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MKD-2001-1-004

a) "The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" / b) Constitutional Court / c) / d) 21-03-2001 / e) U.br.168/2000; U.br.169/2000 / f) / g) Sluzben vesnik na Republika Makedonija (Official Gazette), 27/2001 / h) CODICES (Macedonian). Keywords of the Systematic Thesaurus: 3.1 General Principles - Sovereignty. 3.18 General Principles - General interest. 5.1.4 Fundamental Rights - General questions - Limits and restrictions. 5.3.27 Fundamental Rights - Civil and political rights - Freedom of association. 5.5.4 Fundamental Rights - Collective rights - Right to selfdetermination. Keywords of the alphabetical index: Order, constitutional, destruction / Hatred, incitement. Headnotes: Citizens are free to establish associations of citizens and political parties and to join and leave them. The programme and activities of associations may not be directed towards violent destruction of the constitutional order of the Republic or at the encouragement or incitement of national or racial hatred or intolerance. Summary: Three attorneys from Skopje lodged a petition with the Court challenging the constitutionality of the Programme and Statutes of Radko, an association of citizens seated in Ohrid ("the association"). The petitioners grounded their allegations of unconstitutionality of the

The petitioners grounded their allegations of unconstitutionality of the acts at stake on several points: the programme of the association was directed towards the violent destruction of the constitutional order; they blocked the free expression of the national affiliation of the Macedonian people, i.e. they denied its self-existence; and they incited ethnic hatred or intolerance. When reviewing the constitutionality of the disputed acts, the Court took into consideration not only the association's objectives that have directly and explicitly called for the violent destruction of the constitutional order and incited ethnic hatred or intolerance, but also those activities which objectively led towards what the Constitution does not allow. The association's literature stated that the association is named after the nickname of Ivan Mihajlov-Radko, under whose leadership the Macedonian liberation movement had grown up. The association glorified the work of Ivan Mihajlov-Radko, as the moral and intellectual pillar of the revolutionary and cultural struggle of Bulgarians from Macedonia. His heritage provided future heirs with evidence of the cultural and revolutionary struggle of Bulgarians from Macedonia, they claimed. Thus, the following were indicated as the association's objectives: -the affirmation of the cultural and historical identity of the Slavs from Macedonia, that were known as Bulgarians throughout centuries; -the restoration of traditional ethics and human values; and -the affirmation of the Macedonian liberation movement. The acts in question have also indicated the ways in which these objectives could have been enforced, which were basically cultural forms of activity: the publication of books, a newspaper and electronic media, the organisation of seminars, conferences and workshops etc. The Court considered constitutional provisions related to the freedom of association. According to Article 20 of the Constitution, citizens are guaranteed freedom of association in order to exercise and safeguard

their political, economic, social, cultural and other rights and convictions. The establishment of, as well as the freedom to join or resign from associations of citizens and political parties is free. Nevertheless, Article 20.3 of the Constitution comprises imperative provisions according to which the programmes and activities of associations of citizens may not be directed towards the violent destruction of the constitutional order or at the encouragement or incitement of ethnic or racial hatred or intolerance. In the Court's opinion, citizens' freedom and the right to assemble act is a fundamental value for the existence and development of democratic relations in exercising power, which has the citizens, their freedoms and interests at its core. However the stated objectives of the Association enshrined in its programme and statute have the effect of limiting their freedom of association. In this respect, the Court has the effect of taken into consideration the Preamble of the Constitution, provided that each activity denying the self-determination of the Macedonian people is in fact directed towards violent destruction of the constitutional order, or at the encouragement or incitement of ethnic or racial hatred or intolerance and towards negating free expression of national affiliation. The association was declared to be unconstitutional by the Court. Languages: Macedonian.