Macedonia: Impunity threatens lasting peace

Richard Bunting, Communications Director at Amnesty International UK, said, 'The police operate in an atmosphere of impunity and there is no indication that the violations committed by state agents will be subject to any investigation, while members of the National Liberation Army (NLA) have been granted an amnesty.'

Human rights abuses committed during the conflict should be investigated and safeguards introduced to ensure an end to torture and ill-treatment. Impunity should be ended and justice vigorously enforced.

Recent assassinations of former National Liberation Army (NLA) members by rival Albanians in the run up to the elections to be held in September underscores the need for all parties to respect human rights.

Amnesty International is concerned that human rights abuses committed during the conflict by both sides have not been investigated and are not likely to be effectively investigated in most cases. The only exception is a very small number of cases in which the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia has declared an interest.

The report documents the following concerns:

- police are alleged to have carried out arbitrary arrests; and to have subjected people who were suspected of association with the NLA to ill-treatment, in some cases amounting to torture;

- the pattern of widespread use of ill-treatment suggests that it may have taken place with the acquiescence of senior officers;

- senior officers, government officials and courts, even when informed of complaints of torture or ill-treatment, failed to take action to investigate the complaints and to hold the perpetrators accountable;

- the system for investigating complaints is perceived as neither impartial, nor independent;

- in some cases detainees were denied their right to necessary medical treatment, including for injuries sustained in detention.

Violations of humanitarian law by the NLA include:

- abductions of civilians. The whereabouts of some civilians remain unknown and Amnesty International fears some may have been victims of unlawful killings;

- injuries to civilians;

- displacement of civilians, the majority being ethnic Macedonians but also of other ethnic groups including Roma, Turks and Serbs.

Read the Report

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