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Resignations Rock Macedonia’s Lustration Commission

December 19, 2012

The head of Macedonia’s Lustration Commission says his work will continue despite the high-profile resignations of two members of the commission.

Sinisa Jakov Marusic, Balkan Insight, 18.12.2012

 

Macedonian lustration commission

“We have a quorum and we work based on the law and documents so our work will continue uninterrupted,” Tome Adziev said after two of his colleagues resigned and called him and the entire commission illegitimate.

On Monday, commission members Janakie Vitanovski and Blagoja Geshoski told media they are resigning from their posts, following a call from the opposition to do so.

The lustration process “is headed in the wrong direction” and “has become the government’s instrument for the tendentious and selective stigmatization of its critics,” said Vitanovski at a press conference.

Macedonia has followed in the steps of many former Communist states that have enacted lustration laws as a way to address past injustices stemming from politically motivated judicial proceedings by exposing former police collaborators who snitched on people.

The Lustration Commission is the state office tasked with carrying out the process.

The current commission “is led by an illegitimate president” and “has on several occasions announced that certain people were collaborators not only based on insufficient evidence, but by ignoring evidence that proved differently,” Vitanovski said.

The resignations of the two members appointed by the main opposition party, the Social Democrats, SDSM, come after the party asked them to step down.

The party last week said it will press charges against commission head Adziev for staying in office for a year-and-a-half past the end of his term.

Adziev has been the commission head for two years, although his term was set to last six months. He has stayed on because the parliament has not been able to agree on his replacement.

Originally passed in 2008, Macedonia’s Lustration law stirred wide public controversy, with critics and opposition members accusing the government of Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski of misusing it as a witch hunt against its opponents and critics.

Macedonia’s parliament passed a new lustration law in June, after the Constitutional Court scrapped many key provisions from the 2008 law, narrowing its time span and the range of professions subjected to checks.

However, the new law and the government’s insistence that it only wants to see past injustices amended has not silenced criticism.

Macedonia’s Helsinki Committee for Human Rights has contested key provisions of the law before the Constitutional Court, arguing that they are largely the same as those previously scrapped.

A group of intellectuals, meanwhile, sued legislators from the ruling parties and Macedonian President Gjorgje Ivanov for voting and approving provisions in the new law that were previously struck down as unconstitutional.

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