Logo law and pluralism
Logo Università Bicocca

Oršuš and Others v. Croatia, No. 15766/03, ECtHR (Grand Chamber), 16 March 2010


Placement of Roma students in separate classes within ordinary primary schools. Discriminatory treatment of an ethnic minority.

Normative references

Art. 14 ECHR
Art. 2 Prot. 1 ECHR


In principle, the practice of temporarily placing pupils with insufficient command of the language of education in a separate class is not inherently discriminatory, as it is aimed at adapting the education system to the special needs of students with linguistic difficulties. Nevertheless, where this placement disproportionately or exclusively affects members of a specific ethnic group, adequate guarantees must be provided. In the absence of clear criteria according to which Roma children must subsequently be included in the mixed classes, as the necessary level of linguistic proficiency is achieved and where the permanence in the class of Roma children lasts for an indefinite duration, sometimes even throughout the all cycle of studies, their placement in separate classes must be considered to be devoid of objective and reasonable justification, thus integrating a violation of art. 14 ECHR in conjunction with art. 2 of the first additional protocol to the ECHR.