March 20, 2011

V. Violence against Roma and Sinti

An estimated 150,000 Roma and Sinti live in Italy, roughly half of whom are Italian citizens, and a quarter of whom are from EU countries, in particular Romania. Although many Romanians living in Italy are not Roma, the two categories are often conflated in the media and public perception. Many Roma immigrated to Italy from the former Yugoslavia, with a significant influx during the 1990s. The term Sinti refers to a particular ethnic group considered to be part of the diverse European Roma population. Throughout this section we refer to the general category of Roma; this should be read as including all Sinti as well.

Roma are unquestionably the most marginalized and vilified minority group in Italy. The majority live in extreme poverty, many in deplorable conditions in authorized and unauthorized settlements.[167] Extreme prejudice against the Roma is widespread among the rest of the population, and anti-Roma and anti-Sinti sentiments are common currency in political discourse, the media, in everyday conversations, and even court judgments (see discussion below of the case of Angelica V. in Ponticelli, Naples). Casual use of the term “zingaro” (gypsy) in a pejorative manner, is common, and not infrequently accompanied by expletives.[168]  Discrimination against Roma is not a new phenomenon. However, public policies and political platforms have over the past several years increasingly targeted Roma as a threat to public order and security.

Many observers note that discrimination against Roma has significantly worsened since the October 2007 murder of Giovanna Reggiani by a Romanian man in Rome and the alleged kidnapping attempt of a baby by a teenaged Roma girl from Romania in May 2008 in Ponticelli, outside Naples (discussed in detail below). According to Graziano Halilovic, the founder of a new association called Roma Onlus,

There has been a grand campaign against the monsters, and in this case the monsters are us, Roma and Sinti. This means everyone feels like they have a duty to mistreat us, they feel justified. This creates tremendous psychological terror for Roma. Beyond what actually happens, there’s always the fear of what might happen.… There are slaps, mistreatment of women who ask for money in the streets. People say, “I wake up, I have to go about and I ask myself, what is going to happen to me today?” And then maybe they turn to someone for help and find the doors closed. There’s no Roma pride here. Dirty, bad, ugly, incapable—many Roma think that of themselves, because that’s the message they’ve received for years. [169]

All of the Roma interviewed in the course of our research said they routinely suffered verbal abuse, harassment, and humiliation at the hands of private citizens as well as law enforcement personnel, during forced evictions, camp raids, on the street, and at the time of an arrest. Venetù Halilovic, a Roma living in the Ciampino camp outside Rome, explained,

If a policeman stops you and sees that you’re Roma, he insults you. Mean stuff, calling you a thief. The police stop Roma kids on the street, and pretty soon the slaps are flying. Not all Roma are saints but there are many peaceable Roma, you know. The police should be the first to protect the most vulnerable, instead they do everything to humiliate us, and they have all the power. There’s a lot of mistreatment when they do identification operations in the camps. They tear everything down, but that’s home for a Roma, even if it is a shack.[170]

Our interviews, including with individuals who reported physical abuse, confirmed the view of NGOs representing or working with Roma that Roma are extremely reluctant to report discrimination or abuse of any type. There are various reasons for this, but the primary one is lack of trust in public institutions, accentuated in the case of Roma without a legal right to remain in Italy. “These are very fragile individuals, vulnerable to blackmail, they don’t denounce. Many don’t have papers and they’re scared. And none of us wants to make them report [abuse or discrimination] because we’re not able to protect them,” said Dijana Pavlovic, vice-president of Federazione Rom e Sinti Insieme, a federation of Roma and Sinti associations.  “The sense of terror is so instilled that they don’t trust anyone.”[171] Carlo Berini, the director of Sucar Drom, a Roma and Sinti rights organization, agreed, saying there is “a lot of mistrust in the community … and people are afraid of suffering retaliation.”[172] 

Much of the violence against Roma occurs in or around the camps in which they live. In May 2010, police and Carabinieri in riot gear prevented residents of a temporarily authorized camp in via Triboniano, in Milan, from marching on City Hall to protest the lack of progress in negotiations for alternative housing once the camp is dismantled. The residents believed, mistakenly, that the march had been authorized. Rioting ensued, with law enforcement officers firing tear gas into the camp and closing all exits for several hours.[173] Florea Vataflu, a 58-year-old Romanian Roma, told Human Rights Watch he was surrounded and beaten by Carabinieri agents for no reason.

I had stayed here, I didn’t want to go. The Carabinieri came into the camp with an armored car and started shooting tear gas, low.... I went outside to the electrical box to fix it and the Carabinieri got me, they hit me on the head, they surrounded me, I don’t know how many, they lifted up my arms and hit me on the arms, the back. They broke my hand.[174]

Vataflu was taken first to a Carabinieri station for six hours, he said, and only then taken to the hospital. He was diagnosed with a head concussion and a broken right hand, and certified as someone with a 35-day disability (the estimated time for proper healing). The Carabinieri have accused Vataflu of violently resisting the blockade and attacking an agent with a piece of a broken chair.[175] He denies all of these claims: “What strength did I have to hit someone with a broken hand?”[176] The Judge for Preliminary Investigations confirmed the charges, dismissing the argument that Vataflu was too old and frail to attack law enforcement personnel, with the reasoning that Vataflu acted out of a “lack of awareness of his less than optimal physical strength.”[177]

Angela, also a Romanian Roma, is the mother of a six-year-old girl lightly injured that day. She and other women and children were at the head of the crowd outside the camp, she said,

I was up front with her, but not to use her as a shield, like they said. What, am I crazy? Do I want my child to get beaten? … We had bottles of water, but for drinking, not to hit the police, like they said. We wanted to break [the line of police] and go, and they started hitting with their batons, they didn’t care that we were women and children. They hit my daughter on the left shoulder…I don’t know exactly who hit her. Am I supposed to go file a complaint against the Carabinieri? I’m not interested. A lot of people were hit, and no one has filed a complaint. I’m a foreigner here, and I don’t have any money.[178]

According to official figures, 25 law enforcement agents were injured. Milan deputy mayor Riccardo De Corato said that the “riot, organized by some one hundred Roma … who threw rocks at law enforcement personnel … demonstrates that the residents are still far from [having] a real will to integrate.” [179] The Triboniano camp, home to approximately 600 people, is scheduled for demolition by March 2011 to make way for a road that figures in the city’s plans in preparation for the 2015 World’s Fair. In September 2010, authorities backtracked on a well-advanced plan to accommodate 25 particularly needy families in public housing after vociferous protests from Northern League and People of Liberty (Prime Minister Berlusconi’s party) members of the Milan City Council. [180] Ten of these families won their civil lawsuit against the city government in December 2010 and should be resettled in public housing. In his ruling, the civil judge suggested that the city government’s failure to abide by the commitments it had undertaken was “correlated to the mere fact of the beneficiaries’ membership in the Roma ethnic group.”[181] At the time of writing, it is unclear what will happen to the rest of the camp’s residents.

Roma are also vulnerable to violence on the streets, particularly when they are asking for money or perceived to be asking for money.[182]

On June 11, 2010, a young man allegedly used a bat to attack Jorgovanka Nobilini, who was eight months pregnant, and her sister and her cousin in a street market in Turin.[183] They had been asking for money, including by ringing apartment building buzzers.[184] The police quickly arrested a 22-year-old man who was already known to them as a football hooligan.[185] He acknowledged the assault, saying the three women were trying to enter his building to steal, but denied using a baseball bat, though one was found in his apartment.[186] He was detained for several days and then placed under house arrest for approximately one month during the initial investigation, before being released pending conclusion of the prosecutor’s investigations.

Nobilini went to the hospital later that day with stomach pain and concern that she could not feel the baby moving.[187] The fetus was pronounced dead and removed by Caesarian section. The autopsy determined that the fetus had died some time prior to the attack.[188] The prosecutor in charge of the case told Human Rights Watch this fact not only changed the nature of the charges against the aggressor, but also “weakened the credibility” of the victim, as she had originally linked the loss of her baby to her injury in the attack. “There are doubts about whether she was hit in the belly. She says she was, but it was impossible to verify after she had the Caesarian. It’s less dramatic than it seemed in the beginning. What is clear is that there was an assault on three gypsies who were buzzing up, maybe trying to open doors,” the prosecutor said.[189] It was unclear why Nobilini’s belief that the assault had endangered the fetus, surely reasonable under the circumstances, would undermine her credibility.

In mid-October, the prosecutor had not decided whether to charge the man with the aggravating circumstance of racial motivation. “It’s one thing if I attack someone because they belong to a different ethnicity, it’s another if I hit someone trying to rob my house,” he argued.[190]  This approach would seem to ignore the possibility that anti-Roma prejudice fed into the aggressor’s assumptions about the women’s intentions and fueled his violent response.

Violence against Roma Settlements

Efforts to remove, relocate, or prevent the establishment of Roma settlements have on occasion involved serious violence. In the north, the Northern League has been at the forefront of political and civic action against Roma camps, and in several cases, Northern League members have been charged with instigating racism and violence in connection with these campaigns. In the most notorious incident in southern Italy, the violent attacks on Roma camps in Ponticelli, Naples, following a Roma teenager’s alleged kidnapping attempt of a baby, there are allegations that organized crime played a role because of economic interests in the land occupied by the largest camp attacked. In many instances, the racist dimension of the attacks has been overlooked or downplayed. Several serious incidents that occurred prior to the Ponticelli violence are also detailed below.

Ponticelli, Naples, May 2008

On May 10, 2008, an Italian woman accused a teenaged Roma girl from Romania of attempting to kidnap her six-month-old baby in Ponticelli, a district of Naples. The woman said she found the girl, Angelica V., standing on the landing outside her apartment with her baby. Angelica V. was forcibly detained by the woman’s father outside the building in which the alleged kidnapping attempt took place and a threatening group of neighbors had gathered before police arrived.[191] The incident was followed by a series of violent attacks on Roma settlements in the area.

Just hours after Angelica V.’s arrest, a mob attacked and stabbed a Romanian man on the street as he returned home.[192] In the days that followed, there were numerous attacks on Roma settlements in the area, some of which had been abandoned as Roma families began to fear for their safety in the climate of rage. In the most serious incident, a group of 300 to 400 people assaulted a settlement, home to nearly 50 Roma families, with wooden and metal clubs.[193] The mob threw stones at homes, overturned cars and made aggressive threats. In other incidents, a gang of Italian boys attacked two Roma boys, and a pickup truck owned by a Roma was set on fire. The police began evacuating all Roma from the area, and by May 15 there were no Roma left in the Ponticelli area.

Two men were arrested in December 2008 on charges of plunder, arson and devastation. [194]  There were also reports that five children and one adult had been arrested in May and charged with arson and theft from a camp. [195] Human Rights Watch was unable to verify the status of the case against these individuals, or ascertain whether there were any other arrests and prosecutions in relation to the events in Ponticelli in May 2008, despite repeated requests for information from the Naples Prosecutor’s Office. [196]   The office of head prosecutor Giandomenico Lepore informed us by telephone that no information could be provided because “investigations are ongoing.” [197]

In January 2009, the Naples Juvenile Court convicted Angelica V., who was 16 at the time, of attempted kidnapping on the basis of the baby’s mother’s statements, without any corroborating evidence, and sentenced her to three years and eight months’ imprisonment.[198] Angelica V., who denies any intention to kidnap the baby, has been in prison since May 2008. Her petitions for conditional liberty while awaiting trial, as well as for measures alternative to prison to carry out her sentence, have been denied despite her age and lack of prior convictions.

In September 2009, the Juvenile Court justified extending Angelica V.’s detention in prison pending the outcome of the appeal before the Court of Cassation on the grounds that she is “fully inserted into the traditions typical of Roma culture … which renders concrete the danger of recidivism, in the absence of concrete processes of analysis of her life experiences.”  The court concluded that no adequate alternative measures to prison existed, given “the above-mentioned adherence to Roma traditions which by common experience determine in their adherents a lack of respect for rules.”[199]

In a February 2010 decision that was only communicated to the parties in June 2010, the Court of Cassation found that the juvenile court had discriminated against Angelica V. on the basis of ethnicity, and annulled its decision. At the time of writing, she is in custody serving her sentence.[200]

Ponte Mammolo, Rome, September 2007

For two nights in a row, on September 19 and 20, 2007, a mob of some 40 men wearing ski masks attacked an improvised Roma settlement in the Ponte Mammolo area of Tiburtina, a district of Rome. According to media reports, the men were armed with Molotov cocktails, iron bars, bats, and chains.[201] On the second night, a Carabinieri unit managed to arrest one of the men, Fabrizio L., while the rest escaped. He was tried and convicted under an expedited procedure (per direttissima) on September 21, 2007, for unlawful possession of a knife, resisting arrest, and violence against a police officer, and sentenced to eight months’ house arrest. [202] He was not accused of instigating or committing racial violence, and the prosecutor did not request the penalty enhancement provided for in Italian law for racially motivated crimes.[203] 

The president of the Ponte Mammolo municipal district blamed the attacks on “people’s lack of security” and a representative of the Carabinieri told a journalist that racism had nothing to do with it: “They would have done the same thing to a settlement of Swedes.”[204] To date, only Fabrizio L. has been arrested and prosecuted for the attacks.[205] The Rome Prosecutor’s Office did not respond to our repeated requests for information about this case.[206]

Opera, December 2006

On the evening of December 21, 2006, a group of residents in Opera, a town on the outskirts of Milan, carried out a violent protest against a Roma camp. The attack came after weeks of protests, led by then-town council member (and current Mayor) Ettore Fusco (Northern League) against the camp.[207] The mob set fire to a number of tents and overturned others. No one was hurt in the attack. Nine people, including Fusco, were eventually prosecuted for instigating the commission of a crime. Fusco had urged the crowd to occupy the tent camp at a town hall meeting just before the attack. Only one person was eventually convicted, in July 2009, for public incitement. All others were acquitted, including Fusco. The public prosecutor in charge of the preliminary phase did not argue that the attack was racially motivated. When asked by Human Rights Watch whether she had considered doing so, she said that the aggravating circumstance didn’t exist at the time (in fact it was established by law in 1993).[208]

Law Enforcement Abuse

Agents of the state often harass and abuse Roma, including physically, in the context of forced evictions of unauthorized or improvised settlements, or raids. In other cases, abuse occurs when Roma find themselves in the company or custody of law enforcement officials for whatever reason, including administrative procedures.

Tor Bella Monaca, Rome, April 2010

Camelia is a Romanian Roma woman with five children, the youngest of whom is six months old. Camelia described what happened when the municipal police came to evict the family in mid-April 2010 from an improvised settlement in Tor Bella Monaca, a district of Rome:

They used such bad words, saying we come here just to break their balls, telling us to go away. We asked, “Where should we go?” But they said, “We don’t give a shit, go back to your country.” They came in the morning, and they didn’t leave us alone until evening, following us around all day. When we tried to feed the children in a nearby field … the police said, “Fuck you, get out of here.”  You can’t treat people like that, we’re not animals. They respect dogs and cats more than us. My daughter Rebecca was three months old then, but they didn’t care about her, they didn’t wonder where I would go with my children. Two of the officers were more worried about some newborn kittens we had than about my children. They took pictures of the kittens.[209]

A request by Human Rights Watch for a meeting with the chief of the Rome Municipal Police Force was denied, and requests for a meeting with the chief of the Municipal Police in the VIII (or “Eighth”) district of Rome, encompassing Tor Bella Monaca, were unsuccessful. [210]  

The Rome city government had arranged for Camelia and her family members (a total of five adults and nine children) to be relocated to a temporary shelter, coincidentally, on the day that Human Rights Watch interviewed the family. A delegate from the Rome Mayor’s office was on site to oversee the operation. Shortly before a Human Rights Watch researcher arrived at the settlement, a bus from the Bronzetti company, hired by the Rome city government, had appeared to pick the family up.According to witnesses, the driver took one look at the settlement, made a phone call, turned his bus around, opened the door, and said, “No one told me who I’d have to transport. I’m leaving.”[211] And he drove away.

Another bus from a different company arrived while Human Rights Watch was present and the family members boarded the bus with their belongings. In the meantime, a representative of the municipal government of Tor Bella Monaca had arrived to convince the delegate from the central Rome city authority to also remove another group of Roma from the same area. Increasingly frustrated by the refusal of the delegate to do so, the Tor Bella Monaca representative said: “Basta with this fucking do-goodyness. The Nomad Plan has to be respected. Legality for everyone. If I steal something, I have to pay.” [212]

Bussolengo, September 2008

On September 5, 2008, three Italian Roma families parked their mobile homes in a municipal parking lot in Bussolengo, in the province of Verona (Veneto). Shortly thereafter, a Carabinieri patrol appeared on the scene. Just then, another Roma family arrived and became involved in the ensuing altercation. The abuse that followed, according to the victims, was shocking. Giorgio Campos, Michele Campos, Paolo Campos, Cristian Hudorovich, and Anna Gerogeowistch filed official complaints on September 6, 2008.

According to their police complaints, published online by Sucar Drom, a Roma and Sinti advocacy organization that followed the case closely, the two Carabinieri quickly became aggressive after the families asked to remain until they had finished eating. [213]   Family members describe being beaten, punched, kicked, and insulted. Cristian Hudorovich, who is 37 years old, said one of the officers grabbed his phone while he was trying to call the police to report the violence, smashed it on the ground, and punched him in the face. Fifteen-year-old Michele Campos said in his police complaint that Carabinieri officers at the Bussolengo barracks beat him with a baton. Both he and his 17-year-old brother Giorgio Campos said in their complaints that they were held in an underground cell, where their heads were repeatedly dunked in freezing water. The third brother, 20-year-old Paolo Campos, gave a detailed description in his complaint of a beating from two officers he claims kicked and punched him at the barracks. One of them, according to the complaint, threatened Paolo against talking about what had happened upon his release. [214]

The report from the Carabinieri, also published online and on file at Sucar Drom, claimed the Campos attacked them, saying Angelo Campos became aggressive immediately and refused to show them his identity papers. The report stated that Carabinieri officers invited Angelo Campos to get in the patrol car because:

the patrol unit could not submit to the man’s villainy any more.... The man was taken to the care and made to get in. While this operation was taking place, Angelo Campos’s wife and his underage children, with the assistance of Rossetto Denis, taking advantage of the fact that the soldiers had their backs turned … began to strike them with kicks, punches, and pushes. Because they were taken by surprise at first, the soldiers let the man go and tried to stop the vile aggressors. While Campos Sonia, Campos Giorgio (minor), Campos Michele (minor), and Rossetto Denis hit the soldiers, ripping their uniforms, Campos Angelo got out of the car and joined the aggressors.[215]

The Carabinieri report also accused Sonia Campos of trying to steal Maresciallo’s gun.

Angelo Campos, his wife Sonia Campos, and Dennis Rossetto were accused of “resisting public authority.” The two men spent a little over a month in prison awaiting trial, under an expedited procedure (per direttissima) that would normally allow the case to go to trial very quickly, while Sonia Campos was tried and convicted on September 23, 2010. She was sentenced to six months in prison and released immediately on parole. All three were represented by lawyers. According to Carlo Berini, the director of Sucar Drom, the two men were held in detention in order to pressure the family to withdraw their official complaints against the Carabinieri officers. Upon recommendation from the public prosecutor, the family’s lawyer convinced them to withdraw the complaints and agree to a plea bargain; on October 10, 2008, Angelo Campos and Denis Rossetto were convicted and released on parole. [216] The head of the Verona Prosecutor’s Office told Human Rights Watch that the office did not investigate the incident because the complaints were withdrawn. [217]

Notwithstanding the withdrawal of the complaints, the failure of the competent authorities to fully investigate the allegations against the Carabinieri is alarming, given their seriousness. Sucar Drom issued a press release the day Campos and Rossetto were convicted stating, “Roma families have confirmation that it isn’t worth reporting the abuses suffered because their rights won’t be respected. We can already imagine what they’ll tell us tomorrow: ‘See, where do you live? On the moon? In the name of defending “your” rights we ended up in prison.…’”[218] 

Gheorghe, summer 2008, Milan

Gheorghe, a 26-year-old Roma man from Romania, described abuse at the hands of police officers in summer 2008 when they arrested him and another Roma man, 20-year-old Alin, whose case is discussed below.[219] He describes what happened after the police arrived at the Roma settlement in via Rubattino, Milan, where Gheorghe was living.

I was sleeping and friends came to tell me the police were there. I got up. They told me to go with them in the car... I didn’t want to go, I never hurt anyone. They hit me in the head and put me in the car. As soon as we got to the station, they hit on the back of the head with a pistol, and then one of them kicked me in the leg with his big boot. He kicked me in the rear end and then he grabbed my earring with that thing you use to remove nails, I can’t remember what it’s called.…That day they grabbed another boy, and they hit him too. Both of us were crying.[220]

Gheorghe was charged with stealing strips of copper and sentenced to six months in prison. Alin, under 18 years of age at the time, was tried separately in juvenile court. Gheorghe said he told the judge at his trial about the abuse; the police said he had resisted arrest and attacked them with a knife. According to Gheorghe, the judge did not investigate the matter further, and Gheorghe never filed an official complaint.[221]

Alin, summer 2008, Milan

Alin, now 20 years old, is the other boy who was arrested that day.[222] We spoke with him separately from Gheorghe, weeks later. Alin now lives on his own in Turin, after a year in youth detention and a period of time in a supervised group home. He has a regular job and is pursuing his secondary school education.

Alin told Human Rights Watch that he thinks the police arrested him because he, like others, tried to run away, but he was not successful. He ran, he said, because he had been arrested the year before on charges of aggravated theft—he admitted to having committed the crime with two of his friends—but had escaped the supervised group home where he had been placed because he was under 18 years of age at the time.

I saw everyone run, and I was afraid, so I ran too. But they caught me and began to hit me, one of them hit me with his pistol. They put me in the car and Gheorghe was there. They took us to the station and put us in a room. After 10 or 15 minutes, they came back and started to be mean. They didn’t ask any questions, they just insulted us. I don’t remember exactly what they said, but it was insults. I didn’t say anything. Then one of them tried to rip out Gheorghe’s earring with a tool. Gheorghe began to cry. He was my friend, so I said I would take it out for him. One of the police officers pushed me back on the bench and kicked me in the legs with those big boots they wear, it really hurt, mamma mia. I don’t know why they wanted to take out the earring. Gheorghe couldn’t manage, in the end I helped him do it.
After a few hours, they came back and took Gheorghe away....They told me I had to sign something. I didn’t speak Italian very well then, but I could read it a little bit and I didn’t want to sign. So they hit me in the head with a bunch of keys, those big ones for gates, and then more kicks in the ankles. Until I signed.[223]

On December 18, Alin was tried in a Milan youth court for theft of copper. He never met his court-appointed lawyer before the hearing. He told Human Rights Watch that he was unsuccessful in his efforts during the trial to broach the topic of the abuse he had suffered at the hands of the arresting police officers. Alin was convicted and sentenced to six months and 14 days in prison.

Alin was eager to tell Human Rights Watch about what had happened.

I knew I would take this up again one day because they shouldn’t do that, look only at the outside of a person. You have to look inside. Those who make mistakes should pay, but then learn…When I think about them [the policemen], I don’t want anyone else to go through what I did. I’d just like to go back in a setting with the same policemen, the prosecutor, and the judge, to show them that you have to go all the way to find the truth in things…It is a matter of racism. We all have rights. Prejudice against Roma, Romanians, that’s what brings this about. That’s the way things are in Italy.[224]

[167]See Fundamental Rights Agency, Incident Report: Violent attacks against Roma in the Ponticelli District of Naples, Italy, 2008, (accessed March 2, 2010); Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, OSCE, Assessment of the Human Rights Situation of Roma and Sinti in Italy, Report of a fact-finding mission to Milan, Naples, and Rome on 20-26 July 2008, March 2009, (accessed March 2, 2010); European Commission against Racism and Intolerance, Second Report on Italy, April 2002, and Third Report on Italy, May 2006, (accessed March 5, 2010); Council of Europe, Report by Thomas Hammarberg the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe following his visit to Italy  on 13-15 January 2009, April 2009, (accessed March 5, 2010).

[168] The term zingaro has been reclaimed by some Roma and Sinti, but its use by non-Roma and non-Sinti people can be perceived as offensive.

[169] Human Rights Watch interview with Graziano Halilovic, director, Roma Onlus, Rome, March 12, 2010.

[170] Human Rights Watch interview with Venetù Halilovic, Rome, March 26, 2010.

[171]Human Rights Watch interview with Dijana Pavlovic, vice-president, FederAzione Rom e Sinti Insieme, Milan, March 16, 2010.

[172]Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Carlo Berini, director, Sucardrom, July 30, 2010.

[173]Human Rights Watch interviews conducted at Triboniano camp, July 23, 2010; “Triboniano, sassaiola e auto in fiamme,” Il Corriere della Sera, May 20, 2010, (accessed October 11, 2010).

[174] Human Rights Watch interview with Florea Vataflu, Milan, July 23, 2010.

[175] Ordinance of Judge for Preliminary Investigations, Roberta Nunnari, May 23, 2010. Human Rights Watch read this document, in the possession of Florea Vataflu.

[176] Human Rights Watch interview with Florea Vataflu, Milan, July 23, 2010.

[177] Ordinance of Judge for Preliminary Investigations, Roberta Nunnari, May 23, 2010. Human Rights Watch read this document, in the possession of Florea Vataflu.

[178] Human Rights Watch interview with Angela (pseudonym), Milan, July 23, 2010.

[179] “Triboniano sassaiola e auto in fiamme,” Il Corriere della Sera, May 20, 2010, (accessed October 11, 2010).

[180] The provision in Milan’s “Nomad Plan” to assign public housing to 25 families from the Triboniano camp, most recently debated and approved in a City Council session in August 2010, became a political issue in September, in advance of local elections in spring 2011. Interior Minister Roberto Maroni, called in to pronounce on the issue, said on September 27 that no public housing would be allocated to Roma because “you don’t solve problems by creating others.” “Maroni niente case popolari ai Rom,” Il Corriere della Sera, September 27, 2010, (accessed October 11, 2010).

[181]“Case ai rom, il giudice alla Moratti e a Maroni: ‘Rispettate gli accordi,’” Il Corriere della Sera, December 20, 2010, (accessed February 9, 2011).

[182] Human Rights Watch interview with Dijana Pavlovic, vice-president, Federazione Rom e Sinti Insieme, Milan, March 16, 2010; Human Rights Watch interview with Graziano Halilovic, director, Roma Onlus, Rome, March 12, 2010.

[183] Through an intermediary, Nobilini declined to speak with Human Rights Watch, but gave no indication that she objected to her case’s inclusion in the report.

[184] Marco Bardesono, “Rom incinta presa a calci da ultra,” Il Corriere della Sera, June 14, 2010, (accessed July 15, 2010).

[185] Ibid.

[186]Ibid.; “Nomade picchiata da un ultrà con una mazza, perde il bambino,” La Repubblica, June 13, 2010, (accessed July 15, 2010).

[187] Ibid.; Niccolò Zancan, “Arrestato l’aggressore della rom,” La Stampa, June 13, 2010, (accessed July 15, 2010).

[188]Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Giancarlo Avenati Bassi, public prosecutor, Turin, October 15, 2010.

[189] Ibid.

[190] Ibid.

[191] “Napoli, rom tenta di rapire neonata salvata a stento dal linciaggio,” La Repubblica, May 11, 2008, http;// (accessed July 30, 2010).

[192]EU Fundamental Rights Agency, Incident Report: Violent attacks against Roma in the Ponticelli district of Naples, Italy, 2008, p. 4.

[193] Ibid.

[194] “Napoli: due arresti per l’assalto al campo rom di Ponticelli dello scorso maggio,” Il Corriere della Sera, December 1, 2008, (accessed July 30, 2010).

[195] See EU Fundamental Rights Agency, Incident Report: Violent Attacks against Roma in the Ponticelli District of Naples, 2008, p. 17.

[196] Human Rights Watch sent an official request for information on October 15, 2010, and sent follow-up emails on November 4, November 23, and December 9, 2010. We made follow-up phone calls on October 20, October 26, November 4, and December 14, 2010.

[197] Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Mrs. Palma, office of Naples prosecutor Giandomenico Lepore, Naples, December 15, 2010.

[198] Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Christian Valle, defense lawyer for Angelica V., October 8, 2010; Giuseppe Porzio, “Giallo di Ponticelli ‘Una condanna ingiusta,’” La Repubblica, March 12, 2009, (accessed July 12, 2010). She lost her appeal to the juvenile appeals court in May 2009, and the Court of Cassation rejected as inadmissible the final appeal,  Dario del Porto, “Confermata la condanna per Angelica,” La Repubblica, May 8, 2009, (accessed July 12, 2010); Human Rights Watch interview with Christian Valle, October 8, 2010.

[199] Decision of the Juvenile Court, September 29, 2009. On file with Human Rights Watch.

[200] Human Rights Watch interview with Christian Valle, October 8, 2010.

[201]Federica Angeli, “Roma, cittadini-giustizieri assaltano il campo rom,” La Repubblica, September 21, 2007, (accessed June 29, 2010).

[202] Under this procedure, used when individuals are arrested in flagrante or confess, preliminary stages of the trial phase are omitted and the trial and sentencing takes place very quickly.

[203] Ibid.; Massimo Lugli, “La guerra di Ponte Mammolo,” La Repubblica, September 22, 2007, (accessed June 29, 2010).

[204] Cinzia Gubbino, “Roma, assalto al campo Rom,” September 21, 2007, Il Manifesto. On file with Human Rights Watch.

[205] Federica Angeli, “Roma, cittadini-giustizieri assaltano il campo rom;” Massimo Lugli, “La guerra di Ponte Mammolo.”

[206]Human Rights Watch requested information on this and other cases from the Rome prosecutor’s office by fax on October 20, 2010. We renewed this request via fax on October 28, 2010, in emails on November 3, November 23, and December 9, 2010, as well as in phone calls on October 29, December 10 and December 15, 2010.

[207] Fusco was elected mayor of Opera in April 2008.

[208] Human Rights Watch interview with Milan public prosecutor, Milan, July 23, 2010.

[209] Human Rights Watch interview, Camelia (last name omitted upon request), Tor Bella Monaca, May 26, 2010.

[210] Human Rights watch sent a fax to the office of the Commander of the Rome municipal police on July 13, 2010 and made three follow-up phone calls. We were told a meeting would not be possible. Human Rights Watch attempted two times to reach the chief of the municipal police in the  VIII district of Rome by phone in July 2010 and was unable to speak with him and did not receive a response to our verbal request for a meeting.

[211]Human Rights Watch interviews, Tor Bella Monaca, May 26, 2010.

[212]Human Rights Watch witnessed this exchange.

[213]Sucar Drom has the complaints on file in their offices in Mantova.

[214]Taken from the official police complaints of Christian Hudurovich, available at; Michele Campos, available at; Giorgio Campos, available at bussolengo-vr-la-versione-di-giorgio.html; and Paolo Campos, available at bussolengo-vr-la-versione-di-paolo.html (all accessed July 10, 2010).

[215] Extracts from Carabinieri report as published by Sucar Drom, (accessed July 10, 2010).

[216] Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Carlo Berini, Sucar Drom, July 30, 2010.

[217] Fax from Mario Giulio Schinaia, head prosecutor, Verona, received November 4, 2010. On file with Human Rights Watch.

[218] “Bussolengo (VR), una battaglia persa, Sucar Drom statement, October 10, 2008, (accessed July 10, 2010).

[219]Human Rights Watch interview with Gheorghe (last name omitted upon request), Milan, March 16, 2010.

[220] Ibid.

[221] Ibid.

[222] Last name omitted.

[223] Human Rights Watch interview with Alin, Milan, July 31, 2010.

[224] Ibid.