Understanding Racist Crimes
What is a Racist Crime?
Racist crimes, also known as crimes with racist characteristics, are acts committed because of a person's race, colour, national or ethnic origin, descent, religion, disability, sexual orientation, identity, or gender characteristics. These crimes encompass a wide range of offences punishable under criminal law, including violence, threats, vandalism, property damage, bodily harm, and even murder.
Racist crimes can target individuals or groups based on perceived characteristics and may also affect individuals or legal entities associated with these groups, such as human rights defenders and journalists. Examples include the destruction of monuments and the desecration of places of worship.
In cases where a crime is committed with a racist motive, harsher penalties apply to the perpetrators.
Incitement to Violence: A Serious Offense
Public incitement to violence based on characteristics such as race, color, religion, descent, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or other identifiable traits is illegal. This includes any intentional, public promotion of actions that may lead to discrimination, hatred, or violence against individuals or groups. Such incitement must also threaten public order or the safety of those affected.
Identifying Racist Motives
Identifying the racist motive behind a crime can be challenging. Therefore, any indications may prove helpful, including:
- Comments, written statements (through press or online), gestures, or graffiti related to the victim's characteristics.
- The choice of place and time of the crime, especially if it occurs near a place of worship or on a day of religious celebration.
- Symbols or objects associated with racist ideologies.
- The perception of the victim or witness regarding the motive of the attack.
- The racial, religious, or ethnic identity of both perpetrators and victims.
- The execution method and methodology used during the attack (individual or organized, location, severity, etc.).
- Previous attacks with a racist motive, especially in property damage cases (e.g., attacks on refugee accommodation structures).
It's important to note that these indications don't necessarily prove that an incident was a crime with racist characteristics. Proof of a racist motive can only be established after a thorough investigation and confirmation by the court.
Know Your Rights
What to Do if You Witness or Experience Racist Violence
If you witness or are a victim of racist violence, take the following steps:
- Contact the Police: Dial 100. Deaf and hard of hearing individuals can send a free text message (SMS) to 100, mentioning "Deaf."
- Seek Medical Care: Call 166 (National Centre for Emergency Assistance, EKAV) or visit the nearest hospital's emergency unit if you require medical attention. Inform the medical staff that you've experienced racist violence and request a medical certificate after treatment. It can serve as evidence. Document injuries with photos and collect any potential evidence.
- Consider Reporting: If you're hesitant to report directly to the police, contact organizations like
Racist Violence Service of Greek Police: Call at 11414. This 24-hour hotline offers anonymous and confidential reporting.
- Police Misconduct: If a police officer is a perpetrator, submit a telephone complaint to the Internal Affairs Service of the Police at 10301 or (+30) 2108779700
- Complaints Against Civil Servants: If violence involves a police, prison officer, or another civil servant or if the police fail to protect you, you can also file a report with the Ombudsman under the "National Mechanism for Investigating Arbitrary Cases in the Security Forces and the employees of the penitentiaries."
- Online Crimes: For crimes committed online, keep copies (screenshots) of illegal content and the perpetrator's profile URL. Contact the Cybercrime Division of Greek Police at 11188 or (+30) 210-6459569 or email email@example.com.
Your Rights as a Victim of Racist Violence
As a victim of racist violence, you have rights, including:
- Right to information about available support services, access to medical care, legal aid, interpretation, translation, and compensation.
- Right to obtain copies of your complaint.
- Right to legal representation, with free legal aid available for low-income people.
- Right to avoid contact with the perpetrator.
- Right to reasonable state compensation for various expenses.
- Possibility of obtaining a residence permit for humanitarian reasons.
- Protection from deportation if you're a victim or witness and have reported the incident to the police.
- Prohibition of discrimination against victims of crime, ensuring respectful and non-discriminatory treatment.
Resource and further information at the "Guide to the Rights of Victims of racist crime" published by the Greek Ministry of Justice.