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Macedonians Face Charges For Ignoring Lustration

March 20, 2012

By Sinisa Jakov Marusic, Balkan Insight, 20.03.2012


Over 4,000 former public officials face charges for having failed to submit statements about whether they collaborated with the secret police during the Communist era or afterwards.

A court in Skopje | Photo by: Balkan Insight

The information concerning the 4,000 offenders is contained in a report that the Lustration Commission, a state body tasked with carrying out the lustration process, recently filed to parliament.

The Commission says it will wait before asking the courts to initiate charges as the Lustration Law is currently under inspection in the Constitutional Court.

“We will wait and see what happens in the Constitutional Court [before pursuing charges],” the head of the commission, Tome Adziev told Balkan Insight.

If charged, the fine for not submitting a written statement ranges from 3,000 to 4,000 euros. Former office holders had until the end of last year to submit their statements.

In January the Constitutional Court temporarily suspended 12 provisions of the Lustration Law, among them one concerning lustration of former public office holders.  The court is expected to reach a decision on this point in the next few months.

Macedonia adopted the Lustration Law in 2008 at the behest of Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski’s ruling VMRO DPMNE party.

The move followed in the steps of many former Communist states that have enacted similar laws to address past injustices stemming from politically motivated judicial proceedings.

All persons found to be former collaborators are obliged to resign from office in return for which they are guaranteed anonymity.

Originally the law was intended to target only current office holders and candidates. But the ruling party last year adopted changes making a broad range of professions eligible for lustration, including journalists, clergy, professors and NGO activists. In addition it also widened the timeframe of the law making it applicable until 2019.

These provisions, now contested before the Constitutional Court, have prompted some observers and opposition politicians to claim that the law is being abused to selectively target government critics.

The Lustration Commission has so far pronounced some 30 persons former collaborators. The latest report says 16 of them were discovered in the last six months.

So far, some 3,000 of the 12,500 who have filed statements have passed the lustration test. The first in line were some 1,400 current politicians and public office holders as well as some 600 judges.

From → FYROM, Lustration

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