In its 2020 report on Macedonia, Amnesty International notes that the police forces were selective in enforcing compliance with coronavirus linked curfews and on the ban on religious or public gatherings. The agency also notes that “courts barely functioned, making slow progress in prosecuting individuals charged with violating COVID-19 restrictions”.
Regarding the state of the judiciary, the brief report notes the collapse of the Special Prosecutor’s Office and the subsequent sentencing of Special Prosecutor Katica Janeva.
Legislation in March closed the Special Prosecution Office, created in 2015 with jurisdiction over alleged serious crimes, including human rights violations, by former government ministers and officials. Over 20 unprosecuted cases were transferred to the Public Prosecutor. The trial of the former secret police chief and Interior Minister for their involvement in unlawful surveillance continued. In June, former Special Prosecutor Katica Janeva was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment for abuse of office, the report states.
The report also mentions cases of hate speech against Albanians and Muslims, discrimination of Roma, including a well publicized incident during the initial stage of coronavirus quarantines, cutting of funding for the NGO organizations and the attack on a LGBT activist from Tetovo. Regarding migrants, “the NGO Macedonian Young Lawyers Association reported that by 30 September 24,153 refugees and migrants had been prevented from entering the country or were unlawfully pushed back to Greece”.