Macedonia: Government corruption (2005 - February 2007)
|Publisher||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa|
|Publication Date||8 March 2007|
|Citation / Document Symbol||MKD102438.E|
|Cite as||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Macedonia: Government corruption (2005 - February 2007), 8 March 2007, MKD102438.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/469cd6a9e.html [accessed 23 September 2014]|
Various sources indicate that corruption in Macedonia is widespread (US 8 Mar. 2006, Sec. 3; Freedom House 2006, 17; IHF 8 June 2006, 265). The Corruption Perceptions Index 2006 published by Transparency International (TI) indicates that out of 163 countries, Macedonia is tied in 105th place with Bolivia, Iran, Libya, Malawi and Uganda (6 Nov. 2006, 6). According to the annual survey in which business people are asked to rate a country's degree of corruption on a scale from zero to ten (zero meaning high levels of perceived corruption and ten meaning low levels of perceived corruption), TI indicates that Macedonia's score is 2.7 (6 Nov. 2006, 6).
A report published by Freedom House indicates that a survey, conducted by the Macedonian company Strategic Marketing and Media Research Institute, shows that 73 percent of the population "believe that the government is corrupt" (2006, 17; see also TI 7 Dec. 2007, 21). Moreover, according to Country Reports on Human Right Practices for 2005, corruption is a concern in the executive and legislative branches as well as in the police and judicial system (US 8 Mar. 2006, Sec. 3). The Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF) reports that the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights of the Republic of Macedonia (MHC) recognizes that corruption "[is] widespread in all sectors of society" and that this problem "affect[s] the everyday life of citizens to the extent that many citizens ... no longer recognize it as a problem" (8 June 2006, 266). Furthermore, according to Freedom House, corruption in Macedonia is a "serious and widespread problem that affects many aspects of social, political, and economic life despite the intensification of efforts to fight it and increased awareness of its negative impact on the country" (2006, 17). When reporting statistics for bribes, the TI indicated that 9 percent of the population affirmed that, in 2005, they or someone else "living in [their] house [had] paid a bribe" (7 Dec. 2006, 17).
Efforts to combat corruption
Sources indicate that the Macedonian government has taken several positive steps to deal with corruption (COE 10-14 Oct. 2005, Art. 71; ICG 12 Jan. 2006). The 14 October 2005 Evaluation Report on Macedonia by the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) of the Secretariat of the Council of Europe (COE) provides the following observations:
72. ... . One of the more significant measures [taken by the Macedonian government] is the establishment of the State Commission [for Prevention of Corruption]. This autonomous and independent body established by law is clearly an important factor for a continuous fight against corruption. The State Commission has both a preventive role and investigative powers, the latter with regard to conflicting interests of public officials.
73. Above all, the State Commission has developed the State Programme for the Prevention and Suppression of Corruption, which is an extraordinarily comprehensive piece of work covering almost every sector of Government, including the public administration. The State Commission has emphasized the importance of having political will and consensus for the State Programme (COE 10-14 Oct. 2005, Art. 72-73).
However, the report also indicates that the GRECO evaluation team is aware that neither the government nor parliament has adopted the new program (ibid., Art. 73). Moreover, sources point to a lack of commitment on the part of government to the State Commission and to the fight against corruption (US 8 Mar. 2006, Sec. 3; IHF 8 June 2006, 266; COE 10-14 Nov. 2005, 22). Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2005 indicated that "[a]fter the government significantly reduced the funds available to the commission in a rebalancing of the budget, the commission charged that the government was deliberately impeding its work" (US 8 Mar. 2006, Sec. 3). According to Freedom House, the success of the commission depends on close collaboration with the public prosecutor (2006, 18). However, a report published by the State Commission, and quoted by Freedom House, notes that during 2005, cooperation between the public prosecutor and the commission was "very limited" (2006, 18). The commission's report also indicates that there "were no real effects of the fight against corruption, and the rule of law remains only a political declaration" (Freedom House 2006, 18). A document published by the International Crisis Group (ICG), recommends that the Macedonian government "take immediate steps to improve ... accountability by rooting out corrupt and incompetent judges" (12 Jan. 2006). No further information on the effectiveness of the measures taken by the Macedonian government to fight corruption could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
Council of Europe (COE). 10-14 October 2005. Group of States Against Corruption (GRECO). Second Evaluation Round: Evaluation Report on "Tthe Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia."
Freedom House. 2006. "Macedonia." Nations in Transit 2006.
International Crisis Group (ICG). 12 January 2006. "Macedonia: Wobbling Toward Europe."
International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF). 8 June 2006. "Macedonia." Human Rights in the OSCE Region: Europe, Central Asia and North America, Report 2006 (Events of 2005).
Transparency International (TI). 7 December 2006. Report on the Transparency International Global Corruption Barometer 2006.
_____ . 6 November 2006. Corruption Perceptions Index 2006.
United States (US). 8 Mar. 2006. Department of State. "Macedonia." Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2005.
Additional Sources Consulted
Internet sites, including: Amnesty International (AI), Anti-Corruption Network for Transition Economies, Basel Institute on Governance, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Global Integrity, Human Rights Watch (HRW), Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL).