Macedonia: Government failed in its attempt to eavesdrop without a court order

The government failed in its attempt to eavesdrop on anyone and without restrictions. Eavesdropping will only be possible with a court order issued by an investigative judge.

On December 15, A1 TV reported that the Constitutional Court annulled the disputable provisions of the Law on electronic communications enabling agencies to wiretap as much as they want, without being controlled.

According to constitutional judge Igor Spirevski “If the court is to intervene in relation to violations of this type, then it would intervene with an annulment decision”. The Constitutional Court noted that by attempting to eavesdrop on every citizen, the government violated a number of constitutional provisions, from violation of human rights and freedoms, to violation of the guaranteed secrecy of all forms of communication, A1 TV informed.

The Constitutional Court’s decision arose from the initiative for instigating a procedure for an assessment of the constitutionality of the disputable articles from the Law on electronic communications submitted on July 19, 2010 by the Foundation Open Society Institute – Macedonia, the Metamorphosis Foundation and the Citizens’ Association Transparency Macedonia.

This initiative was a follow up to the campaign of 15 civil society organizations that organized a series of activities aimed at pointing out to the lawmakers the non-constitutional and undemocratic elements that were being introduced with the amendments to this law.

Unfortunately, the parliamentary majority did not take into consideration the suggestions of the NGOs, experts and hundreds of citizens who supported the call for a review of the proposed amendments, so the MPs adopted the counter-constitutional articles during the Assembly’s session on June 16. The move attracted international attention and aside from the disapproval of the opposition, it also caused negative reactions in the worlds’ blogosphere.

Opposition disapproved the adoption of this law, but when the Constitutional Court froze the provisions and rendered them inapplicable, the move was hailed by the expert public, because it was in favor of the protection of human rights and prevented the government from eavesdropping without being controlled, A1 TV informed.

Now, eavesdropping will be performed in accordance with the Law on interception of communications and the Criminal Code, and only after an investigative judge issues a court order.

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