U.no.52/2008

U.no.52/2008

Вовед

On the basis of Article 110 of the Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia and Article 71 of the Book of Procedures of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Macedonia (»Official Gazette of the Republic of Macedonia«, no.70/1992), at its session held on 12 November 2008, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Macedonia passed the following

RESOLUTION

Текст

1. NO PROCEDURE IS INITIATED for the appraisal of the constitutionality of

a) the separately challenged part: “I swear” of Article 50 paragraph 1 of the Law on the Courts (»Official Gazette of the Republic of Macedonia«, no. 58/2006) and
b) the Law on Changing the Law on Holidays of the Republic of Macedonia, no.18/2007).

2. The initiative in the part requesting mutual assessment of the concordance of Article 50 paragraph 1 of the Law on the Courts with Article 43 paragraph 1 of the same Law IS DISMISSED.

3. The resolution shall be published in the “Official Gazette of the Republic of Macedonia”.

4. Olgica Ristovska from Kochani and Zarija Aleksovski from Kichevo submitted two individual initiatives to the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Macedonia to instigate a procedure for the appraisal of the constitutionality of the provisions in the laws noted in items 1 and 2 of the present resolution.

In her initiative, Olgica Ristovska notes that in 1985 she became a judge in the Kochani Municipal Minor Offences Court, and that she had been an atheist for many years which is why it did not bother her to take solemn oaths, that is, to swear when she was elected to carry out the office of a judge. However, according to her current religious belief she was a newly-born Christian studying the Holy Bible, who believes in the word of God and strives to live what has been written for the love of God, but also for fear of the anger of God. For these reasons the solemn oath in the challenged Article 50 paragraph 1 of the Law on the Courts was in conflict with her faith.

Additionally, the initiative cites parts of the Holy Bible in the Gospel according to Mathew (Chapter V, verses 34 and 37) and the Legation according to Jacob (Chapter V, verse 12) and notes that the challenged Article 50 paragraph 1 of the Law especially in the part: “I swear”, owing to her religious belief puts her in an unequal position with the other citizens and discriminates her, which was in contradiction with Article 43 paragraph 1 of the same Law and with Articles 19, 25, 32, 51 and the Amendment VIII item 1 of the Constitution.

Given that the submitter of the initiative applied for the position of president of the Kochani Basic Court, in the procedure of which it was envisaged to take a solemn oath prior to coming to office, and then the jury judges to take an oath before her in such a capacity, she considers that it what was stipulated was against her personal beliefs, that is, convictions.

In addition, the submitter of the initiative did not see the sense of swearing by atheists, as swearing was fear from damnation which only believes had, and not those who did not believe that there is God. Also, from a legal point of view, the submitter of the initiative found the swearing to be unnecessary, as no judge had been discharged owing to the deviation from the swear as such, but owing to the existence of grounds from the Law.

5. At its session the Court found that under Article 50 paragraph 1 of the Law on the Courts, prior to coming to office the judge and the jury judge takes a solemn oath which reads as follows:

“I do declare and swear that in the performance of the office of a judge I shall respect the Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia, the laws and international agreements ratified in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia, that I shall adjudicate legally, honestly, conscientiously, independently and responsibly, and that I shall protect the freedoms and rights of the individual and citizen”.

6. Under Article 19 of the Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia the freedom of religious confession is guaranteed (paragraph 1). The right to express one’s faith freely and publicly, individually or with others is guaranteed (paragraph 2).

Under Amendment VII to the Constitution, the Macedonian Orthodox Church, as well as the Islamic Religious Community in Macedonia, the Catholic Church, the Evangelical-Methodist Church, the Jewish Community and the other religious communities and religious groups are separate from the state and equal before the law (item 1). Item 1 replaces paragraph 3 of Article 19 of the Constitution.

Under Article 25 of the Constitution, every citizen is guaranteed the respect and protection of the privacy of his/her personal and family life and of his/her dignity and repute.

Under Article 32 paragraph 1 of the Constitution, everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, protection at work and material assistance during temporary unemployment. Under paragraph 2 of this Article, every job is open to all under equal conditions. Under paragraph 5 of the same Article in the Constitution, the exercise of the rights of employees and their position are regulated by law and collective agreements.

Under Article 51 paragraph 1 of the Constitution, in the Republic of Macedonia laws shall be in accordance with the Constitution and all other regulations in accordance with the Constitution and law.

Under Article 118 of the Constitution, international agreements ratified in accordance with the Constitution are part of the internal legal order of the Republic of Macedonia and cannot be changed by law.

The Council of Europe Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms was ratified by a Law published in the “Official Gazette of the Republic of Macedonia”, no.11/1997.

Article 9 of the European Convention refers to the freedom of thought, conscience and religion. Under paragraph 1 of this provision, everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance. Under paragraph 2, freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

Under Article 14 of the Convention, the enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this Convention shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status.
Under Article 18 of the United Nations Universal Declaration for Human Rights, everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
Under Article 18 of the United Nations International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights, everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.
No one shall be subject to coercion which would impair his freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice.
Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health, or morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.
From the analysis of Article 19 of the Constitution and Amendment VII to the Constitution it arises that freedom of confession of faith defined as a constitutional principle implies that the confession of faith is free and is strictly personal matter of the individual, that is, it is an integral part of the individual’s privacy. Hence, it means right to every citizen to affiliate to any religion, with a right to profess its teaching, and on the other hand, right to every citizen not to affiliate to any religion. The very determination that confession of faith is an individual’s private matter defines the relation of religious communities towards the state. Namely, under the Constitution, the Macedonian Orthodox Church, as well as the Islamic Religious Community in Macedonia, the Catholic Church, the Evangelical-Methodist Church, the Jewish Community and other religious communities and religious groups, are separate from the state and equal before the law. They are equal in the performance of their matters and rites and are subject to an equal treatment within the Constitution and laws which indicates that there may not be one state religion that would be favoured and controlled by the state. Concomitantly, the content of Article 19 merges with Article 25 of the Constitution in which every citizen is guaranteed the respect and protection of the privacy of his/her personal and family life and of his/her dignity and repute.

From the analysis of all constitutional provisions it also derives that the Constitution does not govern at all the issue about the content of the solemn oath for the holders of state or public functions, which means it leaves it to be regulated by law. Moreover, only in Article 81 paragraph 9 is it that the Constitution has defined that prior to taking up the office the President of the Republic takes a solemn oath before the Assembly of his/her commitment to respect the Constitution, without defining the content of the oath, and such an obligation is not envisaged for the other holders of state and public functions.

On the basis of what has been noted, it stems that both the Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia and the corresponding provisions in international documents treat freedom of belief, conscience and thought as a right which is naturally and inseparably linked with the human being. Namely, religious belief belongs in the sphere of personal, intellectual and philosophical understanding of the world surrounding the individual. It is based on an individual’s own beliefs and convictions and as such they may not be the subject of any coercion or any type of pressure whatsoever which would lead to their disturbance or restriction. Hence, the right ensures appropriate legal mechanisms which enable this freedom to be guaranteed and protected.

On the basis of what has been noted, there has been a question raised before the Court whether the challenged Article 50 paragraph 1 of the Law on the Courts and the determination of the legislator that prior to taking up office the judge and the jury judge shall take a solemn oath, by saying the words “I swear” violates freedom of confession, as a personal right, as well as the right to protection of privacy, personal and family life and dignity of the citizen.

Thereby, the Court took into consideration that the Republic of Macedonia is constitutionally set as a state in which religion is separate from the state, it is a multiconfessional space in which live and work citizens of different religious affiliation, but also atheists and that judges and jury judges are the holders of a public office defined as such in the Constitution and laws. At the same time in a state organised in such a way pluralism of religions implies to have or not to have religious feelings and to practice or not to practice religion according to one’s own beliefs, however although personal, freedom of confession and conscience is not absolute and it may be enjoyed only in a way which will not lead to violation of the Constitution and laws, and of the freedoms and rights of others.

Taking as a starting point the fact that judges and jury judges are the holders of a public office, that is, that they are responsible in the system of division of powers for the realisation of the judicial power, as one of the segments of state powers (Article 8 paragraph 1 line 4 of the Constitution), it arises by itself that in the performance of their function the same should be independent and unbiased and as much isolated as possible from any religious choices or feelings. This for a reason that in the carrying out of the judicial power the judge and jury judge decide on cases which are not always linked with their religious affiliation or communicate with parties who are not always with the same religious affiliation as theirs. Hence, with a view to avoiding any conflict of religions or religious beliefs, a judge and jury judge should not allow themselves in the practice of the judicial power to involve their personal understanding of religion, and their private choice. As a matter of fact, it leads to observance of the constitutional and legal obligation for respect of the Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia, the laws, and the international agreements ratified in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia, an obligation for a lawful, honest, conscientious, independent and responsible adjudication and protection of the freedoms and rights of the individual and citizen, among which is the freedom of confession which in some cases may be completely opposite of the confession of the judge, that is, jury judge, as his/her personal choice.

According to the Court, putting the solemn oath as a personal guarantee of the judge and jury judge to respect the principles set in such a manner, all with a view to observing the Constitution and the laws and values set forth therein, the words “I swear” from the challenged Article 50 paragraph 1 of the Law are only reinforcement of the solemn, publicly given, guarantee in the noted sense. This also if one takes into consideration that the noted words are not said in a religious facility, are not conditioned with putting one’s hand on one of the holy books, there are no other specific, for each religion, accompanying gestures and rites, which would confirm with certainty insertion of a religious act into a segment of the public life (taking a solemn oath). In this direction it arises that the use of the words “I swear” as a remnant of the customs law, which etymologically and semantically originated from the old Slavic lexical fund, may not be brought into connection with the practicing of religion, and for these reasons the Court found that this is traditional and not religious oath. In a situation when the words “I swear” are used to mean assure, convince with an oath in the truthfulness of the declaration for respect of the Constitution and the laws, the same are confirmation about one’s own honour and credibility, swearing in one’s own honour, and according to the Court the words pronounced in this way only reinforce the solemn, dignified act of taking a solemn oath prior to taking up public office, and taking such a type of solemn oath cannot be refused under the pretext of freedom of confession. As a matter of fact, the solemn oath is important not only for the one who has taken it but also for those before whom it is taken.

On the basis of the analysis of the entire Article 50 paragraph 1 of the Law and the constitutional and legal setup of the office of a judge, the Court found that this case does not concern religious oath, but professional oath or more specifically an oath of judges and jury judges, which by its character is an oath to respect the professional choice in the interest of the entire order of the state, and does not have the character of only personal choice.

Accordingly, neither those who have religious choice, including the newly-born Christians to whom the submitter of the initiative belongs, nor atheists may feel affected in view of their personal choices regarding the freedom of confession, as strictly personal, private matter of the individual, but they should understand the determination of the legislator to reinforce, confirm the solemn oath also with the words “I swear” only as assuring oneself, and also the persons before whom it is taken, to believe in the truthfulness of the words that they pronounce when taking the solemn oath.

Taking as a starting point the noted character of the solemn oath, the Court finds that it is not restriction of the freedom of belief and therefore the challenged part of the provision may not be brought into relation with the cited provisions from the international acts.

On the basis of what has been noted, the Court did not raise the question about the concordance of the challenged Article 50 paragraph 1 and especially its challenged part “I swear” from the Law on the Courts with Article 19, Amendment VII, Article 25, Article 32, and Article 51 of the Constitution.

7. With respect to the Law on Changing the Law on Holidays of the Republic of Macedonia, Olgica Ristovska notes that the same was not in accordance with the Constitution as it placed in an unequal position not only herself but atheists either. Also, the provisions of the Law violated her feelings, when as a Christian she was to celebrate religious holidays of the other confessions, such as for instance on the first day of Ramadan Bairam, and she also sympathised with the believers of Muslim religion when they had to celebrate the first day of Christmas or the second day of Easter. Hence, the submitter of the initiative puts a question about how health, educational, court and other institutions function during religious holidays when some of the employees are atheists, some are Muslims, some Christians, some Catholics, etc., who was celebrating when, who was working when, and given that their tasks were interconnected.

On the basis of what has been noted, the submitter of the initiative requests that the challenged Law be repealed as being in contradiction with Article 9 and Article 51 of the Constitution and Amendment VII to the Constitution.

In his submitted initiative, Zarija Aleksoski notes that the reason for submitting the initiative is that the ruling team of the state led by the political party VMRO-DPMNE inserted party policy in the Proposed Law, which was in contradiction with the Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia. Namely, a lot of holidays for which there was no constitutional ground to be declared state holidays were added in Article 1 of the challenged Law on Changing the Law on Holidays of the Republic of Macedonia.

Namely, as to the holiday ‘Ss. Cyril and Methodius’, it was celebrated formally, annually, as a patron holiday by the highest institutions. As regards the holiday of 23rd October, it is noted that on this date in 1893 it was not the VMRO that was established but the Macedonian-Bulgarian Odrin Organisation. Hence, if it was to be declared a state holiday of some revolutionary organisation, the submitter of the initiative proposes that this right belong to the Communist Party of Macedonia, formed on 19 March 1943 as the state and constitutional creator of today’s Macedonia.

In addition to the noted holidays, which he requests to be repealed, the submitter of the initiative notes that what should be repealed is also the whole Article 2 of the Law as it is contrary to Article 2 paragraph 3 of the Constitution (according to the cited content, what is meant is Article 19 paragraph 3, that is, Amendment VII item 1 to the Constitution).

At the end of the initiative the submitter proposes which holidays should remain as state, as they have been celebrated traditionally for ages and there was not ground “especially on those days that there was no instruction in the schools”.

8. At its session, the Court found that under Article 1 of the Law on Changing the Law on Holidays of the Republic of Macedonia, Article 2 of the Law on Holidays of the Republic of Macedonia (“Official Gazette of the Republic of Macedonia”, no.21/98) is changed and reads as follows:

“State holidays of the Republic of Macedonia are the following:
– 24 May, “Ss. Cyril and Methodius” – the Day of the All-Slavic Educators;
– 2 August, the Day of the Republic;
– 8 September, the Independence Day;
– 11 October, the Day of the Popular Uprising;
– 23 October, the Day of the Macedonian Revolutionary Combat;
– 8 December, “St. Clement of Ohrid”;

Holidays of the Republic of Macedonia are the following:
– 1 January, New Year;
– Christmas, the first day of Christmas, 7 January according to the Orthodox calendar;
– Easter, the second day of Easter according to the Orthodox calendar;
– 1 May, Labour Day;
– Ramadan Bairam, the first day of Ramadan Bairam”.

Under Article 2 of the Law, Article 4 is changed and reads as follows:
“In the Republic of Macedonia for the believers of the orthodox religion non-working days and days that are celebrated are the following:
– the day before Christmas;
– 19 January, Epiphany;
– Good Friday, Friday before Easter;
– 28 August, Assumption of Holy Mother of God and
– Pentecost, Friday before Pentecost.

In the Republic of Macedonia are celebrated and are non-working days the following:
– Kurban Bairam, the first day of Kurban Bairam for the believers of Muslim religion;
– 22 November, the Day of the Albanian Alphabet for the members of the Albanian community;
– 21 December, the Day of Instruction in the Turkish Language for the members of the Turkish community;
– Yom Kippur, the first day of Yom Kippur for the members of the Jewish community;
– the first day of Christmas, second day of Easter and the All Saints’ Day, according to the Gregorian calendar for the believers of Catholic religion;
– 27 January, Holy Sava for the members of the Serb community;
– 8 April, the International Day of Romas for the members of the Roma community;
– 23 May, National Day of the Vlachs for the members of the Vlach community; and
– 28 September, the International Day of the Bosniaks for the members of the Bosniak community”.

Article 3 of the Law defines that the Law enters into force on the eighth day from the date of its publication in the “Official Gazette of the Republic of Macedonia”.

9. Under Article 9 of the Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia, citizens of the Republic of Macedonia are equal in their freedoms and rights, irrespective of their sex, race, colour of skin, national and social origin, political and religious beliefs, property and social status. All citizens are equal before the Constitution and laws.

Article 19 of the Constitution guarantees the freedom of religious confession (paragraph 1). The right to express one’s faith freely and publicly, individually or with others is guaranteed (paragraph 2).

Under the Amendment VII to the Constitution, the Macedonian Orthodox Church, as well as the Islamic Religious Community in Macedonia, the Catholic Church, the Evangelical-Methodist Church, the Jewish Community and the other religious communities and religious groups are separate from the state and equal before the law (item 1). Item 1 replaces paragraph 3 of Article 19 of the Constitution.

From the analysis of the noted constitutional provisions it arises that the Constitution set forth equality of citizens in their freedoms and rights irrespective of their sex, race colour of skin, national and social origin, political and religious belief, property and social status, that it guarantees freedom of confession and expression of faith, and religious communities and religious groups are separate from the state and equal before the law. Thereby, in the said but also in the other constitutional provisions the issue of state and other holidays is not put as a constitutional-legal regulation, which means it is left to be regulated by law.

From the analysis of the provisions of the challenged Law, the Court established that it envisages: state holidays of the Republic of Macedonia (Article 2 paragraph 1), holidays of the Republic of Macedonia (Article 2 paragraph 2), non-working days for the believers of different confessions (Article 4 paragraph 1) and non-working days (Article 4 paragraph 2). Thereby, state holidays are a category of holidays with particular significance for the statehood of the Republic of Macedonia, and there are holidays and non-working days which are important for certain category of citizens in which, according to their confession, they celebrate and do not work, while the others only do not work with a view to expressing respect and enabling such celebration.

The stipulation in the Law of different days to be non-working and to be celebrated by different religious communities is precisely in its essence provision of equality of the citizens on religious ground through celebrating one’s own, but also showing respect for the celebration of other people’s values, which is in accordance with Article 9 of the Constitution. Hence, it arises that the members of different religious communities have different values in which they believe or believe in the same values but with a different priority, and that such content difference results in a different manifestation of the belief, that is, they have different days to celebrate religious values which are defined in the disputed legal provisions.

On the basis of what has been noted, according to the Court the challenged Law is in accordance with Article 9 of the Constitution.

10. Pursuant to Article 110 line 1 of the Constitution, the Constitutional Court decides on the conformity of laws with the Constitution.

Hence, taking as a starting point the content of the cited constitutional provision, it stems that the Court is not competent in terms of the part in the statements of the initiative by Olgica Ristovska indicating the practical implementation of the defined holidays, and of the part in the statements of the initiative by Zarija Aleksovski proposing introduction of new holidays or breaking off the celebration of some of the envisaged ones.

Under Article 110 lines 1 and 2 of the Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Macedonia decides on the conformity of laws with the Constitution and on the conformity of other regulations and collective agreements with the Constitution and laws.

On the basis of the noted provision it derives that the Court is neither competent to assess the agreement of religious books with the Constitution, nor to study or comment their content and meaning, and believing that the swear is a fear of believers from damnation may be taken as a choice only of those who are called upon to study and apply religious books.

On the basis of the same provision in the Constitution, the Court is not competent to appraise the harmony of the disputed Article 50 paragraph 1 with Article 43 paragraph 1 of the Law on the Courts.

As to the statement in the initiative regarding the disagreement of the challenged Article 50 paragraph 1 of the Law with Amendment VIII to the Constitution, the Court has found that the disputed provision may not be brought into correlation with the noted Amendment as it refers to the sphere of economic, social and cultural rights of citizens in which the freedom of confession does not belong, being a civil freedom and right.

11. On the basis of what has been stated, the Court decided as in items 1 and 2 of the present Resolution.

12. The Court passed the present resolution in the following composition: the President of the Court Dr Trendafil Ivanovski, and the judges: Dr Natasha Gaber-Damjanovska, Mr Ismail Darlishta, Mrs Liljana Ingilizova-Ristova, Mrs Vera Markova, Mr Branko Numoski, Mr Igor Spirovski, Dr Gzime Starova and Dr Zoran Sulejmanov. The resolution has been passed with a majority vote only in view of item 1 a).

U.no.52/2008
12 November 2008
S k o p j e
m.l.

Dr Trendafil Ivanovski
PRESIDENT
of the Constitutional Court of
the Republic of Macedonia

On the basis of Article 25 paragraph 6 of the Rules of Procedure of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Macedonia (“Official Gazette of the Republic of Macedonia”, no.70/1992) upon my voting against item 1 a) of the resolution U.no.52/2008, I separate and explain in writing my

S E P A R A T E O P I N I O N

With the noted part of the Resolution, the Court decided not to instigate a procedure for the appraisal of the constitutionality of the part “I swear” of Article 50 paragraph 1 of the Law on the Courts. This Article contains the text of the solemn declaration that judges and jury judges take prior to taking up their office and it reads as follows: “I do declare and swear that in the performance of the office of a judge I shall respect the Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia, the laws and international agreements ratified in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia, that I shall adjudicate legally, honestly, conscientiously, independently and responsibly, and that I shall protect the freedoms and rights of the individual and citizen”.

In the explanation of the resolution, which is supported by the majority of the judges, an argument is derived leading to, mainly linguistic, interpretation of the notion “I swear”, to conclude that this case did not concern a religious, but traditional oath which reinforces the solemn, dignified act of taking the solemn oath, and therefore such oath could not be refused under the pretext of freedom of confession. Besides that, the resolution suggests that neither religiously determined ones nor atheists can feel affected in terms of their personal choice, but the determination of the legislator to reinforce and confirm the solemn oath with these words “should be understood only as assuring oneself, and also the persons before whom it is taken, to believe in the truthfulness of the words that they pronounce when taking the solemn oath.”

The difference between my opinion and that of the majority is not in the different understanding of the words ‘I swear”, that is, of what these words mean in my opinion or, what, in my opinion, it should or should not meant to the others. These aspects are irrelevant for the appraisal of the constitutionality of the legal provision which imposes a person to take an oath. Contrarily, this case concerns an essential aspect of “conscientious objection” which derives from the freedom of conscience, thought and belief, as the fundamental freedom of the individual guaranteed by the Constitution. Hence, the question in this case is whether the legislator in the concrete provision sustains the objection of conscience of those persons who due to serious reasons related with their conviction have a prohibition to take an oath and whether under the Constitution he was obliged to do that. Or, in other words, it does not concern what to me and my colleagues the challenged notion “I swear” means, but what this notion, not in linguistic but in moral and social context means to those who are summoned to swear by the law, and that is against the directive of their conscience resounding in their ears “do not swear!”

In my opinion, in such constitutionally relevant and real context (it suffices to point that, for instance, Jehovah’s Witnesses, are not supposed to swear for the reasons of religious belief, as they are not supposed to take arms), it is clear that the disputed part of the provision puts these persons in front of two “evils”: either to swear contrary to their most profound beliefs and moral obligations, or to give up the performance of the office of a judge as they are not supposed to swear. Both solutions lead to a violation of the rights and position of individuals on grounds of their belief, which is not in harmony with both Article 16 and Article 9 of the Constitution. The unconstitutionality of the challenged provision lies in the very absence of a possibility to take the solemn oath in a manner that will not hurt the most profound beliefs of the individual, which, is one of the essential aspects of the protection of the freedom of belief, conscience and thought. In this case it could have been regulated in the simplest way by envisaging an alternative declaration (with and without an oath) with an equal value, as it is done when taking the solemn oath of the judges in the European Court for Human Rights, to note only one example. Thus, it remains to conclude that with the disputed provision the legislator does not sustain the “conscientious objection” which may be stated in view of taking an oath and imposes the individual a conduct which he/she cannot perform without seriously violating his/her own beliefs.

On the basis of what has been stated, I find that there were a number of serious reasons in this case to instigate a procedure for the appraisal of the constitutionality of the challenged provision of the Law.

Igor Spirovski
Judge
of the Constitutional Court of
the Republic of Macedonia

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