Macedonians in Bulgaria and Greece win lawsuit in Strasbourg
The Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights passed on Thursday three very important verdicts in favor of organizations and members of the Macedonian minority in Bulgaria and Greece.
The verdicts refer to cases of breached human rights of individuals - members of Rainbow party, set up by Macedonians in Florina, Greece, as well as of members of the parties of Macedonians in Bulgaria "Ilinden" and "OMO Ilinden-Pirin".
The verdict on Rainbow case binds Greece to pay 32.000 Euros as compensation for informal ban, assault and battery, and failure to set in motion an investigation, all referring to the event when members of Rainbow party tried to post Macedonian-language inscription of party's name on a balcony outside party's premises.
The other two verdicts are generally condemning the prohibition of gathering and political association, as well as the ban on public manifestations, i.e. rallies set up by Macedonians in Bulgaria in late 90's of the 20th century.
The Strasbourg Court passed a judgment upon which Bulgarian State is liable to pay to the plaintiff compensation, although substantially lower than in Greece's case.
In the case "OMO Ilinden and Ivanov Vs Bulgaria", the Court ruled in favor of the plaintiff - the president of the party Jordan Kostadinov Ivanov, binding Bulgaria to pay 6.000 Euros to the plaintiff and 800 Euros court costs.
The Bulgarian State was found guilty in this case, submitted to Strasbourg Court in 1998, because the authorities refused to register the party on several occasions since its foundation in 1990 up to 2004. Throughout the same period, the state had prohibited party's rallies, intended for paying respect to historic figures and dates, important to Macedonians in Bulgaria and also in general sense.
The Court ruled that by such actions, Bulgaria violated the right for peaceful gathering, stipulated in Article 11 of the European Human Rights Convention.
In the case "OMO Ilinden-Pirin and others Vs Bulgaria", filed in the Strasbourg Court in 2000, violation of the same Article 11 of the Convention was established. The Court ruled Bulgarian liability to pay 3.000 Euros compensation for immaterial damage and additional 3.000 Euros for court and other costs.
The Strasbourg Court's rulings in previous similar cases in favor of Macedonians from Bulgaria or Greece were taken into consideration when passing the three verdicts.
Greece and Bulgaria are obligated to execute the verdicts within three months, and are liable to pay 3% interest rate in compliance with European Central Bank's provisions upon breached deadline.
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