Constitutional Court of the Republic of Macedonia
Secretary General

12 Udarna Brigada 2, 1000 Skopje.
Tel: +389 2 165 153, fax: +389 2 119 355
e-mail: usud@usud.gov.mk

No. 10/04
Skopje 28.05.2004

To
Marko Kimev
Ul. “Kochanska” no.2/23
Bitola

We are enclosing a copy of the Decision C.no.10/2004, reached by the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Macedonia at the session held on 12 May 2004.

Enclosure: decision

d-r Stojmen Mihajlovski
Republic of Macedonia
Constitutional Court of the Republic of Macedonia


The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Macedonia, on the basis of article 110 from the Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia and articles 28 and 71 from the Bookkeeping journal of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Macedonia (Official Bulletin of the Republic of Macedonia” no.70/1992), at the session held on 12 May 2004 reached this

DECISION

1. The initiative to commence a procedure for assessment of the constitutionality of the articles 5 and 8 of the Law for religious communities and religious groups (“Official bulletin of the Republic of Macedonia” no.35/1997) IS REJECTED.

2. Marko Kimev from Bitola has submitted an initiative before the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Macedonia for commencing a procedure for assessment of the constitutionality of articles 5 and 8 of the law named under item 1 of this decision.

According to the accounts of the initiative the article 5 of the Law does not give a clear definition of the meaning of performing religious matters and religious rites, which could in practice lead to a situation where a foreign citizen on the territory of the Republic of Macedonia would not be able to practice his freedom of religious confession without the approval of an authorized agency, and posing in the same numerous questions and suppositions which are not in correlation with the content of the disputed regulation.

Article 8 of the Law is disagreed with because its content was not clear enough in the sense that it did not contain criteria according to which the religious communities would be differentiated from the religious groups and because it predicted one religious confession to have only one religious community.

3. The Court at session confirmed that according to article 5 of the Law a foreign citizen may, at request of a religious community, that is a religious group, perform religious matters and religious rites, after a previous approval from the agency authorized for issues related to the religious communities and religious groups.

Also the Court confirmed that according to article 8 of the Law, a religious community, according to this law, is a voluntary, organized, nonprofit community of believers of the same religious confession and that for one religious confession there can be only one religious community.

Further, the Court confirmed that article 8 of the Law for religious communities and religious groups was subject to assessment before this Court from the aspect of the question whether there can be only one religious community for one religious confession after which with Decision C.no.223/1997 from 28 October 1998 did not commence a procedure taking the stance that this legal regulation does not create inequality in the realization of the freedom of religious confession and that this regulation, in fact, protects the citizens from manipulation through the division of the believers of one confession to several religious communities which would lead to legalization of the schism in the church. Furthermore, the Court had in mind the possibility that the believers with the same religious conviction can be joined in a religious group and organize to perform the religious matters and religious rites just as the religious communities. According to this, the Court estimated that this regulation does not create discrimination between the believers and inequality between the religious communities and religious groups and that the determination that there should be one religious community for one religious confession does not create inequality and is not contradictory to the Constitution.

4. According to article 110 of the Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia, the Court decides the concord of the laws with the Constitution and the concord of the other regulations and collective agreements with the Constitution and the laws.

According to article 28 line 1 of the Bookkeeping Journal of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Macedonia, the Court will reject the initiative if it is beyond its jurisdiction to decide upon it.

Having in regard the stated regulations from the Constitution and the Bookkeeping Journal in terms of the request in the initiative to assess the constitutionality of article 5 from the Law for the religious communities and religious groups, for it not being formulated as the submitter of the initiative considers it should be, the Court decided that it is beyond its jurisdiction to assess the constitutionality of the mentioned article of the Law from this aspect. Namely, the submitter of the initiative gives content to the regulation according to which the freedom of religious confession was being limited, and not that it deals with issues regarding the organizing nature disregarding the individual aspects in the realization of the freedom of the religious confession.

As far as the request for assessment of the constitutionality of article 8 of this law, in accordance to article 28 line2 of the Bookkeeping Journal of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Macedonia, the Court will reject the initiative if it had already previously decided upon the same issue and there is no ground for a different decision.

Regarding the fact that the regulation from article 8 from the Law for religious communities and religious groups had already been subject to assessment before the Constitutional Court, from the aspect of deciding whether there should be only one religious community for a given religious confession, during which the Court had decided that the questioned regulation is in concord with the Constitution, and regarding the submitted initiative it does not find grounds for a different decision thus it rejects the initiative.

5. Based on the presented, the Court decided as in item 1 of this decision.

6. This decision, as regards article 5 was reached by the Court with the majority of votes, and regarding article 8 it was decided unanimously by the members – the president of the Court Liljana Ingilizova-Ristova and the judges d-r Trendafil Ivanovski, Mahmut Jusufi, Mirjana Lazarova Trajkovska, Vera Markova, d-r Bajram Polozani, Igor Spasovski and d-r Zoran Sulejmanov.

C.no. 10/2004
12 May 2004
Skopje

PRESIDENT
of the Constitutional Court of the Republic
of Macedonia
Liljana Ingilizova-Ristova

Exact:

SECRETARY GENERAL
of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Macedonia
d-r Stojmen Mihajlovski