Refusal to register Macedonian association

Logo of UMO Ilinden

United Macedonian Organisation Ilinden and Others group v Bulgaria (Appl. No. 59491/00)

  • Memo by Krassimir Kanev, Chairperson of the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee
  • Case summary by the Council of Europe's Department for the Execution of Judgments

The cases concern the unjustified refusals of the courts to register an association aiming at achieving "the recognition of the Macedonian minority in Bulgaria". The refusals were based on considerations of national security, protection of public order and the rights of others and on the constitutional prohibition on associations pursuing political goals, which the European Court of Human Rights found in violation of Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights. To date, no Macedonian group has been registered by the Bulgarian courts under the existing procedure despite numerous attempts by several organisations, including the UMO Ilinden. 

The assessment of the latest domestic developments was provided by Krassimir Kanev, Chairperson of the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (BHC). A brief note of the BHC disseminated at the briefing can be found here. All action plans and reports of the Government of Bulgaria in these cases, including the latest addendum to the action plan of March 2017, can be found on HUDOC EXEC here (see under 'Related').