The leftist SDSM party is pushing its draft law that would reverse the process of lustration through Parliament, and today it will be up for debate in the Political System Committee.
SDSM demands “nullification” of the process under which a broadly based committee decided to open the files of collaborators and officers of the Communist era police, extending into the early years of independence. The goal was to inform the public of the violations of human rights that were conducted by the police state. It did not provide restitution for the victims or punishment for the perpetrators, other than banning the latter from being appointed to public positions above mid management level. The files of a total of 200 people, some of them deceased, were open to the public, despite attempts from the SDSM officials in the commission to block the process.
The Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court Trendafil Ivanovski was removed under this law, after he tried several times to repeal the lustration law, as he was revealed to have been a collaborator as early as in high school. Former Interior Minister Ljubomir Frckoski was lustrated for ordering wiretapping of opposition officials, while late writer Slavko Janevski for his censorship of writers who would not toe the party line.
But the highest profile among the dozens of cases was that of Vladimir Milcin, the powerful head of the Macedonian branch of the George Soros funded Open Society Foundation, which was heavily involved in the 2015 Colored Revolution. The files showed that Milcin was reporting on beloved actor Risto Siskov, who was jailed in 1980 for insulting the Yugoslav dictator Marshall Tito for the lowly position given to Macedonia and Macedonian national interests – especially the rights of Macedonians in nowdays northern Greece where Siskov was born. Siskov left prison a broken man and died in 1986.
SDSM bitterly opposed the process which included a number of its outspoken activists and supporters. It pushed to have the lustration stopped, even after the 2015 wiretapping scandal revealed that the power security services have even to this day. Zaev’s Government insists that the process was being abused and is proposing a law that would nullify all the decisions made by the Lustration Commission. Under their proposal, lustrated collaborators and police officers will be given the right to claim restitution. It’s not clear whether the Government would also try to return Trendafil Ivanovski to the Constitutional Court.