Corner Press release

The Constitutional Court Defends Electoral Crime 24 February 2016

The Helsinki Committee for Human Rights of the Republic of Macedonia reacts strongly to the Constitutional Court's decision to initiate procedure for assessing the constitutionality of the Law on Amending the Law on Pardons (“Official Gazette of the Republic of Macedonia, no. 12/2009”). This decision is nothing but an announcements of what is going to happen on the next session, which is the annulment of the Law stipulating that pardon cannot be granted to persons convicted of election crimes, on the basis of which the very Commission on Pardons was instituted.  

This legal solution was adopted for the sake of protection of public interest and democratization, as well as for the sake of increased legal certainty of the citizens, which are core values of the constitutional system of the Republic of Macedonia. Therefore, it is symptomatic that today the Constitutional Court passed a decision on assessing the constitutionality of this Law, especially given the fact that this initiative was submitted at the beginning of February 2016, immediately after the Special Public Prosecution opened the “Titanic” case, in which the former ministers Mile Janakievski, Jankulovska, and other persons close to the ruling coalition appear in the capacity of suspects.    

The promptness of proceeding which was exhibited today by the Constitutional Court with regard to this case is a unique example of swift proceeding on certain initiative, whereby its role of an instrument for defense of the ruling coalition party interests is very transparently displayed.  

It is not surprising that in this particular case the Government and the Assembly of RM offered opinions that the legal solution was in accordance with the Constitution, because, as a matter of fact, the ruling coalition was the entity which proposed and adopted this Law in 2009, with the aim to limit the competences of the then President of RM, who was coming from the opposition ranks. At the contrary, what is surprising is the fact that, despite these opinions, the Constitutional Court allows to be misused by the parties in power and to initiate a procedure for challenging a legal solution which has positive connotations, especially with regard to elections. Another thing which should also be taken in account is the fact that with the annulment of this legal solution the Commission on Pardons will also be suspended, although the Commission was supposed to provide minimum transparency and expertise in the area of the President's decisions on pardons. 

On account of there reasons, we appeal to the Constitutional Court to rise above the narrow party and individual interests and to pass a decision which will not pronounce the Law unconstitutional and will not annul it. We emphasize once again that such an act would exclude the possibility of pardoning persons convicted for electoral fraud, and would secure legal space for re-building legal certainty and rule of law, as fundamental values of the Republic of Macedonia's constitutional system. 

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