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Macedonia Mulls Compensating Communism’s Victims

April 27, 2012

In its newly announced draft law the junior ruling Democratic Union for Integration, DUI, seeks legal satisfaction for victims of Communist injustice, as well as welfare payments for victims now living in poverty.

Sinisa Jakov Marusic, Balkan Insight, 27.04.2012


Photo by: Wikimedia Commons\Effeietsanders

The DUI wants the planned law on rehabilitation to apply from 1945 to 1991, when Macedonia was part of Communist Yugoslavia.

“Macedonia as a former socialist country owes this to the victims. Without this, the process of transition [to pluralism] will be incomplete,” says Xhevat Ademi, a DUI legislator.

He says he was himself a victim of past ideological injustice for his activism on behalf of the ethnic Albanian cause.

The party says it will submit the draft law to parliament on Monday.

For now it gave the draft only to its senior partner, the centre-right VMRO DPMNE party of Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski.

The DUI this week said it would trade support for VMRO DPMNE’s draft Lustration Law if the other party agreed to back their draft law in return.

The DUI insists that the process of lustration, aimed at driving former police informants from public office, has no point without a parallel process of rehabilitation of victims.

Ademi explains that the draft law envisages the courts annulling all previous court rulings during the Communist era that involved prosecutions for political reasons. He says this would offer legal satisfaction to the victims and their families.

The law also envisages welfare packages for former victims now living in poor social conditions. In addition, for each year spent in jail, victims would be granted a year and a half of work experience, which would in some cases mean early retirement.

No one knows how many people would be covered by such a law rehabilitation. Media are speculating up to 50,000 people but a more exact account is expected after the country opens the former police files, as envisaged under the new lustration law whose draft is already in parliament. Many of the victims of the past regime are, of course, no longer alive.

Macedonia is following in the steps of many former Communist states that have enacted lustration laws in order to address past injustices stemming from politically motivated judicial proceedings.

The country passed its current Lustration Law in 2008 on the behest of Gruevski’s government. The law obliged those deemed as former collaborators to resign from office.

But after the Constitutional Court earlier this year narrowed law’s scope by annulling 12 of its provisions, the ruling party opted for a new law that this time offers to reveal the secret police dossiers and people’s names.

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