Corner Press release

The UN Committee against Torture / Session on the Republic of Macedonia (cont.) / 05 May 2015 / 3:00 PM 05 May 2015

Yesterday, on the 4th of May 2015, within the frames of its 54th Session held in Geneva, the Committee against Torture of the United Nations was reviewing the Third Periodic Report of the Republic of Macedonia. The session began at 10:00 AM with the presentation of the Report by the official  delegation of Macedonia, and then the members of the Committee against Torture posed questions to which the state representatives are supposed to offer answers. A group of local civil organizations, in cooperation with the World Organization Against Torture, also gave their contribution to the reviewing process, by submitting a Shadow Report.  

The Helsinki Committee, supported by the World Organization Against Torture, the Sigrid Rausing Trust and the European Commission, facilitated live-stream viewing of the Session, which was opened to the public. Non-Governmental organizations, media houses, representatives of International Organizations and institutional bodies of the Republic of Macedonia were invited for the event. 

During the Session, the members of the Committee were asking questions for approximately one and a half hour. These are the questions to which the state is obliged to provide answers, explanations and detailed information. Most of the questions were triggered by the Shadow Report submitted by the civil organizations, and citations and life-examples from it were quoted on several occasions. The Committee against Torture posed the following questions: 

1. Elaborate on the definition of torture and other inhumane treatment in the Criminal Code, Articles 142 and 143, explain which elements it includes, and whether it is in accord with the Convention Against Torture.

2. Offer detailed statistical indicators and information concerning the number of persons against whom criminal procedure on account of crimes of torture has been initiated, what kind of penalty has been imposed on those found guilty, as well as whether the convicted persons have served their sentence and what is known of their present whereabouts.

3. Provide more detailed information regarding the Law on Amnesty, its interpretation  and implementation, i.e. how harmonized it is with the international law and the absolute prohibition of torture under any circumstances, in the context of the amnestied cases of torture from 2001. 

4. Elaborate on the independence and effectiveness of the Ombudsman, with special emphasis on the financial independence and the National Prevention Mechanism budget. 

5. Offer details on the training and education of medical personal, policemen and judiciary bodies with regard to the prevention of torture, treatment of the victims of torture and reparation. 

6. What measures were/are being undertaken regarding exemption of court procedure evidence obtained by torture? 

7. What is the explanation for the double increase in number of inmates and detainees, despite the huge amount of funds invested in the reconstruction of the buildings of Idrizovo, the largest penitentiary in Macedonia, as well as for the inhumane conditions in the prison and in the detention units? 

8. Offer more detailed information regarding the bad conditions and the rape allegation in the Correctional Facility Tetovo. 

9. Offer detailed information regarding the situation in the Gazi Baba Center for Accommodation of Migrants, taking in consideration the reports that inhumane conditions prevail there. 

10. Explain the effectiveness of the measures for prevention and preclusion of domestic violence and violence against women. 

11. Explain the policy and strategy for dealing with illegal immigrants and asylum seekers (amendments to the Law on Asylum), considering the fact that there is permanent increase in number of both categories. 

12. Offer more detailed explanation of the new Law on Abortion, which considerably complicates the procedure, even in the cases when the woman's health is endangered. 

13. Explain the treatment of and dealing with human trafficking victims, with special emphasis on their accommodation in care centers.  

14. Explain the exemption of the civil organizations and the non-governmental sector from the process of policy making, adopting new laws and consultations while preparing the Report. 

15. Explain the reforms in the criminal procedure, implementation of the new Law on Criminal Procedure, and its application in practice. 

16. Offer more detail information regarding the measures undertaken in order to find the perpetrators of the attacks against the LGBTI Center. 

The review of the Republic of Macedonia's Report on the 54th Session continues today, from 3:00 PM till 4:30 PM, when the official delegation ought to answer the posed questions. The Session will be of open kind, and may be viewed at:

http://www.treatybodywebcast.org/treaty-body-webcast-ii/ 

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