Macedonian Lustration Again Disputed Before Court


By Sinisa Jakov Marusic

Macedonia’s new Lustration Law, aimed at rooting out former police collaborators, may encounter the fate as the previous one, as key provisions are again contested before the Constitutional Court.

Macedonia’s Helsinki Committee for Human Rights and a retired lawyer, Stamen Filipov – in two separate motions filed to the court on Monday – have contested 13 provisions of the new law adopted in June.


“The motions mainly tackle the time span of the law and the provisions that allow the publication of names of former collaborators without a court order, only with a decision by the Lustration Commission,” Uranija Pirovska, from the Helsinki Committee, said.

This is the third time since 2008, when the first lustration law was adopted, that a lustration law has been caught up in legal disputes before the Constitutional Court.

Macedonia’s main ruling party, VMRO DPMNE, pushed for the new law after the Constitutional Court scrapped 12 provisions of the old law earlier this year.

The Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to oblige people from a wide range of professions, including clergy, journalists, NGO activists and others, to swear that they had not collaborated with the secret police either during the Communist period or afterwards.

It also shortened the time span of the law that was previously applicable until 2019. The Court ruled that that it may cover only the Communist period from 1945 to 1991 and not the period after the country gained independence from Yugoslavia and became a democratic society.

The new law allows lustration to be applied until 2006, the year that a public information access law was adopted. It also still envisages lustration of journalists and NGO activists.

“We should not remain silent at the tendentious non-compliance with the previous decisions of the Constitutional Court that allow blatant violations of human rights,” Pirovska said.

One of the main novelties in the new law is the ability of the Lustration Commission, a state office tasked with enforcing the law, to publish names and dossiers of persons deemed to have been collaborators.

The Helsinki Committee also contests this provision, arguing that the commission is being given the right of a court, which is also unconstitutional as no appeal procedure is predicted.

Macedonia has followed in the steps of many former Communist states that have enacted similar laws as a way to address past injustices stemming from politically motivated judicial proceedings.

But rthe law has been dogged with controversy, with critics accusing the government of misusing it to discredit prominent intellectuals known for their criticism of government policies.

In July, a group of intellectuals, part of the civil initiative Citizens for European Macedonia, GEM, submitted law suits against MPs from the ruling parties for having supported the new law that they describe as unconstitutional.

Balkan Insight

The Balkan Insight (formerly the Balkin Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN) is a close group of editors and trainers that enables journalists in the region to produce in-depth analytical and investigative journalism on complex political, economic and social themes. BIRN emerged from the Balkan programme of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, IWPR, in 2005. The original IWPR Balkans team was mandated to localise that programme and make it sustainable, in light of changing realities in the region and the maturity of the IWPR intervention. Since then, its work in publishing, media training and public debate activities has become synonymous with quality, reliability and impartiality. A fully-independent and local network, it is now developing as an efficient and self-sustainable regional institution to enhance the capacity for journalism that pushes for public debate on European-oriented political and economic reform.

4 thoughts on “Macedonian Lustration Again Disputed Before Court

  • September 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    “Those who live in Skopje and say that that is Macedon and Alexander’s homeland are as IGNORANT and OUTRAGEOUS as if someone was to say that Oxford University was really in Belarus and Oxford was Minsk”- Prof. Robin Fox Lane Oxford University

    • September 6, 2012 at 3:09 pm

      Akron,it shows how ignorant you are.Are you not interested what is going on in your country-Greece?Are you ashamed to comment on your own identity,your Albanian or Turkish or maybe a Koutsovlahos that you are?Come on guy,come out from the closet like few of you already did!

  • September 5, 2012 at 1:05 am

    The initial implementation of the lustration laws failed miserably due to two reasons.

    The first, was the lack of credible evidence against those that the skopjian leadership believed suspicious. The second, was the utter incompetence and corrupt practices at all levels of the investigations discovered by the skopjian authorities.

    While these laws target communist era individuals mostly of Slavic background, the indigenous Albanian population has been largely unaffected.

    The current issues that concern the skopjian government have finally moved them to revisit how to best legislate laws that don’t have loop holes big enough for the Alexander statue to step through, but at the same time can be practiced without corrupt officials.

    Gruevski’s skopjian government needs this to succeed this time or he’ll have to put up with a lot of hissy fits from his far right party members who want all suspected communist come socialists in the skopjian governments opposition to be either jailed or removed from office.

    God help the innocent!

  • September 7, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    Even your own Foreign Affairs Minister admitted that you invented your entire history and identity. Ouch!

    Denko Malevski(1st minister of foreign affairs in FYROM):

    The creation of the “Macedonian” nation, for almost half of a century, was done in a condition of single-party dictatorship. In those times, there was no difference between science and ideology, so the “Macedonian” historiography, unopposed by anybody, comfortably performed a selection of the historic material from which the “Macedonian” identity was created. In those years, we lost our capability for strategic dialog. With Greeks? No, with ourselves. Since then, namely, we reach towards some fictional ethnic purity which we seek in the depths of the history & we are angry at those which dare to call us Slavs & our language & culture Slavic? We are angry when they name us what we are if we have to define ourselves in such categories, showing that we are people full with complexes which are ashamed of ourselves.
    The idea that Alexander the Great belong to FYROM,was at the mind of some outsider political groups only!!These groups were insignificant the first years of our independence..the big problem is that the old Balkan Nations have been learned to legitimate themselves through their history. In Balkans,if you want to be recognised as a Nation,you need to have history of 3000 years old.Since Greeks made us to INVENT a history..we did invent it…


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