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Rights Committee Tells Macedonia to Think Again

March 26, 2012

European Council’s Rights Committee tells Macedonia to come up with some new nominations for the posts, saying the existing candidates are unsuitable.

By Sase Dimovski, Balkan Insight, 26.03.2012
Skopje’s “Idrizovo” prison | Photo by: Balkan Insight

The Council of Europe’s Human Rights Committee has returned the list of names submited by Macedonia on the grounds that none of the candidates was qualified.

Although various lawyers, judges, psychiatrists and law professors had applied to be candidates, Macedonia’s Justice Ministry instead proposed three civil servants.

These were Ljuljzim Hamili, from the Justice Ministry, Aneta Stancevska, from the police, and another staffer from the Social Policies Ministry.

“The Council of Europe’s Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights has requested a new procedure for the election of three candidates from Macedonia,” the Justice Ministry confirmed to Balkan Insight.

The Ministry says it has already formed a new commission tasked with proposing new candidates.

Macedonian neuro-psychiatrist Vladimir Bliznakov was a member of the Committee from 2004. Last March he was elected vice-chairman of the Committee.

But he had to leave in December although his mandate lasts until 2013, after Macedonia failed to nominate him in the new list.

Macedonia is regularly criticized over the state of its prisons and psychiatric facilities.
In its report published on January 25 the Committee expressed concern over conditions in country’s biggest prison at Idrizovo near Skopje.

The Committee noted that many prisoners were locked in cells for 23 hours a day in poor conditions. It also noted several allegations of torture by officers and prison guards.

The Committee urged measures to end these practices and recommended more independent inspections of facilities that could further pinpoint shortcomings.

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