At the initiative of the Presidential Center for Political Education, a Conference on the “State of Emergency: Lessons Learned and Future Challenges” was organized today. The Conference launches a wider debate of expert and general public regarding the need to draft a Law on the State of Emergency.
In his address at the opening of the Conference, President Pendarovski referred to last year’s situation when, as he said, apart from the health challenges, we also faced a difficult situation from a legal and political point of view. He reminded that in conditions of dissolved Assembly and paralysis of the Government, the institutions faced a challenge for which many more developed countries did not have a ready answer.
“The state of emergency was the only legal way out of the blockade of the institutions, imposed by the electoral process, at a time when the health system had to be organized to save thousands of lives and preserve economic activity, thus preventing social collapse”, President Pendarovski said.
According to him, today the country has greater experience in dealing with the health crisis. Therefore, as President Pendarovski pointed out, the experience of the past year should be used to timely prepare the order and society for a possible future crisis.
“It is clear that we need a separate law on the state of emergency which will legally regulate all the gaps we faced when we had to organize the system in non-standard circumstances, only on the basis of a few general provisions in the Constitution. It is indisputable, at least for me, that the future law must be a product of the dialogue between experts, but also in the general public and be adopted on the basis of the broadest possible political consensus”, President Pendarovski said, referring to the dangers that transcend political, ideological, ethnic, religious and social divisions.
“The least we can do is face the next crisis institutionally better prepared and with lessons learned from the terrible experience of the pandemic”, President Pendarovski underlined in his address.
The Minister of Justice, Bojan Maricic, also addressed the Conference, emphasizing that the long state of emergency and almost unlimited power was a completely undesirable situation in which the Government was both with executive and the legislative authorizations.
“All this is in line with the claim that the lack of a separate Law on the State of War and Emergency is a legal shortcoming or legal gap that needs to be filled in and that the law should be an additional guarantee and support for our democratic values”, Minister Maricic said, adding that the Ministry of Justice has formed a working group of eminent experts and of the academic community, which in the coming period will work on the preparation of a draft law on war and state of emergency. Minister Maricic also pointed out that the Ministry of Justice also prepared an Analysis of the experiences of the institutions during the state of emergency and the decrees with a force of law.
Aleksandar Lj. Spasov, President of the Program Council of the Presidential Center for Political Education, stressed at the Conference that it is best to pass such systemic laws based on a wider debate, but above all, as a result of a broader consensus.
“I hope we will show that with a constructive discussion we can contribute to the promotion of legal and political culture in our country as an essential necessity after the systemic crises we went through and the existing deep social divisions”, Professor Spasov said.
Welcoming the initiative, Renata Deskoska, former Minister of Justice and full professor at the Faculty of Law “Iustinianus Primus” – UKIM, expressed confidence that the law would be adopted by wider consensus and in an inclusive procedure. Referring to the decrees with a force of law issued by the Government in a state of emergency, she assessed that they are a constitutional category and the only way for the system to function in such circumstances.
Svetomir Skaric, retired full professor at the Faculty of Law “Iustinianus Primus” – UKIM, said that the Covid-19 pandemic made everyone think about an alternative system of functioning. As he said, the adoption of the law on the state of emergency is not only a legal issue but the economic, philosophical and social aspects should also be taken into account.
“The world is facing unknown challenges and it is good to frame them legally”, Gordana Siljanovska-Davkova said, Member of Parliament of the Republic of North Macedonia and retired full professor at the Faculty of Law “Iustinianus Primus” – UKIM. Welcoming the initiative for enactment of the Law on the State of Emergency, Siljanovska-Davkova pointed out to the elements that must be specified in the legal solution, i.e. in a state of emergency not to organize elections, census or referendums, because these processes require a peaceful political situation.
Mirjana Lazarova Trajkovska, a judge at the Supreme Court and a former judge at the European Court of Human Rights, speaking about the cases submitted to the European Court of Human Rights by individuals and legal entities referring to the negative consequences suffered by the Covid-19 pandemic, said that as a country we will learn lessons from the good and bad situations during the state of emergency, which will help in preparing the law.
Margarita Caca Nikolovska, a judge at the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a former judge at the European Court of Human Rights and President of the Institute for Human Rights, also addressed the Conference. According to her, many relevant issues and cases have been opened for discussion, emphasizing that the legal solution should cover several social aspects.
Today’s Conference, which was of a hybrid character, was also attended through the zoom platform by Trajan Gocevski, Nenad Markovic, Veton Ljatifi, Marjan Gjurovski, Besa Arifi, Jelena Trajkovska-Hristovska, Jelena Ristic, Denis Presova, Marko Trosanovski, Zoran Drangovski, Goce Kocevski, Lidija Stojkova-Zafirovska and Zoran Jovanovski, who joined the discussion.