Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Violations of Human Rights of Macedonian Citizens with a Bulgarian Ethnic Consciousness 1990-1997

There were many manifestations of Bulgarian ethnical awareness in Macedonia in the recent years, but those sentiments were brutally persecuted.

On June 2nd, 1991, Mr.Ilia Ilievski, chairman of Human Rights Party in Macedonia was arrested by the Yugoslav authorities at the Bulgarian - Yugoslav border. His party was registered on December 14th, 1990 in accordance with decision No 23-4029/ 1-90.
Bulgarian literary language books and other Bulgarian materials were confiscated from him. In the beginning of September, 1991, he was deprived of his passport. In this way he was prevented from taking part in the International Conference on Human Rights in Moscow. According to a memorandum promulgated on September 12th, 1991

"The Party for Human Rights has gathered, relying only on its own sources, information for over 23000 people killed or missing and over 150 000 cruelly repressed, most of whom were people with Bulgarian sympathies".

At the time of the referendum for independence, the Bulgarian national television showed an agent of the secret service beating up a Macedonian citizen merely because he had declared in an interview that there was no difference between Bulgarians and Macedonians.

On November 29th, 1991, the secretary of the Municipal Committee of VMRO-DPMNE in the town of Veles, Georgi Kalauzarov, burned an Yugoslav flag hanging from the terrace of an office building of the Socialist Party of Macedonia. He declared that his act was "a protest against the fact that Macedonian soldiers were decaying for the interests of Great Serbia"[9]. Meanwhile, on December 19th, 1991, the Republic of Macedonia proclaimed its independence and less than a month later, on January 16th, 1992, Bulgaria became the first country in the world to recognise the new state. The government of Macedonia officially began to regard the Yugoslav army as an occupying force. Despite of all that, on June 12th, 1992, the so called Veles trial was set up against G. Kalauzarov and eleven of his followers for the burning of the Yugoslav flag.

In order to prepare the public opinion for the outcome of the trial which was decided in advance, the defendants were branded as Mihailovists and Bulgarophils[10]. In New Macedonia, a newspaper close to the regime , in an anonymous article it was announced that the defendants could not be Macedonians, since they possessed Bulgarian and 'vrhovist' literature, found with them during their detention[11]. G. Kalauzarov was deprived both of his identity card and of his passport. One night the windows of his house were broken with stones. He also received an anonymous threatening letter with a warning that he would be punished because of his struggle for the disintegration of the (already non-existent) Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The families of the arrested were not informed for more than 10 days that the detained had been taken to a prison in Skopje. During the preliminary inquest the defendants suffered physical and mental torment. The indictment was handed to them only few days before the beginning of the trial. Although the trial was declared open to the public, the Macedonian police did not allow several buses carrying members of VMRO-DPMNE, who intended to offer moral support to the defendants to arrive. In front of the court house hundreds of citizens gathered, but none was admitted to the trial. During the first recess, the two journalists from Bulgaria attending the trial were evicted. At the trial the group was accused of being Mihailovists and Bulgarophils. During the questioning the prosecutor called the defendant Zhivko Petrushev from Tetovo, by the family name Petrushevski. The defendant objected: "My name is not Petrushevski, my name is Petrushev and I am a Macedonian Bulgarian[12] ". (IIM has a taped record with the statements of one of the defendants). One of the defendants, sent a letter to the Bulgarian president Zhelio Zhelev, signed with the alias K. Veleshki, (His name is known to IIM) where he stated:
"In Macedonia the cause of the Bulgarian ethnic awareness is not lost. On the contrary - it is reviving again now, and we want this revival to be felt by all of the Bulgarian people". [13]

The campaign against the defendants continued during the following years. The only accusation was that the activity of the group:

"could have caused great bloodshed at the hands of the then Yugoslav National Army, especially when the dangerous terrorist, in the face of SFRY (Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) burned the Yugoslav flag on 29.11.1991". [14]

In fact this charge was made three years after the secession of the Republic of Macedonia from Yugoslavia. The methods used in the propaganda campaign were similar to the ones used by the frequent anti-Bulgarian propaganda campaigns during Tito's times: "Krum Chushkov (one of the defendants) as a student and as a disciple of the occupying royalist Bulgaria, entered the 'Brannik' organisation, in about 1945, with a group of intellectuals he was under trial for allegedly preparing to commit acts of terrorism. Later he became friends with Kalauzarov".[15] The devious deviousness is evident from the fact that in 1945 the 'Brannik' organisation was already disbanded, and so could not have been active in Macedonia.

On June 22 Th., 1992, another defendant, Gotse Chushkov, made a statement in front of Radio Free Europe's correspondence post in Belgrade about "the most cruel methods of physical tortures, beatings and maltreatment's", suffered by the detained during investigations.

On October 20th, 1995, the trial in Veles was re-opened. The defendants had to spend 43 months under investigation. The main prosecutor in the trial was an ex-officer with 30 years of experience in the Yugoslav secret services.
It is still a common practice of the Macedonian police to confiscate all kinds books and other materials written in Bulgarian literary language from Macedonian citizens.

According to protocol N 239-01/339 from December 28th, 1991, many documents and photocopies in Bulgarian literary language were taken from Slavtcho Cekovski.
What is ironic is that in the supposedly independent Republic of Macedonia, these confiscations are carried on the grounds of article 14 of the Yugoslav Law for Import and Dissemination of Foreign Mass Media, passed in 1974 (see appendix No 1). In 1992, Slavtcho Cekovski tried to establish an association of the Bulgarians in Republic of Macedonia. He even managed to publish one issue of a bulletin called "All- Macedonian Movement for the Rights and Freedom of the Bulgarian Christians and Muslims in the Republic of Macedonia". The authorities banned is activities.

According to protocol 71-01/91 from March 18th, 1992, many Bulgarian literary language books, booklets and badges with the image of Todor Alexandrov printed on them, were confiscated from the Macedonian citizen Angelko Mitrev (see appendix No 2). On November 16th, 1992, the police conducted a search of his home and according to the protocol, found booklets with the image of Ivan Mihailov, issues of the Bulgarian newspapers "Macedonia" and "Zora" (Dawn), issues of "Macedonian Tribune", published in USA, and the book "VMRO" (IMRO) - written by Ivan Mihailov, published in Brussels, Belgium; all were taken from him. Specifically in the police protocol was written: "REMINDER: all the magazines are printed in Bulgarian" (see appendix No 3). As if using Bulgarian is a horrendous crime! Of course by the term "Bulgarian" the Macedonian police understands the Bulgarian literary norm, which for the displeasure of the Skopje regime remains easily legible and understandable even for Macedonians who come in touch with it for a first time and who by no stretch of imagination could honestly regarded it as a completely foreign language.

That is how the victim describes the reasons for the search:
"Few days earlier I met with some friends. We talked about Macedonia. I took out one of the badges with the image of Todor Alexandrov and told one boy: have it and wear on your chest the image of Todor Alexandrov because he is the eagle of Macedonia. These words were heard by a man who used to be an officer in the Serbian Army. We began to argue. Later he went to the police office and told them about me. So they cane home". [16]

Angelko Mitrev handed to the government of the Republic of Macedonia a written objection, protesting the confiscation of his materials. But according to decision 28/11- 409/ 1-92, his complaint was rejected because: "As he admitted, he was going to spread them among his friends" (see appendix No 4).
The Macedonian authorities have taken some measures in order to prevent their citizens from visiting Bulgaria. For that reason on April 26th, 1992, it was decided to charge with a fee of 30 DM every Macedonian citizen who was leaving Macedonia for Bulgaria. No such fee was asked from the Macedonian citizens who visited other neighbouring countries.

All attempts of ethnic Bulgarian organisations to obtain legal registration register continue to be brutally suppressed in the Republic of Macedonia.
On June 7th, 1993, documents for the registration of organisation called VMRO were launched in the branch of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Ohrid. According to article 1, of the proposed party statute, the organisation was defined as a "democratic, independent, national and political organisation of the Macedonian Bulgarians". According to article 11 of its proposed statute: "VMRO will strive to save the traditions and to revive Bulgarianness (the Slavic traits of the Macedonian Bulgarians) in Macedonia".

A protocol describing the events of the constituent assembly that took place on June 5th, 1993 was produced. From the conference protocol it is evident Vladimir Paunkovski was elected as chairman and that the constituents rejected the ethnic implications of the term "Macedonian people". They declared:
"We consider that all the nationalities that inhabit Macedonia have a consciousness that they belong together, so that all of them share the common name "Macedonian people".
However, the authorities in Skopje refused to register the newly created organisation. After a decision of the Supreme Court of Macedonia in the same sense, the organisation self-disbanded, but entrusted the members of the Central Committee (CC) to continue with the attempts to obtain a registration.

The leader of VMRO, V. Paunkovski, has left Yugoslavia for political reasons in June 1986 and settled in Switzerland. Optimistic about the democratic processes going on in the Republic of Macedonia, he returned in December 1991. In 1995, V. Paunkovski became a chairman of a committee, which on August 2, intended to conduct a commemorative service at the grave one of the voivodas (leaders) of the historical VMRO - Toma Davidov in the Village of Ozdoleni near Ohrid. For the occasion the committee printed posters and sent invitations to sympathisers in the Republic of Macedonia and abroad. Invitations were also sent to the ambassadors of the USA, Germany and Russia, to the Macedonian president Kiro Gligorov and to the Human Rights Office in Skopje. Notice of the commemoration, along with copies of the posters, were handed by the organisers to the office of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Ohrid on July 18, 1995. On July 25th, 1995, two policemen went to V. Paunkovski's apartment and personally let him know that the conducting of the commemoration was forbidden. All the posters were seized. At the same time they refused to present a written decision of that prohibition and a confirmation that the materials had been confiscated.

On July 27th, 1995, Vladimir Paunkovski was called by the telephone to come to the police office and was detained there from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. He was made to sign a declaration that he had been informed about the prohibition of the commemoration service, but he was not given a copy of it. He was told that every attempt to visit the grave of Toma Davidov will trigger a ruthless reaction of the police. Paunovski was beaten by the ethnic Serb Atsa Chancharevich, an officer in the MIA in Skopje. Because of all that, Paunkovski's Action Committee decided to commemorate the event in a motel called 'Kotsare' near Ohrid. On August 2nd, Mr. Paunovski was arrested in his apartment and detained by the police at 8 p.m. and kept in the police until 9 p.m. He was told that they had to hold an 'important conversation' with him but no conversation took place. At the same time his lawyer Savo Kotsarev from Skopje, inquired at the police office about Paunkovski but he was told that they didn't know anything about him.

On the same day the Macedonian police prevented the Bulgarian Member of Parliament Evgeniy Ekov (an co-chairman of VMRO-SMD) from visiting Ozdoleni by car, in spite of his diplomatic immunity. He was told that he might go there only alone and on foot. At the same time his car had to be returned to Ohrid, because as it was parked by the road it supposedly hindered the traffic.

On October 25th, 1995, Mr. V. Paunkovski was arrested at the Skopje Airport and his Macedonian passport was confiscated. He was detained for 5 days and cruelly maltreated. All these steps were taken to impede his visit to Austria, at the invitation of professor Otto Kronsteiner from Salzburg University. There he was to read a report about the Bulgarian character and on the dialectical basis of the literary norm used in Skopje called Macedonian language. While Mr. Paunkovski was detained, his apartment was robbed. There were no signs that the door had been forced (at that time Mr. Paunkovski's keys were held by the police). Signs written in a non-standard Macedonian dialect with a mixed Serbian Latin and Cyrillic script: "Bulgarians get out of Macedonia", and "All Bulgarians that live here will die" appeared on the wall. The losses from the theft and the stolen plane ticket amounted to more than 10 000 DM.

On that occasion, on November 8th, 1995, professor Otto Kronsteiner sent the following open letter to the president of the Macedonian Academy of Science - Professor Bozhidar Vidoeski, to the rector of Skopje University, and to the dean of the Philological Department of the same University:
" We just learned that a Macedonian scholar, who did not refuse to participate (in the Slavistic dabates in Salzburg university), was detained by the authorities at the airport in Skopje, just before his departure for Salzburg... If you consider it imperative by such measures to save and inspire live into the Macedonian nation and assert the Macedonian as a national language , then your actions only confirm that in your Republic, there is a reign of terror over the convictions of the citizens and that a suppression over the open expressions of their opinions is exerted. This way, your Republic and your Macedonian language will only become a symbol of injustice. You counter the struggle for spiritual and intellectual freedom, waged by scholars and students from other countries with a meaningless old ideology, which you try to preserve by pseudo-scientific means".

In order to turn the public opinion against Mr. Paunkovski, the Macedonian authorities accused him of not paying alimony for his daughter Natasha. According to decision No 9/96 of the City Court in Ohrid, Paunkovski was imprisoned for 30 days. The execution of the sentence began on March 4th, 1996. After he was released from prison, a representative of the International Institute for Macedonia met V. Paunkovski on April 5th, 1996. During a walk along Ohrid's quay, around noon, the group met by chance with one of Paunkovski's interrogators, who told him: "For one thing or another you will be back in prison".
Because of those brutal repressions, Paunkovski presented his grievances to the Minister of Internal Affairs at that time, L. Frchkovski, and renounced his Macedonian citizenship. He declared:
"I, who by ethnical origin am a Macedonian Bulgarian, a citizen of Republic of Macedonia, in a clear conscience voluntarily renounce my Macedonian citizenship. The reason for my denouncement is the violation of my human rights on the part of the country" (appendix No 5).
In an interview to "Fokus" newspaper Mr. Paunkovski decleared:
"I accept the concept of a Macedonian nation but only in its implication of statehood. According to us, Macedonia is a territorial unit inhabited by ethnic Bulgarians, Serbs, Vlahs, Albanians, Greeks, Turks and Gypsies, but with no ethnic Macedonians. That is a category fabricated by the communists...I confirm that everything that the official history or literature promotes throughout the country is false and is a robbery of the cultural and historical inheritance of Bulgaria... I guarantee that in Ohrid alone there are from 10.000 to 15.000 people who privately admit that they are Bulgarians and feel like Bulgarians, but they are afraid of saying so in public".[17]
On December 21st, 1995, at 7.30 a.m., another member of VMRO-Ohrid - Riste Manev, was arrested. He was taken away by a police car, but the police denied any knowledge of the whereabouts of the arrested man in front of his family. Furthermore, such repressive acts were taken against Georgi Nastevski, Stavre Temelkovski, Pipilevski and others, all members of VMRO-Ohrid.
On May 1st, 1996, V. Paunkovski addressed the Bulgarian president Z. Zhelev with a request for a Bulgarian citizenship, since his own Macedonian identity documents had been confiscated the previous year and he could not leave the Republic of Macedonia. In his request he emphasised that as a patriot, he would continue to live in Ohrid. Mr. Paunkovski also requested to restore his surname to Pankov - the surname used by his forfeitures before they were forced to alter it to 'Paunkovski' after 1944.
On November 8th, V. Paunkovski was detained at the Ohrid airport for a sixth time. The Macedonian police took away his new Bulgarian passport, on the grounds that they "suspected that it was forged."
During that period, the activity of other legally registered organisations was also hindered. The chairman of the Party for Human Rights, Ilia Ilievski, was not given a new passport so he could not visit the Conference for human rights that took place in Vienna, Austria. On that occasion, the party, in its own memorandum No 180 from June 17th, 1993, while defending the rights of the Bulgarian ethnic nationality, declared that notwithstanding its new name, in power was still the old communist party. Because of this action and the statements of its leader published in some Bulgarian newspapers, the activities of the Party for Human Rights in Macedonia ware forbidden at a session of the Regional Court in Shtip on December 9th, 1993. As reasons the court stressed that:
"In fact, the chairman Ilia Ilievski, taking advantage of the name of the party, often acts against the interests of the Macedonian nation and country, renounces the existence of the Macedonian nation and statehood and insists on the "Bulgarian" character of the Macedonian Republic" (see appendix No 6).
It is significant that articles and statements of Mr. Ilievski published in Bulgarian newspapers were presented as evidence against his party. These materials used in court were not rewritten to conform to the Macedonian written norm. This way the Shtip court and after that the High Court of Macedonia admitted that the literary Bulgarian was totally understandable to them. [18]
After the attempted assassination of the Macedonian president K. Gligorov on October 3th, 1995, a wave of arrests swept over the Republic of Macedonia. Mainly persons showing interest in Bulgaria, were prosecuted. Dragi Karev, one of the defendants of the trial against the Veles Bulgarians (Veleshki Bugarashi) in 1992, was arrested by the police in Veles.
On January 18th, 1996, the Macedonian journalist Stefan Sharovski was badly beaten by an army officer in Skopje. He adds to the picture of the arbitrary misrule of the Skopje regime:
"In that context I would like also to mention Dimitar Delevski. He was a journalist for the Bulgarian newspaper "Macedonia", an organ of VMRO-SMD and irrespective of his deposition and positions of the newspaper, the fact remains, that he was prevented from corresponding from Macedonia. In Ohrid Delevski was beaten in a similar way".[19]
The case of Dimitar Delevski and its repercussions is indicative of the nature of the Macedonist regime in Skopje. In 1992. Delevski addressed the Macedonian president with an open letter:
"This attack launched by the MVR (Ministry of Internal Affairs), against my personality and my journalistic activities, will cease, I hope". [20]
On December 11th, 1992, the Macedonian Patriotic Organisation based in USA and Canada wrote a letter of support of Mr. Delevski's activities, to the president K. Gligorov:
"It comes to our attention that the human rights of those who consider themselves Bulgarians are often violated. This is true, despite of the fact that Bulgaria is the only neighbouring country showing an amicable attitude and which immediately recognised Macedonia... We are disturbed about Dimitar Delevski, a Macedonian correspondent for a newspaper published in Sofia, whom the police has ordered not to write for the Bulgarian newspaper any more". [21]
In spite of that interference, the circumstances of Delevski did not improve. He asked for Bulgarian citizenship and such was granted to him by a decree of the Bulgarian president Dr Z. Zhelev in 1995.
According to protocol n. 71-01/127 from March 27th, 1993, two calendars with inscriptions "100 years VMRO, with images of turn of the century revolutionaries and cover of the statute of the historical Bulgarian Macedono-Odrin Revolutionary Committee of VMRO" printed on it, were confiscated from Delevski ( see appendix No 7).
In Bulgaria, Delevski studied journalism and continued to publish articles against the excesses of Macedonism. On November 13th, 1996 in the well in his own property, the corpse of Gerasim Delevski, the father of D. Delevski, was found. A number of facts indicate that he was first killed and then thrown there. The medical authorities refused to make an autopsy or offer a medical conclusion. Close friends of the Delevski family insist that the murder of Delevski was intended to frighten his son.
The repressions over Mr. Vancho Veskov, leader of the United Macedonians Party were closely connected with his friendship with Delevski In the summer of 1992 Veskov gave an interview to Delevski, which due to the difficulties in passing the information to Bulgaria, was published at last on November 20th. Says Veskov:
"The biggest mistake at the moment is that the help of the Macedonians from all over the world and especially of those from Bulgaria, whose consciousness is Bulgarian has been eliminated, I think that in the Republic of Macedonia a discrimination is practised against those people due to their Bulgarian identity. Even the people who feel themselves Bulgarian in Vardar Macedonia are persecuted. The Republic of Macedonia has to respect the rights of those Bulgarians living on its territory".[22]
Right after that interview the police began to terrorise Vancho Veskov. On September 15th, 1992, his two-year-old son was killed with a hunting gun in front of his house. The father declared that he was anticipating such an incident to happen to him. The police did not find the killer and the attacks on Veskov continued. He was forced to leave Macedonia and now he lives in Australia.
Beside the cases with Delevski and Veskov, some other death cases happened in Macedonia, for which it is supposed that pro-Serbian circles of the police, have something to do with. These are the murders of Minister of Internal Affairs Jordan Mijalkov, the officer of MVR Mile Milevski, the leader of VMRO-DPMNE in Kumanovo Mile Ilievski and the journalist from the editorial office of "Glas", organ of VMRO-DPMNE, Ljupcho Atanasovski[23].
On March 8th, 1995 the chairman of VMRO-Tatkovinska (Country's) Party - Dr Dimitar Tsarnomarov was arrested for more than three days and nights in Bitola. After a search, all the documents of his party, literature in Bulgarian literary language have been confiscated. The police refused to give any information to his wife Marina, as to the reasons for his detention and about his physical condition. During the detention he was interrogated again and again about his contacts with some Bulgarian social circles. He was beaten with a butt-stock of an automatic gun over his head and as a result of that his eyesight was non durably injured. In the press close to the regime Dr. Tsrnomarov was continually accused of being a "Bulgarophil" . As a result of all the harassment, on January 3th, 1996, Dr. Tsrnomarov suffered a heart attack.
On October 18th, 1995, Dr Tsrnomarov and the active members of VMRO-Country's Party - Hristo Petsev and Grigor Tsurev were detained in the prison of Strumitsa.
On March 6th, 1996, the 25 years old Trajan Godev - a member of -the VMRO-Country's Party, was also detained for examination. On the same day, he was taken home, under police escort, where literature in Bulgarian literary language was confiscated. Godev complained to his close friends that he had suffered cruel mental torment while in custody.
On the following day, the 30 years old Tihomir Jajnaliev and the 36 years old Dimitar Nicolov were arrested in Strumitsa. The latter was also sacked from his work, all because of his Bulgarian consciousness. The independent Macedonian press described the occasion
"In a classic Stalinist style they were put to mental maltreatment for many hours (from 6 o'clock am, to 2 o'clock p.m.) by the police, while being injured and threatened. However, apart from treating them as enemies of the state, they all were threatened with regard to their rights of free travel, religion and political determination"[24]
On November 6th, 1996, the Macedonian citizens Liljana Stoimenova and Traian Godev were called to the police office for an "informative conversation" and were detained for more than 10 hours. They were interrogated about their contacts with Bulgarian citizens and organisations, and at the same time they were maltreated.
A number of Macedonian intellectuals were put to particularly humiliating harassment. On March 1st, 1996 Professor Dimitar Galev was arrested. He is an author of a number of books containing unfalsified historical documents about Macedonia. Two of them : "Beliot teror vo Jugoistochna Makedonija" (The white Terror in south-east Macedonia)" (Shtip 1991) and "Todor Aleksandrov - od avtonomija do samostojna drzhava" (Todor Alexandrov - from an autonomy to an Independent State)" (Skopje 1996) were really outstanding. He is also a chairman of the Agrarian Party and of the unregistered for almost two years Movement for Friendship and Co-operation between the Republic of Macedonia and the Republic of Bulgaria. On that occasion he addressed the Macedonian public, whit an open letter containing the following:
"I was called to the police for an official conversation, which according to me, was an examination of the loyalty for the Macedonian cause, and by the way I was asked about the book about Todor Alexandrov, about the memorandums addressed to the European Union and to the Organisation of the United Nations in 1992 and 1993, about my stay in America for the congress of MPO (Macedonian Patriotic Organisation) in 1993, about my conversation with the secretary of the Russian embassy in Sofia, about my participation in the session of a forum in R.of Bulgaria in 1993, where the topic "Macedonia today and tomorrow" was discussed."[25]
In a panoramic interview, professor Galev, in an very discreet way, expressed his views on the language spoken in the Republic of Macedonia:
"It is true that at the congress (of the Macedonian Patriotic Organisation in USA and Canada) they were speaking in English and in Bulgarian. But we, who were from Macedonia excused ourselves and said: let us speak the language that our mothers speak, because we understand Bulgarian but we can not speak literary Bulgarian".[26]
As a result of his activities, professor Galev was fired.
Another intellectual, who was put to an enormous mental harassment, was the Macedonian writer Mladen Srbinovski. The reason for the campaign against him were his brave articles in which he openly maintained the idea of the Bulgarian ethnical nature of the Macedonian people. The following are some examples of the qualifications of him written in a single article in a supposedly respectful newspaper:
"On Bulgarian payroll; an alienated Macedonian; Srbinovski (read Bugarinovski); incurable patological case and an oathbraker; proved to be paid by the Bulgarians and callous fighter the for spread of Bulgarian vrhovist ideas; vrhovist of a high rank in his native country; callous Bulgaromaniac; Srbinovski the Macedonophob; one of the most reliable Bulgarians; mad Bulgarian dog;...his occupator-like macedonophobia and distorted spirituality..."[27] This quotations are indicative of the atmosphere in which the Macedonian intellectuals have to work.
A very interesting case was the arrest on October 6th, 1995 of the Skopje resident Marija Stoimenova and her husband Georgi Stoimenov. She had the courage to describe the methods of maltreatment used by the Macedonian police (appendix No 8). The reason for her arrest was that she was a relative of Alekso Stoimenov from Strumitsa who at present is a political emigrant in Belgium and a chairman of MPO "Todor Alexandrov" there. At the time of her arrest she needed to go to the toilet. M. Stoimenova describes the behaviour of the police officers in the following way:
"We stopped and I went to the WC. At the same time a woman went in together with me and stood there next to me while I was performing my most intimate and natural functions. At that very moment I began to ask myself if I was a human being and if I had any human rights.
The interrogation went on:
They began making threats. They wanted me to tell them about the first arrival of Alekso Stoimenov; to remember when did he cone? Who did he come with? Why? Through which border did he come? With whom did he meet? What did he talk about? How long did he stay in Macedonia? Whom had he phoned? What were his ideas? What was the aim of his presence in Macedonia? Why did he come here? Whereabout did he go in Macedonia? And if I didn't tell all that, and all my life during the last 3- 4 years for each day and if I didn't confess that I have carried out the attempted assassination against Kiro Gligorov, I was going to be finished. They were going to change my outlook and I would stay in prison for about 20 years.
Than a conversation began like this:
Come on, tell us when did Alekso Stoimenov come to Skopje for the first time and whom did he meet with? And what did he talk about? What places do I visit? Where do I work? How many times I have been to Bulgaria? What have I brought from Bulgaria and what has Alekso asked me to bring to Skopje"
Than one of the inspectors told me: "if you don't want to confess that you have carried out the attempted assassination against Kiro Gligorov, in a gentle way, we can try a ruder one. We don't have the nerves to wait for you". He went out and five minutes later he came back with a stick. Firstly he began to boast and to hit the wall and the desk with the sick, crying to me "Do you see what will happen to you?" Then he began to push me to the wall and to beat me against it. He was saying: "you are very strong, stronger than the wall. Let me see if you are stronger than the stick ..." All that happened to me, the way I was maltreated and humiliated, happened also to my husband with the only difference that he was also mercilessly beaten. On the sixth day I collapsed, being entirely exhausted of hunger and sleeplessness".
After she was released from the police office, her problems did not finish:
"We called for an ambulance by the phone and when we said who is phoning they answered: we cannot come; go to the nearest hospital, we can not send you an ambulance. We went throughout Skopje to get a doctor's certificate for our injuries but none of the doctors wanted to give us a certificate saying: We do not dare. They will imprison us too".
In the summer of 1996, dozens of Macedonian citizens, who were students in Bulgaria, were called to the police office for an informal conversation. They had been asked if they knew particular persons from VMRO-SMD. If they denied such acquaintances, the inspectors would show them photos of meetings of VMRO-SMD. The students were put under the pressure to drop their studies in Bulgaria.
In the physical repressions against people with preserved Bulgarian ethnical consciousness, the following officers from the State Security Service have taken part: Itse Damtchevski and Igor Galovski from Bitola; Alexander Tsancharevich from Skopje; Stefan Buzovski from Ohrid. No one has ever held them accountable for their actions.


Thursday, March 13, 2008

FYRO Macedonia on trial at the European Court of Human Rights

In relation to violence and racial discrimination against citizens exhibiting an openly Bulgarian nationality, the FYRO Macedonia this week goes before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg

Observations of the Government of the Republic of Bulgaria on application № 74651/01 before the European Court of Human Rights - Association of citizens “RADKO” and Vladimir Paunkovski (Vladimir Pankov) versus the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
01. On July 17 the, 2007 the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) communicated to the Bulgarian Government the application of Association of citizens "RADKO" and Vladimir Paunkovski (Vladimir Pankov) versus the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and forwarded an invitation to the Bulgarian party to intervene as a third party on the case, according to Article 36 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms as the second applicant is a Bulgarian citizens.
02. On August 30 the, 2007 the Bulgarian Government informed the ECHR of its willingness to exercise the right to intervene as a third party on the case.
03. The Bulgarian Government deems that the above application is admissible, grounded and well-founded.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

US State Department joins in condemnation of the lack of religious freedom in the FYR Macedonia

The Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor published the annual report on the situation with the respect of religious freedom in the FYR Macedonia in the course of 2006.

There is an impression that the greater art of the report has been dedicated to the denial of religious freedom to the citizens, members of the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric.

FYR. Macedonia has religious prisoners.

The report deals with the imprisonment of His Beatitude, the Archbishop of Ohrid and Metropolitan of Skopje, k. k. Jovan implying that with the decision of the Supreme Court from February 2006, his prison sentence was reduced “which led to his release from prison, after which there were no cases of religious or political prisoners in the country”. We remind you that the Archbishop k. k. Jovan, after two releasing verdicts, has once again been put in prison, and the Macedonian Orthodox Church has once again filed a complaint against the liberating verdict reached regarding a third charge raised against him. The indicated proverbial corruption of the Macedonian judiciary is not subject to comment in this observation .

Police coercion and denial of religious freedom may be noticed in the following quotation: “In October 2004 policemen demolished a small monastery that was being built by members of the “Orthodox Archbishopric of Ohrid” in Nizepole, near Bitola. The organization’s lawyer conceded that the monastery was being constructed without a permit but noted that other buildings in the area, also built without permits, were not destroyed. At the end of the period covered by this report, the Organization for Security and Cooperation (OSCE) was unable to obtain a copy of the decision by the competent ministry authorizing the monastery’s destruction.”

European Commission criticises lack of religious freedom in the FYR Macedonia

Maintaining the religious freedom is a fundamental right, and at the same time, a condition for the FYR Macedonia in order to fulfill the criteria to join the Euro-Atlantic civilization currents. Unfortunately, the Republic is continually violating the elementary religious freedoms of its own citizens and tax payers. In its last year report, the European Commission presented its attitude that “cases of violations of religious freedom exist” in its report (ttp:// It also emphasized that the new law “should provide more liberal procedure for registering religious communities”.

According to the newest report of the Venice Commission, yet there are disputable items in the draft law of religious communities, especially at the point – registering religious communities. This report will be a subject of the following text.

The Government of the FYR Macedonia, which protects the monopoly of the Macedonian Orthodox Church, is sacrificing the European future of the citizens. Critics point out the Government is only declaratively ready for reforms, while practically the reforms in terms of religious freedoms are tending to be evaded.

At the same time, with the critics, in terms violating religious freedoms in the FYR Macedonia by the International Community, the Fund “Archbishop Jovan” from the United States of America has issued its newest

pdf of report:

Religious institutions vandalised and demolished in the FYR Macedonia

Suspicions have been raised about the FYR Macedonian governement's involvement in the demolishing of a half-built Serbian Orthodox church. The incident highlights the rising levels of ethnic hatred and intolerance in the country . The backlash of the campaign to release the imprisoned Serbian Arch Bishop Jovan is also being felt by the Serbian minority. A monastery was also vandalised in the recent backlash against the small Serbian minority.

the church, of which the contruction had been on hold for some time, was recently demolished by local authorities:

A Serbian Orthodox Chapel was also Vandalised last week in the FYR Macedonia

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

"European best practices" urged on Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

European Parliament Press Release
12-06-2007 - 12:22

EU drumbeat? 90% of FYROM citizens are said to support EU membership
A report heading for July's plenary session is likely to call on the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to look to "European best practices" on ethnic and linguistic differences as a model for its EU hopes. Education and public administration should take account of the two official languages and diverse ethnic mix in this country of 2 million people, the report says. It calls for EU accession negotiations to start in "the nearest possible future", once it meets the necessary preconditions.

Independent since 1991, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) was accepted as a "candidate" for EU membership in December 2005, but negotiations with the mountainous Balkan state have not yet begun.

Small country of many languages and peoples

Although small the country is ethnically diverse. As well as Macedonians it has an Albanian minority of 23% as well as communities of Roma, Turks, Romanians, Serbs and Bosnians. Its two official languages are Macedonian and Albanian.

In early June, MEPs in the foreign affairs committee discussed the EU hopes of the country and adopted by a substantial majority a report stressing among others things the importance of protecting its ethnic and linguistic diversity. It called on the country to learn from the best practices of other European states that have accommodated linguistic differences. In particular it stressed that education and public administration should take into account linguistic differences so "minorities can live with on another on an equal and harmonious basis".

The report goes on to say that it appreciates efforts to enable inhabitants belonging to the two main language groups to "live together in equality and peace". It says that this is being done by including minorities in decision-making and improving the position of the Albanian language in government and education.

Respect for languages key to EU hopes says report

The report was drafted by Dutch MEP Erik Meijer who sits as an MEP for the European United Left and Nordic Green Left group (GUE/NGL). Speaking during the foreign affairs committee meeting he called for negotiations on EU accession to be "launched in the nearest possible future" on the condition that the country "recognises the equal value of languages of its inhabitants".

The current efforts of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia were also praised during the meeting by another MEP with experience in the region. Doris Pack - who heads the Parliament's Delegation of MEPs to South-East Europe - called the country's current law on minorities "exemplary".

Although not a member, the country has already made EU history by being the scene of the EU's first ever military mission with NATO. In 2003 "operation Concordia" helped stabilise the country and enforce a peace agreement as it teetered on the brink of a civil war between government forces and ethnic Albanian separatists. After the failures in the Balkans in the 1990's this was a success for EU foreign policy and the efforts of its chief Javier Solana.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

FYR Macedonia leader 'watched attack' on Albanian civillians

Villager in Ljuboten at the grave of a relative
Ljuboten is remembering its dead as the trial begins
FYR Macedonia's interior minister watched as police entered a village and killed seven ethnic Albanian men in 2001, UN prosecutors have said.

'Criminally responsible'

Mr Boskovski, 46, was alleged to have effective command and control over the forces from his position as interior minister.

"Due to his failure to take necessary and reasonable measures to punish the perpetrators of the crimes committed in the village of Ljuboten, the prosecution will ask you to find Ljube Boskovski criminally responsible as a superior," prosecutor Dan Saxon said.

Prosecutors say Mr Tarculovski, 32, ran a private security unit loyal to Mr Boskovski and led the attack on the village.

Ljube Boskovski (file image)

There is support for Mr Boskovski in FYR Macedonia