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Download the full report - Human Rights Watch

However, even when the crime falls into the category that requires mandatory state action,

if the prosecutor is informed by an official complaint to the police, the person making the

complaint is required to pay the fee. 162 Nonetheless, senior prosecutors in the Athens

prosecutors office told Human Rights Watch that the fee only applied to crimes where the

state does not have the obligation to prosecute ex officio, and that in cases of doubt or

dispute the prosecutor would decide whether the fee is applicable or not. 163

Officials in the judiciary and the Ministry of Justice assured Human Rights Watch that crimes

where racist motivation is suspected would be prosecuted ex officio. 164 The Code of Criminal

Procedure does not, however, explicitly state that all offenses aggravated by racist

motivation give rise to mandatory prosecution regardless of the nature of the offense. 165

The officer we interviewed on condition of anonymity said that in practice he feels

obligated to ask all victims to pay.

The theory is good. But in practice, if 20 people come to file a complaint

against unknown perpetrators, it is a time-consuming procedure, ten

services are occupied with a complaint that has no sense, as it’s against

unknown perpetrators and you will never find them. You will send it to the

prosecutor, he will put the complaint in a drawer … they will look at it, they

will see the 100 Euros weren’t paid, they will say it’s invalid and bye-bye. 166

A different police officer said virtually the same thing when a Human Rights Watch

researcher assisted Razia Sharife, a victim of an attack whose case is detailed above, in

filing a complaint. The officer said the police were under orders not to accept complaints

162 Email communication from Dimitris Zimianitis, a senior Athens prosecutor, June 5, 2012. On file with Human Rights.

Exceptions to the requirement to pay the fee were introduced recently by Law 4055/2012; these include victims of domestic

violence, sexual exploitation and human trafficking, and public servants who are the victims of crimes in the course of their

duties. Victims of other crimes giving rise to mandatory state action with demonstrated need should be able to avail

themselves of legal aid. Ibid.

163 Human Rights Watch interview with Eleni Raikou, Athens First Instance Head Prosecutor, and George Kaloudis, First

Instance Deputy Prosecutor, Athens Prosecutor’s Office, Athens, December 8, 2011.

164 Human Rights Watch interviews with Eleni Raikou, Athens First Instance Head Prosecutor, Athens, December 8, 2011;

Human Rights Watch interview with Yiannis Ioannidis, state secretary for transparency and human rights, Ministry of Justice,

Athens, December 7, 2011.

165 Email communication from Dimitris Zimianitis, a senior Athens prosecutor, June 5, 2012. On file with Human Rights.

Watch.

166 Human Rights Watch interview with anonymous police officer, Greece, April 16, 2012.

HATE ON THE STREETS 82

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