Junior party in the government of Nikola Gruevski says it will only back the new Lustration Law, which aims to purge former police informants from public office, if there is also a law on rehabilitation of victims of past regimes.
Skopje | Photo by: Balkan Insight
The Democratic Union for Integration, DUI, says it will only support the draft law if it is matched by another law rehabilitating victims of the past ideological injustices.
“The lustration law makes no sense without the parallel rehabilitation of the victims [of he past],” Suzana Saliu, parliament’s deputy speaker and a DUI legislator, said.
She said the DUI has already drafted a rehabilitation law to be submitted to parliament. She insists that many of her party colleagues are personally concerned, as they need to be formally rehabilitated.
Saliu’s party originates from the former Albanian insurgency force that started an armed conflict in 2001 that ended the same year with an internationally brokered peace treaty.
Many of the former rebels, now party members and legislators, were at the time considered terrorists and pursued by the police and courts. Some have dossiers even from Yugoslav times.
Meanwhile, the new draft of the lustration law on Tuesday passed the first reading at a parliamentary commission with the votes of VMRO DPMNE. DUI legislators were not present.
Silvana Boneva, head of the VMRO DPMNE caucus in parliament, says they have nothing against the proposal in principle, but adds: “We have not discussed rehabilitation yet. We should first see what is proposed and compare that with the experiences of other European countries that went through the same process.”
Gruevski’s VMRO DPMNE submitted the draft for the new lustration law earlier this month, after the existing lustration law became ensnared in the Constitutional Court.
In March, the court ruled that it was not constitutional to oblige people from a wide range of professions, including clergy, journalists, NGO activists and others, to swear that they had not collaborated with the secret police during the Communist period and afterwards.
It also shortened the time span of the law that was previously applicable until 2019. The court ruled that that it may cover only the Communist period from 1945 to 1991 and not the period after the country gained independence from Yugoslavia and became a democratic society.
Macedonia followed in the steps of many former Communist states that have enacted similar laws in order to address past injustices stemming from politically motivated judicial proceedings.
Those deemed to be former collaborators are obliged to resign from office and if they do so they are guaranteed anonymity.
The main novelty in the fresh draft is that it will make spy dossiers available to the public. They are currently kept secret, fuelling suspicions of the possible political misuse of the lustration process.