FYROM: Minister of (in)Justice asked to resign.

Follows the report of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights of the FYROM, as regards the scandal that broke in the State of Skopje involving the Justice Minister.


Minister Manevski to Leave!

Even in the political sphere in a country such as ours, there is an ethical minimum under which it is impossible to go.

The Helsinki Committee looked into the document, whose authenticity was checked, according to which, after the statement of the Justice Minister, Mihajlo Manevski, agreeing to be deprived of his right to retirement, the Fund for Pension and Disability Insurance requested from the Minister to submit three documents, including the request where he agrees to put his retirement on hold. Upon this letter of the Fund, the Minister has submitted this request and put his retirement on hold as of May 1, 2009[1]. In addition, the Government of the FYROM has submitted a document to the Fund according to which Manevski’s employment in the Government starts on May 1, 2009. This document opens the questions how many months did the Minister receive both salary and pension and whether the Government has tried to cover this violation of the law with his (allegedly retroactive) deregistration and then registration as an employee in the Ministry he already heads for more than two years.

Manevski’s statement in the media after the scandal became public in which he admits taking both salary and pension for January 2009 is a sufficient argument that the Justice Minister did not respect the law.

By transgressing the law, Manevski has lost his political credibility as a Justice Minister responsible for taking care of the rule of law as a main guarantee for protection of human rights and freedoms in the FYROM.

This affair with the Minister in the starring role only adds up to the series of blunders of Manevski in the public showing that he has no sense of the necessity of politics-free judiciary, which is the main objective of the judicial reforms led by the ministry he runs. If a political decision saves him, then this would be a demonstration of Orwell’s quote that we’re all equal, but some of us are more equal than others. On the other hand, the already seriously shaken trust in our judiciary will be brought into question. Particularly because of the evident conceptual clash inside the Government after the draft law on interior, which in regard with the role of the police and the Bureau for Security and Counterintelligence in the process of investigations is diametrically opposite to the concept of reforms of the criminal law, developed by the experts for the needs of the Ministry of Justice. After this scandal became public, Manevski’s stay on the existing function will at least make him a hostage of his own saviors, thus cementing the political influence of MoI’s structures on the judiciary.

Having in mind this indisputable fact that the Minister of Justice did not respect the law, the Helsinki Committee asks Minister Manevski to take his political responsibility and resign his position in the Government. If he personally does not feel obliged to make this imperative gesture, then the Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski should thank him for his services.

Furthermore, the Helsinki Committee believes that based on everything that was disclosed about this case in the public an investigation should be initiated to examine, not only Manevski’s legal responsibility, but also of those who tried in different ways to make his responsibility relative: employees in the Fund for Pension and Disability Insurance (the official that claimed just a month ago that Manevski called off the use of pension, the authors of the letter claiming that the Fund made a mistake…) and the governmental services (who deregistered and registered him as an employee at the beginning of May in the Ministry he heads for more than two years).

Skopje, 29 June 2009

[1]The Law on Changes and Amendments to the Law on Pension and Disability Insurance, which was enforced on January 1, 2009 stipulates that the employed persons that have acquired the right to retirement shall be obliged to choose whether they shall receive pension or salary

Helsinki Committee for Human Rights of the FYROM

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