Court backs ‘Communist collaboration’ complaint against Skopje authorities

Earlier today, the European Court of Human Rights backed a complaint against Skopje authorities who targeted suspected collaborators with Communist-era state security services.

Karajanov v. “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” (no. 2229/15)

The applicant, Petar Karajanov, is a Macedonian national who was born in 1936 and lives in Skopje. The case concerned lustration proceedings brought against him. These were proceedings aimed at exposing persons who had worked for or collaborated with the State’s security services during the communist period.

In May 2013, a lustration commission established that Karajanov, a former high-ranking official, had collaborated with State security bodies in 1962 and 1963, as he had provided information about his family and a colleague. It based its decision on the 2012 Lustration Act.

The decision was immediately published on the commission’s website and provided personal information on Karajanov. He contested this decision before the administrative courts, submitting written evidence to show that there had been a mistake in identity and challenging the authenticity of certain documents in the file against him. Karajanov’s arguments were rejected by the courts, ultimately by the Higher Administrative Court in March 2014, which accepted the facts as established by the commission and the reasons given in its decision.

Relying in particular on Article 6 § 1 (right to a fair hearing), Karajanov alleged that the proceedings against him had been unfair. He notably alleged that they had not been adversarial, given the authorities’ refusal to consider evidence he had proposed, that there had been no oral hearing at any stage of the proceedings and that the authorities had failed to provide sufficient reasons for their decisions.

Further relying on Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life), he complained about the commission’s publication of the decision against him on its website before it had become final and the damaging effects of this on his reputation.

Violation of Article 6 § 1
Violation of Article 8

Just satisfaction: EUR 4,500 (non-pecuniary damage) and EUR 1,000 (costs and expenses)

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