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Macedonian Lustration “Infringes Human Rights”

April 11, 2012

The process of lustration in Macedonia runs contrary to the decisions of the Constitutional Court, and is used to infringe human rights, says the latest report by a human rights watchdog. 

Sinisa Jakov Marusic, Balkan Insight, 11.04.2012

 

Skopje | Photo by: Balkan Insight

The latest report by the Macedonian Helsinki Committee for Human Rights says that the current situation is  “against the Council of Europe’s recommendations that the process should not turn in to retaliation”.

Adopted in 2008, at the behest of Nikola Gruevski’s ruling VMRO DPMNE party, the Lustration Law aimed to address past injustices stemming from politically motivated judicial proceedings and purge former police informants from public offices.

But, according to the Helsinki Committee, “the law got out of control” when in March last year, the ruling majority defied the Constitutional Court’s decision and for the second time widened the span of the law beyond 1991, when Macedonia ended communist rule.

At the time, the MPs also broadened the scope of professions subjected to check-ups to include journalists, NGOs, clergy and members of other professions.

In March this year, the court again scrapped these provisions and limited lustration only to former politicians and public office holders.

The watchdog states that in some cases the Lustration Commission – the governmental office tasked with carrying out the process – decided whether someone was an informant without the basic precondition of having a written proof of their culpability.

The Helsinki Committee notes that some members of the Lustration Commission were not given full access to all the necessary documents.

The Committee also points out that the statements from office holders and other professionals subject to lustration were collected under the threat of steep penalties.

The Committee’s report comes out at a time when the ruling party is again defying the court’s decisions and announcing a brand new law with similar provisions and one novelty.

This time the ruling majority envisages publishing the secret police files on the internet, to disprove suspicions that the Lustration Commission has been working selectively in order to smear those who criticise the government.

So far the Lustration Commission has pronounced some 30 people as informants.  One of the first was the former head of the Constitutional Court, Trendafil Ivanovski. During his time several key laws of the ruling party were scrapped.

The head of the Open Society – Macedonia foundation, Vladimir Milcin, otherwise a prominent critic of Gruevski, as well as the former Social Democrats presidential candidate Ljubomir Frckovski, were also accused of being informants.

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