Application No. 35208/97
                 and Romani ROSE
                 against Germany

     The European Commission of Human Rights sitting in private on
27 May 1997, the following members being present:

           Mr.   S. TRECHSEL, President
           Mrs.  G.H. THUNE
           Mrs.  J. LIDDY
           MM.   G. JÖRUNDSSON
                 A.S. GÖZÜBÜYÜK
                 A. WEITZEL
                 J.-C. SOYER
                 H. DANELIUS
                 F. MARTINEZ
                 C.L. ROZAKIS
                 L. LOUCAIDES
                 J.-C. GEUS
                 M.P. PELLONPÄÄ
                 B. MARXER
                 M.A. NOWICKI
                 I. CABRAL BARRETO
                 B. CONFORTI
                 N. BRATZA
                 I. BÉKÉS
                 J. MUCHA
                 D. SVÁBY
                 G. RESS
                 A. PERENIC
                 C. BÎRSAN
                 P. LORENZEN
                 K. HERNDL
                 E. BIELIUNAS
                 E.A. ALKEMA
                 M. VILA AMIGÓ
           Mrs.  M. HION
           MM.   R. NICOLINI
                 A. ARABADJIEV

           Mr.   H.C. KRÜGER, Secretary to the Commission

     Having regard to Article 25 of the Convention for the Protection
of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms;

     Having regard to the application introduced on 20 February 1997
and registered on 7 March 1997 under file No. 35208/97;

     Having regard to the report provided for in Rule 47 of the Rules
of Procedure of the Commission;

     Having deliberated;

     Decides as follows:


     The first applicant is a registered association uniting local and
regional associations of German Sinti and Roma. It has its seat in
Heidelberg. The second applicant is the President of the first
applicant and is also representing the latter in the proceedings before
the Commission.

     The facts of the case, as submitted by the applicants, may be
summarised as follows.

     On 25 September 1996 the Bochum District Court (Amtsgericht), in
proceedings relating to a lease contract, gave the following reasons
as to why the landlord had rightly refused the tenants' proposal of a
subsequent tenant (Nachmieter).


     "Insoweit waren die Kläger nach Ansicht des Gerichtes berechtigt,
weitere Bemühungen um einen Nachmieter abzulehnen, da die Beklagten
nach den Bekundungen des gleichen Zeugen einen Zigeuner als Nachmieter
anboten. Diese Bevölkerungsgruppe ist traditionsgemäß überwiegend nicht
seßhaft und gehört aus Vermietersicht daher so offensichtlich nicht zu
den durchschnittlich geeigneten Mietern mit zutreffender
Zukunftsprognose, daß die Erwartungen weiterer fruchtbarer
Vermittlungszusammenarbeit aus der Sicht der Kläger zurecht gestört und
nicht mehr fortzusetzen war."


     "To this extent, the plaintiffs were, in the opinion of the
court, justified in refusing to consider any further proposals for a
subsequent tenant as, according to the evidence given by the same
witness, the defendants had proposed a gipsy as subsequent tenant.
Traditionally, this ethnic group is predominantly unsettled and, from
a landlord's point of view, is clearly so unrepresentative of the
average suitable tenant, with the corresponding outlook for the future,
that expectations of further fruitful negotiations were, from the
plaintiffs' point of view, fully unfounded and untenable."

     The applicants were not a party to the above proceedings. They
learned about the judgment by a newspaper article of 25 October 1996.

     On 15 November 1996 the applicant association, represented by its
President, i.e. the second applicant, addressed a letter to the
Minister of Justice of Northrhine-Westfalia, expressing its concern
about the discriminatory view voiced in the above judgment, namely that
a  gipsy was not a suitable tenant. It noted that, according to its
information, no appeal lay against the judgment and drew attention to
the possible repercussions of the court's finding, which had meanwhile
become known nationally as well as internationally. The applicant
association requested the Minister of Justice to hold a press
conference and to give a public clarification that such opinions did
not have a place in present day Germany. Moreover, it requested him to
take appropriate steps against the responsible judge.

     The Minister of Justice of Northrhine-Westfalia replied on
19 November 1996. He stated that he had immediately ordered an
administrative supervision (dienstaufsichtsrechtliche Prüfung).
However, according to the Basic Law (Grundgesetz), judges were
independent. Administrative supervision could only serve to examine
whether they carried out their duties formally correctly and without
delay. While he, in his capacity as administrative superior
(Dienstvorgesetzter), could not criticise any decisions taken by a
judge, he had already commented on the judgment at issue on
16 November 1996 in a newspaper article. Moreover, the applicant
association's comments had been transmitted to the judge concerned.


     The applicants complain under Article 14 of the Convention in
conjunction with Article 2 para. 1 of Protocol No. 4 and in conjunction
with Article 1 of Protocol No. 1. The applicant association,
emphasising that under the terms of its statutes one of its aims is to
oppose any discrimination against Sinti and Roma, raises these
complaints as a representative of its members, who according to its
submissions are about 70,000 German Sinti and Roma. The applicants
submit that the judgment of the Bochum District Court discriminates
against Sinti and Roma on account of their adherence to a national
minority and infringes their freedom to choose their residence and
their right to the peaceful enjoyment of their possessions. They point
out that Germany has signed the Framework Convention on National
Minorities of the Council of Europe and has recognised them as a
national minority.


     The applicants complain that the judgment of the Bochum District
Court of 25 September 1996 discriminates against Sinti and Roma on
account of their adherence to a national minority and infringes their
freedom to choose their residence and their right to the peaceful
enjoyment of their possessions. They invoke Article 14 of the
Convention in conjunction with Article 2 para. 1 of Protocol No. 4 and
in conjunction with Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 (Art. 14+P4-2-1+P1-1).

     The Commission notes that neither of the applicants was a party
to the proceedings in which the impugned judgment was rendered.  It
will, therefore, first examine whether the applicants can claim to be
victims within the meaning of Article 25 (Art. 25) of the Convention
of a violation of their rights guaranteed by the Convention and its

     Article 25 para. 1 (Art. 25-1), so far as relevant, reads as

     "The Commission may receive petitions addressed to the Secretary
     General of the Council of Europe from any person, non-
     governmental organisation or group of individuals claiming to be
     the victim of a violation by one of the High Contracting Parties
     of the rights set forth in this Convention, provided that the
     High Contracting Party against which the complaint has been
     lodged has declared that it recognises the competence of the
     Commission to receive such petitions. ..."

     The Commission recalls that the concept of "victim" as used in
Article 25 (Art. 25) of the Convention must be interpreted autonomously
and independently of concepts of domestic law such as those concerning
the interest in taking proceedings or the capacity to do so. An
applicant can only claim to be a victim of a violation of one of the
rights and
freedoms recognised by the Convention if there is a sufficiently direct
link between the applicant and the damage which he considers that he
has sustained as a result of the alleged breach (cf. No. 11724/85,
Dec. 5.2.90, D.R. 64 p. 72, 82).

     As to the first applicant, i.e. the applicant association, the
Commission recalls its established case-law, according to which a
corporate applicant cannot claim to be itself a victim of measures
alleged to have interfered with the Convention rights of its individual
members (cf. No. 18598/91, Dec. 18.5.94, D.R. 78 p. 71, 77;
No. 24581/94, Dec. 6.4.95, D.R. 81 p. 123, 126).

     The Commission notes that the applicant association in the
present case does not claim to be a victim itself but explicitly raises
the complaints as representative of its individual members which are,
according to its submissions, about 70,000 German Sinti and Roma.
However, the Commission recalls that, in this case, it is essential for
the applicant association to identify the individuals represented by
it and to show that it has received specific instructions from each of
them (cf. No. 10983/84, Dec. 12.5.86, D.R. 47 p. 225). The Commission
notes that, in the present case, the applicant association has not
complied with this requirement.

     The second applicant may be understood to complain that,
notwithstanding the fact that he was not a party to the proceedings
before the Bochum District Court, he is - as a member of the minority
concerned - affected by its judgment.

     The Commission  recalls that the Convention organs are not called
upon to examine in abstracto whether legal regulations are in
conformity with the Convention. However, an individual may, in certain
circumstances, be directly affected by legal regulations, and hence
claim to be a victim of an alleged breach of the Convention (cf. in
particular No. 6959/75, Brüggemann und Scheuten v. Germany,
Dec. 19.5.76, D.R. 5 p. 103, 115, concerning a complaint about the
legal regulation of abortion, resulting from a judgment of the Federal
Constitutional Court, brought by two women, who did not claim to be
pregnant or to have been prosecuted for unlawful abortion; see also
Eur. Court HR, Klass and Others v. Germany judgment of
6 September 1978, Series A no. 28, p. 17 et seq., paras. 33-38,
concerning legislation relating to secret surveillance measures
potentially applicable without notification to all users of postal and
telecommunications services, brought by applicants who were, due to the
nature of the measures, unable to allege that they had actually been
subject to surveillance; Dudgeon v. the United Kingdom judgment of
22 October 1981, Series A no. 45, p. 18, paras. 40-41; Norris v.
Ireland judgment of 26 October 1988, Series A no. 142, p. 15 et seq.,
paras. 30-34; Modinos v. Cyprus judgment of 22 April 1993, Series A
no. 259, p. 10 et seq., paras 17-24, all concerning legislation
prohibiting certain homosexual acts between consenting male adults
brought by homosexuals, who had not actually been prosecuted).

     However, the Commission notes that what is at issue in the
present case is not legislation or the legal situation created by a
judgment of a Constitutional Court like in the Brüggemann and Scheuten
case, but a judgment, given by a single judge of a first instance
court. There is no indication that this judgment represents the State's
general approach to Sinti and Roma or that the second applicant risks
to be subjected to a similar finding in actual or potential litigation.
In these circumstances, the Commission finds that the second applicant
cannot claim to be a victim within the meaning of Article 25 (Art. 25)
of an alleged violation of his rights set forth in the Convention.

     It follows that the application is incompatible ratione personae
with the provisions of the Convention, within the meaning of Article
27 para. 2 (Art. 27-2) of the Convention.

     For these reasons, the Commission, unanimously,


     H.C. KRÜGER                                 S. TRECHSEL
      Secretary                                   President
    to the Commission                         of the Commission