Time: 10:36 p.m. CEST
Nothing is easy for Vladimir Milcin, retired theater director and former executive director of the Open Society Foundation in Macedonia in the past years. Milcin strongly opposes to the most of the political developments in the country and openly with support of the non-governmental organizations pushes for a change, he believes could bring more human rights and rule of law in Macedonia.
His personal struggle with the system of ruling in Macedonia is not even a new one. Milcin did not pass the filter of lustration, a process undertaken in Macedonia just in the recent years. However, as a theater director and former director of the local affiliate of Open Society Institute in Macedonia, Milcin do spend his time to pressure inside the system and requests together with supporters and residents for more democracy.
It was not much different on Thursday night. With a megaphone in his hands, Milcin loudly pronounced the names of five judges of the Constitutional Court of Republic of Macedonia, while protesters and supporters requested vehemently: “Resignations, resignations.’ It was a second night of the protest at the entrance of the Constitutional Court in Skopje. The members of the non-government movement “Ајде” and other supporters angrily whistled holding messages: “No Justice-No Peace.” People held a banner with a text: “To defend the Constitutional Court of the Constitutional Judges.”
What angered members of the civil society in Macedonia in the recent days? It was the Constitutional Court most recent voting of February 24. During the session on Wednesday, five of the nine judges appointed to the Court voted in support of the initiative for changes in Pardon Law from 2009. If the court votes to support the initiative, the President could grant pardons or clemency to those sentenced for crimes against elections and voting, crimes against sexual freedom and sexual moralities committed against child and minor. The assembly voted for those provisions in 2009. On January 27, 2009, 72 MP’s voted “for” the changes in the law, as the transcript of the plenary session says.
The voting of the Constitutional Court judges provoked not only domestic, but also reactions of some of the Ambassadors in Macedonia, after media reports that the ruling was reportedly politically motivated.
Part of the media, which are more close to the opposition and usually reflect their views contrary to the pro-government media, connected the voting with the possibility that the ruling party is setting the framework for the president to grant pardons for those who committed crimes against election and voting.
In the recent weeks, Special Public Prosecution in Macedonia led by a prosecutor Katica Janeva requested, but the Primary Court Skopje 1 in Skopje refuted, the detention for former officials of the VMRO-Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity. Janeva and her team of the prosecutors requested detention in the cases from reported intercepted conversations, submitted by the opposition Social Democratic Union of Macedonia president Zoran Zaev.
After the Wednesday voting to accept the initiative, the Constitutional Court has not published the explanation for the decision on their website. Regardless, considering political momentum and the current political crisis, the decision provoked disagreements. With the changes, the law of 1993 was amendment in 2009 to limit the possibility of the president to grant pardons, something that previous parliamentary group of VMRO-DPMNE did not support in 2009. According to the biographies of the five judges, mentioned during the protests, all five are appointed after 2011.