This morning, the Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg ruled on the case “Mitrinovski against Macedonia,” in which the state is guilty of a violation of Article 6 paragraph 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights concerning the right to a fair trial. Macedonia will need to pay Mitrinovski 4,000 euros of immaterial damages and additional 1,230 euros to cover court costs.
Jordan Mitrinovski is a former judge and president of the Court of Appeal in Skopje. He was dismissed from his post in 2011 because of his decision in 2010 to put tobacco boss Bajrush Sejdiu under house arrest. The decision was personally opposed by president of the Supreme Court Jovo Vangelovski, and he personally asked the Judicial Council to dismiss Mitrinovski.
In its judgment, Strasbourg Court assessed that the fear of former judge Mitrinovski that Supreme Court president played a biased role in the decision of the Judicial Council is legitimate.
The decision of the European Court of Human Rights reads:
“The court finds that Mr. Mitrinovski had legitimate grounds to fear that the Supreme Court president had already convinced himself that he should be dismissed because of professional misconduct before the issue came to the Judicial Council. The request of the President of the Supreme Court initiated the process before the Judicial Council, where he submitted evidence and arguments in favor of the allegations of professional misconduct, so he played the role of prosecutor. Then he participated in the decision as a member of the Judicial Council.
System that enables the President of the Supreme Court – which initiated the procedure in question – to participate in the decision to dismiss Mitrinovski, casts doubt on his impartiality. European Court of Human Rights estimates that the role President of the Supreme Court in the procedure was neither objective nor subjective impartial. Therefore, there is a violation of Article 6 paragraph 1 of the expense of a lack of impartiality by the Judicial Council.”