The diplomats have not violated the Vienna Convention
On 14 April 2016, in the interview given for the Macedonian Radio Television (MRT) which was also attended by journalists and editors from several other TV stations (the quoted excerpt below is a part of the interview broadcasted on “Telma” TV station), the President Gjorgje Ivanov, while criticizing the representatives of the international community that allegedly “are strolling the courts and affect the judiciary”, inter alia stated:
…some ambassadors breached all ambassador authorities that are defined by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. We do not want to initiate conflicts with those ambassadors’ home countries, however, prior to my traditional annual speech in front of the diplomatic corps I told them to review their actions so they won’t be misunderstood.
[Source: “Telma” TV station news (from 16:20 to 17:05 in the video) Date: 14 April 2016]
This inimical rhetoric towards the international community in this specific case represents an accusation of the international community for violating the international norms, more precisely the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations pointed out by the President Gjorgje Ivanov. This very same rhetoric is untruthful.
President Ivanov’s critical tone towards the international community in the country becomes more noticeable with the deepening of the political crisis. This tone is also one note from the absurd agglomeration of “foreign intelligence units, terrorist attacks, country division threats” and other conspiracy theories, which where encased as Ivanov’s justification regarding his Decision to pardon dozens of politicians who are suspected for perpetrating severe criminal offences.
If you carefully read the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations from 1961 that define a framework for diplomatic relations between independent countries, you will not find an Article that would have been the grounds for presidential disrespect of the international community and you will not find an Article regarding the role of the international community in the current constellation of the country.
The proactive role of the representatives of the international community is legitimized by the mandate they have in this country.
For instance, in the case of the USA, their mission in Macedonia, among other things, is to support the legal state and the judiciary system especially in the fight against corruption and organized crime, to support the building of democratic institutions and the implementation of the Ohrid Framework Agreement, to support the implementation of the reforms necessary for NATO and EU accession. Hence the diplomats’ active role in monitoring the court processes, especially the ones dealing with combating corruption.
In EU’s case, the mandate for its cautious monitoring of all aspects of this country’s development comes from Macedonia’s strategic determination for accessing the EU. Namely, the Delegation of the European Union in this country not only represents the interests of the Union and its 28 member states, but it is also strictly focused on monitoring and reporting regarding the country’s efforts to comply with the political and economic criteria for accessing the EU. Between 2007 and 2013, the EU has allocated irreversible assistance in the amount of 622.4 million euro specifically for the implementation of the reforms that would make this country an EU member state. Being an EU member state is what we strive to and is one of the main strategic priorities of the country.
Moreover, the provisions in the Przhino Agreement related to the political crisis (2 June 2015) additionally legitimize the mandate of the international community in this particular crisis:
Between June and the end of August 2015, the EU will facilitate a cross-party dialogue (open to all main parties represented in the parliament) to reach an agreement on structural reform issues. This agreement shall inter alia include reforms that need to be taken in the areas of Chapters 23 and 24, representation in and independent functioning of relevant state bodies, greater media freedom and fully aligning with Venice Commission Opinions and recommendations.
The parties also agree to implement all recommendations to be issued by the European Commission in relation to systemic rule of law issues. Implementation will be reviewed in the context of an inclusive High Level Accession Dialogue involving all main political parties and civil society and ahead of the Commission’s October 2015 Progress Report.
By 31 July 2015, the composition of the State Elections Commission will be reviewed and modified. By 30 September 2015 the State Elections Commission will be given enhanced powers to ensure free and fair elections and a level playing field for all parties. This shall notably include stronger oversight powers. All OSCE/ODIHR recommendation shall be implemented, including revision of the voter’s list according to a new and agreed methodology. In the run-up to the next elections, the government shall request enhanced long and short term electoral observation from OSCE/ODIHR.
The aforementioned arguments related to the mandate of the representatives of the international community in this country, especially in times of deep political crisis, prove that President Ivanov’s statement is untruthful.
- Source: Телма телевизија – Вести (16:20 – 17:05 in the video) date: 14 April 2016 [Accessed on: 15 April 2016]
- Radio Free Europe (12 April 2016): Иванов ги амнестира и власта и опозицијата [Accessed on: 15 April 2016]
- Виенска конвенција за дипломатски односи [Accessed on: 15 April 2016]
- The U.S. Embassy in Skopje – Mission Statement [Accessed on: 15 April 2016]
- Пристапен договор помеѓу РМ и ЕУ од 2007 година [Accessed on: 15 April 2016]
- EU Assistance in Macedonia [Accessed on: 15 April 2016]
- Договор од Пржино (02 June 2015) [Accessed on: 15.4.2016]
Assessed by: Milena Josifovska