THE OWNER of a bar in the municipality of Spišské Vlachy (in the Spišská Nová Ves district) discriminated against a Roma couple when he refused to serve them in his bar and asked them to leave, according to a court ruling. The Spišská Nová Ves District Court decided the couple should be compensated for the discrimination with €300 each.

The incident occurred in December 2009. Roman Pecha, who then worked as teacher assistant, was asked to leave the bar, with the owner reasoning along the lines that if he serves two Roma, in a week 10 Roma would come to the bar.

The court first ruled on the case in 2012, when it decided that Pecha and his wife were discriminated against due to their ethnic origin. The court then ordered the bar owner to publicly apologise, by displaying the apology in writing in the bar as well as publishing it as classified ad in the regional newspaper. No damages were awarded to the Roma couple, however.

In May 2013, the Prešov Regional Court returned the ruling to the court of first instance, ordering it to award damages to the victims of discrimination.

In the recent repeated ruling from May 2014, the district court ordered the bar owner to pay €300 to each of the two persons it discriminated against, arguing that by his conduct, the bar owner interfered with their human dignity.

Lawyer Vanda Durbáková, who represented the Roma couple, welcomes the fact that damages were finally awarded to the couple, but with regard to the international standards, the sum of the damages appears insufficient, she said.

“Financial damages in discrimination cases should not only compensate the discriminated persons, but also have a preventive effect and discourage other subjects from discriminatory behaviour in the future,” Durbáková said.

Pecha and his wife received the verdict five years after the event occurred. He required damage compensation at €1,000. He is now ready to appeal against the sum the court granted him.

In a similar case of Roma from Michalovce, discrimination was found, but no damage compensation was approved, the Sme daily noted.

Source: Center for Civil and Human Rights, Sme

Compiled by Michaela Terenzani from press reports.
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