The aim of this publication is, first of all, to provide insight into some of the existing solutions to the problem of hate crimes and hate speech in European Union law, as well as in the practice of the European Court of Human Rights. The numerous judgments of the ECHR fundamentally deal with these issues through the various legal systems of the states signatories to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which, in spite of historical and social specifics, had a similar problem to the one of Serbia today when it comes to prosecuting crimes against hatred.
Hate crimes, as a special type of crime whose motive of hatred is due to belonging to a particular minority group, is not only a problem for the minority group itself that represents the object of hatred and prejudice. The problem affects the whole community in which the victim can be anyone, even someone who is only friendly to a certain minority group, or someone who came under the influence of the perpetrator of the crime because of his supposed membership to a particular minority group. In practice, victims were also persons who, due to their appearance, were characterized as members of a minority group, regardless of whether they really belonged to that group. Hate crimes particularly oppress minority groups, and, despite the guarantee of the prohibition of discrimination, torture, inhuman or degrading treatment and the proclaimed principle of equality of all people, such a crime is sending a message to the whole group that it is not welcome and will not be tolerated.
Hate speech has also taken a special place in this publication as a specific abuse of the right to freedom of speech which, in its most extreme form, can serve as an excuse or even an indirect call for a hate crime. Although there are two separate legal institutes, hate speech and hate crimes in a social context often appear together, as a cause and consequence.