AuthorBiljana Kotevska
The national legal system
The Republic of North Macedonia (hereinafter North Macedonia) is a unitary, semi-
parliamentarian, civil law country. It adopts the monism principle regarding the relationship
between international and municipal law, the former being considered part of the latter,
and superior to domestic laws and bylaws,33 and where, if it is deemed fit and appropriate,
courts can use the final judgments of th e European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), the
International Crimin al Court (ICC) or any other international cour t with jurisdiction over
the country.34 Although in theory directly applicable, references to interna tional law in the
jurisprudence of the domestic courts are still very rare and, in practice, the courts d o not
seem to treat it as higher in the national legal hierarchy than national laws.
The Constitution prescribes the principle of the separation of powers. The three branches
of power are: legislative, executive and judicial.35
Legislative power is vested in the Assembly of the Republic (the Parliament). The members
are elected through what the Constitution and the laws set out as general, direct and free
elections and by secret ballot.36 The Parliament has the p ower to adopt and amend the
Constitution and ratify international treaties, as well as to adopt and amend laws. There
are sp ecial procedures in place that aim to ensure that no law tou ching upon issues of
relevance for the non-maj ority ethnic communities in the country will be adopted without
them. This voting mechanism is called the Badinter principle and it requires that a law gain
two-thirds of the votes of the members with an affiliation to one of the non-majority ethnic
communities. The Parliament has a Standing Inquiry Committee on Human Rights, tasked
to follow and alert the Parliament on developments related to human rights. The Parliament
also elects and app oints the members of the two national human rights institutions the
Commission for Prevention and Protection against Discrimination (CPPD) ( 
    з ) (former C ommission f or Protection
against Discrimination (CPAD) (    з )) and the
Ombudsperson ( ).
The executive branch is represented by the Pr esident (whose role is largely ceremonial)
and the Government, which has 16 ministries, five Deputy Prime Ministers and seven
ministers without portfolio. The President is directly elected, whereas the Government is
appointed by the P arliament. Within the Government, sev eral ministries share human
rights competences. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosts the inter-ministerial body on
human rights, establish ed with the aim of improving coordination and communication
among the Government departments on key human righ ts issues. Aside from this body,
and of relevance to this report, an important division of the executive Government i s the
Ministry of Labour and Social Policy (MLSP), which is tasked with coordination and
development of non-discrimination activities and hosts the Nationa l Coordinating Body for
Non-discrimination Issues. The Representative for Equal Opportunities for Women and Men
33 Article мму of the Constitution states: ‘International agreements ratified in accordance with the Constitution
are part of the internal legal order and cannot be changed by law’. Source: Constitution of the Republic of
North Macedonia, 1991 and subsequent amendments. Full title: Republic of North Macedonia, Constitution
of the Republic of North Macedonia (    ). Official website of the
Parliament of the Republic of North Macedonia, available at:
34 Law on Courts, 2006. Article 18(5). Full title: Republic of North Macedonia, Law on Courts ( 
), Official Gazette of the Republic of Macedonia No. 58/2006, 62/2006, 35/2008, 150/2010;
83/2018, 198/2018, 96/2019; Constitutional Court Decisions:,,,
35 Please see the 2018 version of this report, Section 11, for information on the wire-tapping affair, which cast
doubt on the respect for the separation of powers and the rule of law in the country in general.
36 The wire-tapping affair also raises issues in relation to elections.

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