before the appeal court.

The authorities further referred to a judgment of the Athens Criminal Court (No. 1667/2018) convicting a person for racist remarks against migrants who lived in the same Athens area as the applicant in the Sakir case.

Rule 9 § 2 submission

On 21 October 2019, the Committee received a communication[1] from the Greek Helsinki Monitor (GHM) where reference was made to the UN Committee on the elimination of racial discrimination ’s concluding observations on Greece (2016) where, although it welcomed “the information provided on the increased application of the anti-racist legislation”, it expressed concern about “the still low invocation and application of anti-racism legal provisions and the low rate of convictions in courts”.[2] The GHM drew further the Committee’s attention to the fact that criminal charges were only brought in a few of these cases. GHM noted with concern that the prosecutors for racist crimes are not specialised and they serve in the relevant post only for a short period of time.

As representative of the applicants in the Gjikondi case, GHM indicated that the possibility of annulling a domestic court’s judgment “for the benefit of the law”, upon request of the Court of Cassation Prosecutor, should be explored. GHM further recommended that in cases where reopening is not possible on account of prescription, the authorities should consider issuing a written apology, as an avenue for providing full redress to victims.

Replying to the GHM submission[3], the authorities noted that the possibility for the Prosecutor of the Court of Cassation to ask for an appeal pro lege is provided as a special remedy to ensure that the law is correctly applied. It cannot lead to the re-examination of a case on its merits and therefore would not be of any concrete benefit to the applicant. It therefore cannot serve any purpose as an individual measure. The authorities indicated that, according to ECRI’s 2018 conclusions on the implementation of its recommendations, Greece has taken important positive steps towards combatting racism and intolerance. Furthermore, ECRI considered as implemented its priority recommendation regarding training for police, judges and prosecutors on the application of Article 81A of the Criminal Code on hate-motivated offences.

Analysis by the Secretariat

Individual measures

Sakir case

As noted above, although the case was reopened, it was subsequently shelved when the applicant could no longer be traced.

It is relevant to recall, however, that the European Court, in finding that the investigation in the present case was not carried out with the requisite diligence and effectiveness, was critical of the following aspects:

(a)      the fact that there had been at least one eye-witness (A.K.), who was never summoned for questioning (§ 67);

(b)      that the police ought to have questioned the first eye-witness (A.S.) – who retracted his initial statement identifying two known individuals as the main perpetrators of the attack – in conditions that could guarantee the reliability and veracity of any information he was able to give. The Court also noted that A.S. was not questioned at any point about the reasons for changing his testimony in the space of a few hours (§ 68);

(c)      regarding the two individuals identified, the Court further noted that the judicial authorities took no steps, such as summoning them, in order to re-examine their role in the incident (§ 69).

It is recalled in this respect that, when it comes to fresh investigations following a judgment of the European Court finding shortcomings in the initial investigations, it is essential for the authorities, in particular the competent public prosecutors, to assess, in compliance with Convention standards:

– which investigatory steps can still be taken,

– which investigatory steps can no longer be taken for practical or legal reasons,

– which means can be deployed to overcome existing obstacles, and

– which concrete results are expected to be achieved and within which timeframe.

In view of the above, the Committee might wish to note the closing of the case by the prosecutor without attempting to fill the gaps in the investigation identified by the Court, and to invite the authorities to provide information on the outstanding issues listed above (a, b, c) concerning the reopening of the investigation into this case.

Gjikondi case

It is recalled that in this case the European Court noted that the length of the preliminary phase might well have jeopardised the effectiveness of the investigation, despite the diligence subsequently displayed by the Assize Court. In addition, it criticised the insufficient involvement of the applicants in the relevant investigation, as well as the authorities’ failure to examine the question of the existence of a racist motive. All these shortcomings are connected with the procedure followed, which led to the acquittal of the alleged perpetrator. However, Greek criminal law does not allow re-opening of a case following a defendant’s acquittal in compliance with the ne bis in idem principle, save under very specific circumstances which are not present in this case. The Committee may thus wish to note, in view of the above, that it is not possible to reopen the investigation and that no further individual measure appears to be feasible.

General measures

The wide-ranging measures that the authorities have taken to combat hate crime represent a very positive step. In particular, the specialisation of police and prosecutors and the methodological guidance provided to prosecutors by the Prosecutor of the Court of Cassation demonstrate the authorities’ determination to address and prevent hate crime. The Committee might therefore wish to welcome the continuing efforts and determination shown by the authorities. The Committee might further wish to encourage the authorities to continue training of prosecutors and judges on human rights protection and the application of the legislation on hate motivated offences, in order to ensure the sustainability of the progress achieved, possibly drawing on the Council of Europe’s expertise in this area.

However, the execution of the current group of cases requires coordinated action, targeted long-term efforts and firm commitment on the part of all competent authorities so that clear and tangible progress is achieved and proven by data. In this context, it is noted that in its 2019 Concluding Observations on Greece,[4] UN Committee Against Torture, while acknowledging the legislative and other measures taken by Greece to tackle hate crime, noted that it was concerned “by reports it has received reflecting an increase in the incidence of racist and xenophobic violence, especially against refugees, migrants and members of the Roma[5] community, and a significant rise in the number of incidents where law enforcement officials have been the perpetrators or have otherwise been involved. The Committee is also concerned at reports of widespread impunity for such crimes”.

Statistical data

The data provided by the authorities indicate a continuous rise in the number of reported incidents of racially motivated violence between 2015 and 2018. Compared to the total of 615 incidents, the data provided by the authorities reveal that the criminal charges (127 in total) and especially the convictions (19 in total) that took place in 2015-2017 are low. The two conviction judgments of 2017 and 2019 described above (status of execution) are significant. However, this does not allow an overall assessment of the progress made, since no similar, qualitative information has been provided on the other 17 convictions in the period 2015-2017, and no information has been provided on the years 2018-2019. A more in-depth, qualitative analysis is necessary, in order to assess the effectiveness of the measures adopted to date.

The Committee might therefore wish to invite the authorities to provide more detailed, updated statistical data, concerning racist violence, including information on the results achieved in this area.

Financing assured: YES

[1] See document DH-DD(2019)1234.

[2] Issued on 03/10/2016, §14.

[3] See document DH-DD(2019)1234.

[4] CRI(2018), issued on 03/09/2019, §46.

[5] The term “Roma and Travellers” is used at the Council of Europe to encompass the wide diversity of the groups covered by the work of the Council of Europe in this field: on the one hand a) Roma, Sinti/Manush, Calé, Kaale, Romanichals, Boyash/Rudari; b) Balkan Egyptians (Egyptians and Ashkali); c) Eastern groups (Dom, Lom and Abdal); and, on the other hand, groups such as Travellers, Yenish, and the populations designated under the administrative term “Gens du voyage”, as well as persons who identify themselves as Gypsies. The present is an explanatory footnote, not a definition of Roma and/or Travellers.

Briefing Committee of Ministers on SAKIR GROUP v GREECE and HOUSE of MACEDONIAN CIVILIZATION AND OTHERS v GREECE


SAKIR GROUP v GREECE (48475/09), and
HOUSE of MACEDONIAN CIVILIZATION AND OTHERS v GREECE (1295/10)

by Panayote Dimitras, Greek Helsinki Monitor and EIN Board member

 

On 22nd November 2019, EIN held its quarterly civil society briefing, ahead of the 1362nd CM-DH meeting. Over 40 participants attended the briefing, including participants from 29 Permanent Representations to the Council of Europe, the EU representation to the Council of Europe, the office of the Commissioner for Human Rights and other CoE staff members. The main recommendations on the cases are available here.

 

The first case concerns ineffective investigations into alleged hate crimes. Mr Dimitras called upon the CM to ask Greece to amend its anti-racism Law 927/79, so as to implement the recommendations of ECRI, UN HRCttee and UN CERD to criminalize racist insults and defamation, as well as the public dissemination, public distribution, production or storage of racist material.

 

The House of Macedonian Civilization case is about the non-registration by courts of an association, contrary to the Court’s 1998 judgment concerning the same association. On behalf of the House of Macedonian Civilization, Mr Dimitras urged the Committee of Ministers to join the House of Macedonian Civilization and the Bekir-Ousta group of cases.

 

Links:

Briefing text on the Sakir group, by Panayote Dimitras, Greek Helsinki Monitor (GHM)

Rule 9.1. and 9.2. on the Sakir group, by the Greek Helsinki Monitor (October 2019)

Briefing text on the House of Macedonian Civilization and others, by Panayote Dimitras

Rule 9.1 on the House of Macedonian Civilization and others, by the Greek Helsinki Monitor (October 2019)

27/09/2018: Greek Helsinki Monitor involved in five out of nine European Court cases under enhanced supervision

After its regular September 2018 meeting, the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers – Deputies (CM) published on 27 September 2018 the current list of group of cases of European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) judgments under enhanced supervision. Nine concerned Greece (see table below): in five of them Greek Helsinki Monitor (GHM) has been involved representing the applicants before the ECtHR and/or submitting communications to the CMBekir-Ousta and others (communications to the CM), House of Macedonian Civilization (application and communications to the CM), M.S.S. group (third party intervention in M.S.S.), Makaratzis group (applications in nine out of twelve cases and communications to the CM), and Sakir (application in one of the two cases in the group – Gjikondi and others).

coe cm enhamced supervision 28-9-2018 greece