Prosecuting Hate Crimes: A Practical Guide


“Hate crimes are criminal acts committed on the basis of prejudice and intolerance. They occur in every country and are often of a particularly violent nature and, as such, pose a serious threat to both victims and societies. This guide was developed to help prosecutors recognize and understand hate crimes and to prosecute them more effectively. The guide is a joint publication of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and the International Association of Prosecutors (IAP).

The OSCE is the world’s largest regional security organization, made up of 57 participating States. The OSCE Ministerial Council has repeatedly asserted that hate crimes not only infringe on individual human rights, but also have the potential to lead to conflict and violence on a wider scale. Since 2003, OSCE participating States have made a number of commitments to address hate crimes. In particular, participating States have committed themselves to ‘…strengthen training for all sectors of the criminal justice system – law enforcement, prosecutors and judges.’

In response to the Ministerial Council’s decisions, ODIHR has developed a range of programmes and publications to assist participating States in addressing hate crimes effectively and comprehensively. ODIHR’s approach recognizes that isolated steps to combat hate crimes have only a limited impact, and that prosecuting hate crimes is most successful when it is part of a broader approach. ODIHR’s contribution to the development of this guide has, therefore, drawn on the Office’s extensive knowledge of many aspects of addressing hate crimes, as well as on its experience of working in different country contexts throughout the OSCE area.”

For more information, read Prosecuting Hate Crimes: A Practical Guide.