At today’s session, the Constitutional Court passed a decision to initiate a procedure to determine the constitutionality of Article 175 of the Law on Electronic Communications. The majority of the judges at the session expressed doubt that the way the Law was regulated, through articles 168 and the disputable article 175, UBK and the Ministry of the Interior were allowed to intercept communications through telecommunication operators freely and uncontrollably.

The Constitutional Court now needs to determine the decision of today’s session, which would be the earliest on July 5th, and then submit it to Parliament as a draft law.

The home of Legislation has a 30 day deadline to submit a notification to the Court on the basis of which a proposal for further decision-making will be prepared. Thereafter, a session will be scheduled where the judges will decide whether to abolish, annul or seek a change of the contested article.

During the vote to accept the initiative was preceded by a fierce and stormy debate between the constitutional judges, who were all involved in the discussion.

Judges Sadi Murati, Natasha Gaber, Ismail Darlisha and Gazime Starova supported Markudov’s proposal to accept the initiative. On the other side, who were “against” were the President of the Constitutional Court, Nikola Ivanovski, and judges Jovan Josifovski, Elena Goseva and Vladimir Stojanovski.

Article 175 was introduced with the amendments to the Law on Electronic Communications from the beginning of 2014 and obliged telecommunication operators “to secure and maintain the equipment, the appropriate interface and to establish electronic communication channels for transmission to the competent institution who are authorized to monitor “.

Otherwise, repealing or amending Article 175 of the Law on Electronic Communications is one of the recommendations in the report of the German expert, Reinhard Priebe, from 2015.