At today's hearing, the Košice II District Court again - for the third time - acquitted the police officers accused of abusing Roma boys at a police station in Košice in March 2009. According to the court, neither the additional evidence proved that the incident took place as alleged by the indictment of the prosecution.
The District Court decided on the case for the third time. It already acquitted the police officers accused of violence against Roma boys in 2015 and 2017. However, the appeal court quashed both of its previous decisions while stating that the proceedings at district level were incomplete and that further evidence must be performed in order to complete the findings of facts and clarify any ambiguities. At the same time it also ordered the District Court to demonstrate as an evidence a video-sound recording that captures a part of the violent incident.
At today's main hearing, the District Court demonstrated the given recording. But despite of that it again acquitted the accused police officers stating that even additional evidence has not unequivocally proved that the incident took place as alleged by the indictment of the prosecution. The District Court again pointed at the alleged contradictions in the testimonies of the aggrieved Roma boys that, in its opinion, were not removed by the evidence.
Center for Civil and Human Rights (Poradna) - Slovakia based NGO - provides ongoing free legal assistance the affected Roma boys. Vanda Durbáková, an attorney working with Poradna and legal representative of the boys reacted:
"I find today's court decision unjust. In my view, the evidence that has been performed before the court was - in their joint connections – sufficient to condemn the defendants. It is paradoxical that people can clearly see the violence that the aggrieved Roma experienced during their detention at the police station on the existing video recording. But for almost 10 years, the state authorities, including domestic courts were unable to condemn perpetrators for the wrongdoing that is unacceptable in democratic society."
The decision of the Košice II District Court is not final. The prosecutor is going to appeal the verdict.
We issued a press release about the given court`s decision.
More detailed information about this case are available here.