Constitutional Court Canceled Changes in Law on Pardon from 2009

Time: 12:27 p.m. CEST

Judges at the Constitutional Court in Skopje decided with a majority vote to abolish the Law Amending the Law on Pardon, voted by the Assembly of Republic of Macedonia in 2009.

File photo:  Nine judges of the Constitutional Court of Republic of Macedonia (photo courtesy of Constitutional Court)

The decision will be effective after publication in the “Official Gazette.” The Court will update and publish the decision on its website. “In the force now is the Law on Pardon of 1993. The president will decide individually who will get the pardon,” the General Secratry for the court Olivera Efremovska said, as publishes. The President of the Court, Elena Gosheva (fifth on the picture) decided to close the session for the public based on Article 85 of internal acts for Constitutional Court, which says the Court could exclude public if the content is related to security, state secret, protection of the public moral or other cases.”

The judges started the session without a public with a decision from March 10.

The controversy of the case created tense situation on Tuesday night with police stopping the possibility for encounter of two groups of residents. Civil initiative “Ajde” organized several protest at the Court, but counter-protesters stopped them in the intention to protest during the hearing session of the Court. Police did not allow journalists to enter inside the Court.

According to the submitted initiative by Kitevski, the Court reviewed the changes in the Law on Pardon from 2009.

Among other articles of the Law, the Court reviewed,  Article 1-a with two paragraphs with the changes of the Law on Pardon in 2009, says: “According to paragraph 1 of the new Article 1 –  with the pardon the President grants immunity from prosecution, or full or partial exemption of the sentence, replaces with a lighter punishment, alternative measures or determines the deletion of the conviction, abolish or determined reduction of a specific legal result of the conviction or sentence. Then, the Court reviewed paragraph 2, which says, “a pardon may decide to revoke or shorter duration of the existing penalties: a ban on performing profession, activity or duty, ban on driving offenders who are drivers by profession and expulsion of the foreigner from the country.” In addition, the initiative request revoking and changes in the wording of the Law on Pardon.

When the court decided to accept the initiative said on February 24, the changes “violates the constitutional right of equality of citizens under Article 9 of the Constitution. The convicted perpetrators of crimes for which the legislator has envisaged can not be pardoned, is deprived of the possibility of being pardoned, apart from convicted offenders of other crimes, which represents a different treatment of persons who have the same status (prisoners ) and are in the same legal situation.”

The tense situation with the Constitutional Court ruling happened amid bigger political crisis in the country and attempts of politicians to uphold to the July 15 Agreement, which should result with the early elections. The opposition and non-governmental organizations questioned the timing for the initiative. It was about two weeks after the Public Prosecution Office for investigation of the intercepted conversations about opened the cases for electoral frauds.


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