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One Macedonian Man's 65-Year Battle to Get His Property Back

A Macedonian blogger and activist has brought attention to the plight of Mr. Dushko Brankovikj [mk]. Brankovikj has had his property nationalized twice by the state over the last 65 years, and although he won all the court cases regarding this matter to date, Macedonian state institutions have failed to implement the verdicts and return his property.

The elderly man is still protesting in front of a primary court in Skopje and plans to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Macedonian activist Nikola Pisarev posted a photo of a man holding handwritten signs reading, “How can municipal decision be stronger than the Supreme Court decision? It can with this Supreme Court. With such judgments we'll end up on Mars instead of in the EU! The Supreme Court should be a Corrector, not a Caricature”:

Dushko Brankovikj protesting in front of Supreme Court in Skopje, Macedonia. Photo by Aleksandar Pisarev, published with permission.

the elderly Brankovikj protesting in front of Supreme Court in Skopje, Macedonia. Photo by Aleksandar Pisarev, published with permission.

Pisarev also included further explanation of the image on his blog:

Индивидуалниот активизам често има за цел решавање на лични проблеми што е легитимно, особено кога повеќе луѓе се засегнати од еден ист проблем (како во случајов нефункционланоста и „неправедната“ правда на судството во Македонија). Затоа овој човек заслужува респект и поддршка од сите нас кои веруваме во моќта на активистичкото граѓанско делување.
Во отсаство на медиуми и во отсаство на институционална правда само протестот ни преостанува!
Човеков не го познавам, го запознав некни, индивидуално протестира пред суд скоро секој ден, ја бара правдата уште од 1973. Како што ми објаснуваше и тоа што ми покажа од материјали човеков е во право. За жал нефункционалната локална самоуправа му го загорчува животот и најгрубо му го крши правото на приватна сопственост.

Респект за чинот чичко.

Individual activism often starts with a goal of solving personal problems, which is legitimate, as many others might be concerned by the same issue (in this case the non-functioning of the Macedonian judiciary resulting in “unjust” justice). Therefore, this man deserves respect and support by all of us who believe in the power of civic action.

In the absence of media and absence of institutional justice, the only thing one can do is protest!

I do not know this man from before. I met him few days ago, he is holding individual protests before the court almost every day, seeking justice since 1973. According to his explanation and the materials he showed me, he is right. Sadly, the non-functional local government makes his life bitter and brutally infringes on his right to private property.

Respect for your act, Uncle.

The most recent US State Department Human Rights Report on Macedonia, published on Feb. 28, 2014, notes the following among the key issues plaguing the country:

“Political interference, inefficiency, favoritism toward well placed persons, prolonged judicial processes, and corruption characterized the judicial system.”

As a result of Pisarev's profile on his blog and social media, several independent media outlets have published stories about Brankovikj's case and people have now taken up commenting not only this particular matter but about Macedonian courts and government systems in general on social media and elsewhere.

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