The Macedonian courts are mute about the cases of torture

Only last year, the European Court of Human Rights made 5 judgements for torture v. Macedonia, which is a record, i.e. Macedonia was found guilty of violation of Article 3 from the Convention relating to torture. And now you have a situation in which a foreign court, which needs years to act, has more judgements for torture than all your courts.

[Source: “Telma” TV station, “Top Tema” (24:44 – 25:12 from the video) Date: 29 March 2016]

EXPLANATION:

The occasion for this analysis is the statement (24:44 – 25:12 from the video) of Voislav Stojanovski from the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, in the “Top Tema” debate on “Telma” TV station on 29 March 2016. Our aim is to check the authenticity of the statement, but also to see the activities of the domestic courts on the cases of torture. According to the analysis, this statement is assessed as truthful.

Stojanovski in the interview stated:

Only last year, the European Court of Human Rights made 5 judgements for torture v. Macedonia, which is a record, i.e. Macedonia was found guilty of violation of Article 3 from the Convention relating to torture. And now you have a situation in which a foreign court, which needs years to act, has more judgements for torture than all your courts. (Top Tema” debate (24:44 – 25:12 from the video) Date: 29 March 2016)

The statement is given right before the Special Public Prosecutor Office initiated an investigation procedure against seven suspects, with the ex-director of the Administration for Security and Counter Intelligence among them who, allegedly, ordered the use of threats and excessive force during the arrest of Ljube Boshkovski. According to the Special Public Prosecutor Office the arrest of Ljube Boshkovski constitutes torture, which is punishable offence according to Article 143 from the Criminal Code and it also violates the Article 3 from the European Convention on Human Rights.

According to Article 143 from the Criminal Code – clarified text:

One who harasses, intimidates, insults or humiliates the human dignity and character while holding public office, shall be sentenced from one to five years of imprisonment. 

Furthermore, the Article 3 from the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, related to torture, says:

No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

In 2015, the European Court of Human Rights made five judgements which confirm that Republic of Macedonia is responsible for the violation of Article 3 (prohibition of torture) from the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. Those are the cases of Hajrulahu v. Republic of Macedonia (judgement from 29 October 2015), Ilievska v. Republic of Macedonia (judgement from 7 May 2015), Aslani v. Republic of Macedonia (judgement from 10 December 2015), Andonovski v. Republic of Macedonia (judgement from 23 July 2015) and Kitanovski v. Republic of Macedonia (judgement from 22 January 2015).

What is truly characteristic about the cases where the European Court of Human Rights confirms that there is a violation of Article 3 (prohibition of torture) is the absence of proactive behavior from the authorities, for instance, not initiating any investigating measures as well as the inaction of the Public Prosecutor Office when it comes to these criminal charges. Namely, in the case of Hajrulahu v. Republic of Macedonia, besides the violation of Article 3 (prohibition of torture), the authorities’ failure to investigate the applicant’s assertions regarding police ill-treatment and the violation of Article 6 Paragraph 1 from the Convention, relating to the right to a fair trial, is also confirmed.

These conclusions show the passiveness of the domestic courts in regard of cases of torture that involve officials. It is also obvious from the annual reports of the Public Prosecution Office of 2012, 2013 and 2014 that there is no bill of indictment for violation of Article 143 from the Criminal Code (torture).

Moreover, the reports from the Internal Control Sector of MOI also prove that the violation of Article 143 from the Criminal Code is not a rare occurrence. According to the annual report of 2014, there have been 1584 reported cases of breach of authority and dereliction of duty. Also, it is stated that the Sector acted upon 71 petition and these petitions state that policemen have used physical force against citizens.

In the annual report of 2015, the Ombudsman points out that there is a lack of prompt, legal and professional responses from the Public Prosecution Office, upon his requests for cases containing evidence for the existence of justified suspicion that torture has been perpetrated, or there has been inhuman humiliation and punishment. The Ombudsman also points out to the selective approach of the Public Prosecution Office, which prioritizes the criminal charges filed by MOI.

Regardless the wide range of Article 143 from the Criminal Code, the argumentation in this concrete case is sufficient to confirm that the statement of Voislav Stojanovski is truthful.

 

ЛИНКОВИ:

 

Assessed by: Milena Josifovska


This article was created within the framework of the Project to increase the accountability of the politicians and political parties Truthmeter implemented by Metamorphosis. The article is made possible by the generous support of the National Endowment for Democracy(NED) and The Balkan Trust for Democracy (BTD), a project of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, an initiative that supports democracy, good governance, and Euroatlantic integration in Southeastern Europe. The content is the responsibility of its author and does not necessarily reflect the views of Metamorphosis, National Endowment for Democracy, the Balkan Trust for Democracy, the German Marshall Fund of the United States, or its partners.

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