HATE CRIMES: EVALUATION OF LITHUANIAN COURTS’ DECISIONS IN THE LIGHT OF THE PRACTICE OF THE EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS
Keywords:Hate Crime, Hate Speech, Lithuanian Courts’ Practice, European Court of Human Rights’ Practice
In this article, the authors analyse the practice of the Lithuanian national courts and the European Court of Human Rights in hate crime cases, provide insights into the synergy between the decisions made by these courts, and suggest further improvement actions. This research shows that proving the circumstances surrounding various forms of hatred is quite complex, often lacking a more comprehensive, in-depth definition of the totality of circumstances by taking account of the need for special knowledge, the identification of guilt, and the system and intensity of actions. There is often a divide between criminal liability and the possibility of other countermeasures, especially when examining cases related to hate speech. Court decisions draw attention to the fact that it is necessary to consider the totality of the data collected, not individual data or individual fragments of circumstances. Among other things, the decisions emphasize the ultima ratio principle: whether criminal liability is an adequate measure in cases of hate speech. The topical issues examined in the article draw attention to the collection of significant data and the organization of investigations of these crimes, issues relating to proof and the emerging practice of the European Court of Human Rights and the Supreme Court of the Republic of Lithuania in this category of cases, highlighting the two main problematic aspects: first, the determination of the totality of objective and subjective features and second, the fact of identifying a real threat.