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Macedonia: Flag laws

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Law on the use of the national symbols (1997)

Macedonia adopted a new Law on the State symbols on 8 July 1997. The legislation is described by the Macedonian Information Center (MIC) as "one of the most important in the newer history of Macedonia." According to the new Law, flags of foreign countries cannot be hoisted from public buildings except at some public and religious holidays when they may be hoisted alongside the Macedonian flag. The limitation on the flying of foreign flags affects first and foremost the use of the flag of Albania, used on municipal buildings in towns of Western Macedonia where there are many Albanians. Six members of the PDSH (Democratic Party of Albanians) voted against the new Law. No more details of the legislation is available in the English language reports of the MIC and MILS, so there is no news on the design rules for minority flags mentioned earlier this year.

The enactment of the new Law on State symbols was followed by police action against municipal authorities in the towns of Tetovo and Gostivar, where the Albanian flag was removed from the town halls. This led to protests and demonstrations, escalating into riots. Three people have died, more than 50 have been injured and 3-400 people have been detained or arrested (including, at one point, the Mayor of Gostivar). Police introduced a curfew. On 12 July demonstrators (many of the Albanians from Macedonia) burned the Macedonian flag in the Albanian capital Tirana.

Sources:

  • MIC reports
  • Fabian Schmidt. "Western Macedonia's vicious circle of violence", Newsline, RFE/RL, 15 July 1997

Jan Oskar Engene, 18 July 1997

Law on the Use of the Coat of arms, the Flag and the Anthem of the Republic of Macedonia
issued in Služben vesnik na Republika Makedonija, 32/97 on 9 July 1997

I. Basic Provisions.

Article 1.
This Law regulates the use of the coat of arms, the flag and the anthem of the Republic of Macedonia.

Article 2.
With the coat of arms, the flag and the anthem of the Republic of Macedonia are represented the Republic of Macedonia and they express the belonging to the Republic of Macedonia.

Article 3.
The coat of arms, the flag and the anthem of the Republic of Macedonia are used in accordance with the provisions of this Law and in the way that do not desecrate the reputation and the dignity of the Republic of Macedonia.

Article 4.
The coat of arms and the flag of the Republic of Macedonia may be used only in the shape and content determined by the law.
Nothing could be added, substracted nor changed in the coat of arms and the flag of the Republic of Macedonia.
Exceptionally, when that is prescribed with the law or an other regulation, the coat of arms and the flag of the Republic of Macedonia could be used as an integral part of other emblems and symbols (military, command and rank flags and others) or in the flag of the Republic of Macedonia may be inscribed a certain date or a name (military and other ceremonial flags and similar).

The anthem of the Republic of Macedonia may be performed in the music and the text that is determined in the Law on the Anthem of the Republic of Macedonia.

Article 5.
The coat of arms and the flag of the Republic of Macedonia could not be used as merchant and service seals, models or other symbols marking merchandise and services.

Article 6.
The coat of arms and the flag of the Republic of Macedonia may not be used if they are deteriorated, untidy, teared on in any other way damaged or with its appearance unsuitable for usage.
Damaged and unsuitable for usage coat of arms and the flag of the Republic of Macedonia are retired from use.

Article 7.
On occasion of official state visits and international manifestations of political, scientific, cultural-artistic, sporting and other character, together with the coat of arms, the flag and the anthem of the Republic of Macedonia, may be displayed, i.e. performed, the coat of arms, the flag and the anthem of an other state or the international organization, in accordance with the provisions of this Law.

Article 8.
The coat of arms and the flag of the Republic of Macedonia as well as the coats of arms and the flags of other states and international organizations that are used in the Republic of Macedonia in accordance with this Law may not be intentionally teared, incinerated, stepped over or in any other way desecrated or be exposed to scorn or mockery.

II. Use of the Coat of arms of the Republic of Macedonia

Article 9.
The coat of arms of the Republic of Macedonia is used:
1) As integral part of the state seal of the Republic of Macedonia in accordance with the legal provisions for that seal;
2) As integral part of the seals and stamps of the institutions of the state government, in accordance with the regulations regarding these seals and stamps;
3) On official inscriptions on the institutions of the state, public institutions, public services and companies that are established by the Republic of Macedonia on their buildings;
4) On objects marking the border of the Republic of Macedonia and on other objects in the Republic of Macedonia near the border in accordance with the regulations; and
5) In other cases, in conditions and modes determined by the Law.

Article 10.
The coat of arms of the Republic of Macedonia may be used:
1) On the buildings where are seated the institutions of the state, public institutions, public services and companies that are established by the Republic of Macedonia, as well as in the ceremonial rooms of such buildings;
2) On the objects in that are seated diplomatic and consular representatives of the Republic of Macedonia abroad, on the residences of the chiefs of the representations and the means of transportation used by these chiefs while in their official capacity, in accordance with the international treaties, regulations and customs of the countries hosting the representatives or according to the rules and practices of the international institution hosting the representatives.
3) During international meetings, competitions and other assemblies (political, scientific, cultural-artistic, sporting and others) where the Republic of Macedonia participates or is represented, in accordance with the rules and practices of these assemblies;
4) In military flags of the Republic of Macedonia and in the command and the rank flags in accordance with the regulations determining these flags;
5) On the banknotes, coins and state issued papers of value;
6) On the aircrafts, ships and other vessels and on other public means of transport, in accordiance with the regulations;
7) On official paper heads, greeting cards and similar acts used by: President of the Republic, chairman of the Parliament, prime minister, other accredited representatives of the President of the Republic, the Parliament and the Government, as well as the chief of the diplomatic and consular missions of the Republic of Macedonia abroad; and
8) In other cases, if the use is not in conflict with the provisions of this Law.

Article 11.
The original of the coat of arms of the Republic of Macedonia is preserved in the Parliament of the Republic of Macedonia and according to it are modelled others.
For the maintenance and use of the original of the coat of arms of the Republic of Macedonia is responsible the secretary of the Parliament of the Republic of Macedonia.

Article 12.
If the coat of arms of the Republic of Macedonia is displayed in the Republic of Macedonia together with one or more other coats of arms or other emblems of other states, international organizations or units of local self-government, the coat of arms of the Republic of Macedonia is positioned, depending on the way how the coats of arms i.e. emblems are arranged, so:
1) In the middle of the circle, to be clearly visible - if other coats of arms and emblems are arranged in a circle;
2) In the middle of the semicircle - if other coats of arms and emblems are arranged in a semicircle;
3) At the head of the column - if other coats of arms and emblems are arranged in a column;
4) At the first position in the row - if other coats of arms and emblems are arranged in a row;
5) At the head of the group - if other coats of arms and emblems are arranged in a group;
6) At the right position as viewed from the front from a coat of arms of a foreign state or an international organization - if that coat of arms is displayed in the Republic of Macedonia during an official visit of an accredited representative of the state or organization. In the case of the paragraph 1 of this Article, the dimensions of all coats of arms should be the same, but if they are not, no other coat of arms should be larger then the coat of arms of the Republic of Macedonia.

III. Use of the Flag of the Republic of Macedonia

Article 13.
The flag of the Republic of Macedonia is permanently hoisted:
1) On the Residence of the President of the Republic, on the Parliament of the Republic of Macedonia, on the houses used by the Government of the Republic of Macedonia and on the objects where are seated the officials leading the ministries of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia;
2) On determined objects on the border of the Republic of Macedonia and on other objects in the Republic of Macedonia near the border, according to the regulations and
3) In other cases, under conditions determined with the Law or an other regulation.
The flag of the Republic of Macedonia is used as a marking on the aircrafts, ships and other vessels, as well as on other public means of transport, marking the nationality of the Republic of Macedonia, in accordance with the regulations.

Article 14.
The flag of the Republic of Macedonia is hoisted:
1) On the holyday of the Republic of Macedonia determined by the Law - on the objects where are seated the state government, the units of the local self-government, public services and companies that are established by the Republic of Macedonia or the unit of local self- government;
2) During the departure of the President of the Republic from the Republic of Macedonia and the reception when he returns from abroad;
3) During official reception in the Republic of Macedonia, and during the departure from the Republic of Macedonia of the chief of states, sovereigns or high representatives of international organizations;
4) On the means of transport used by the President of the republic;
5) On the mourning days as determined by the Government, at half-mast and
6) In other cases under conditions determined by the Law.

Article 15.
The flag of the Republic of Macedonia may be hoisted:
1) On the object where is seated the diplomatic or consular represenattion of the republic of Macedonia abroad; on the residences of the cheifs of the representations and on the means of transport used personally by them in their official capacity, in accordance with the international treaties, regulations and customs in the country where the representatives are accredited i.e. according to the regulations and practices of the international organization.
2) In places where are held elections, in classrooms, ceremonial halls, conference rooms and similar;
3) During international meetings, competitions and other assemblies (political, scientific, cultural-artistic, sporting and others) where the Republic of Macedonia participates or is represented, in accordance with the rules and practices of these assemblies;
4) During celebrations, ceremonies and other political, cultural, sproting and similar manifestations important to the Republic of Macedonia;
5) In occasion of celebrations regarding the privat life of citizens and
6) In other cases, if the use is not in conflict with the prescriptions of this Law.

Article 16.
If the flag of the Republic of Macedonia is displayed in the Republic of Macedonia together with one or more other flags of other states or international organizations the flag of the Republic of Macedonia is positioned, depending on the way how the flags are arranged, so:
1) In the middle of the circle, to be clearly visible - if other flags are arranged in a circle;
2) In the middle of the semicircle - if other flags are arranged in a semicircle;
3) At the head of the column - if other flags are arranged in a column;
4) At the first position in the row, i.e. on the left end as view from the front - if other flags are arranged in a row;
5) At the head of the group - if other flags are arranged in a group.

If the flag of the Republic of Macedonia is displayed together with and other flag with their staffs crossed, the staff of the flag of the Republic of Macedonia should be in front of the other staff, as view from the front.

Article 17.
If the flag of the Republic of Macedonia is displayed together with two other flags, the flag of the Republic of Macedonia is set in the middle.
If the flag of the Republic of Macedonia is displayed together next to an other flags, it should be placed on the left, as viewed from the front. Exceptionally, it is placed on the right, as viewed from the front, from the flag of a foreign state or an international organization, if that flag is displayed in the Republic of Macedonia during an official visit of an accredited representative of the state or the international organization.
If the flag of the Republic of Macedonia is displayed together with a larger number of the flags of other states, the flags of other states are ordered in alphabetic order.
In all cases in this article the dimensions of the flags should be the same, and if they are not, no other flag should be larger then the flag of the Republic of Macedonia, nor any other flags may be placed higher then the flag of the Republic of Macedonia.
If the flag of the Republic of Macedonia is displayed together with the flags of local self-government or other flags, the flag of the Republic of Macedonia is displayed first on the left side removed two meters and higher one meter, of larger dimensions of the flag of the local self-government or the other flag.

Article 18.
The flag of the Republic of Macedonia is raised, displayed, lowered and transported with the usual honors (standing up, saluting and other).
During the display the flags should not tough anything that is placed neither next nor under it.

Article 19.
The flag of the Republic of Macedonia is displayed on a mast between the sunrise and sunset, but may be displayed 24 hours a day under condition that it is appropriately illuminated during the dark hours.
When the flag is lowered none of its parts should touch the ground not any other object.
When the flag is removed from the mast to be taken to the keeping, it should be folded neatly and ceremoniously.

Article 20.
The flag should be raised dynamically, and lowered ceremonially. During the raising and lowering of the flag all the present should stand still with faces turned towards the flag for as long the flag is raised completely, i.e. removed from the mast, or if the anthem is played, as long as the music is playing. Males wearing a headgear should remove it. Persons wearing military uniform should salute according to the military regulations.

Article 21.
When the flag of the Republic of Macedonia is displayed in closed spaces, it should be placed on the right side as viewed by the speaker, and if the flag of the unit of local self-government or other flags are displayed together with it, they should be on the left, removed two meters and one meter lower and of smaller dimensions then the flag of the Republic of Macedonia.

Article 22.
When the flag is displayed from a car it should be fixed firmly on chassis on the front right side as viewed by the driver.

Article 23.
Hoisting on the half-mast of the flag that is displayed on the mast is done so that the flah is shortly raised all the way to the top, and then lowered on a position half way from the top. Before it is to be lowered, it should be raised to the top again.
The flag may be used to cover a coffin, but should not be lowered into a grave.

Article 24.
The flag should not be used:
- As a pavilion, a curtain or a blanket;
- Curled into a wreath or wrinkled and
- As ornament on ???????, kerchiefs, napkins, cardboard boxes, underwear and objects used to be disposed.

IV. the Performance of the Anthem of the Republic of Macedonia
[...]

V. Penal Prescriptions

Article 30.
A legal person shall be fined for an offence with the fine between 50.000 and 300.000 denars if he:
1) Uses the coat of arms and the flag of the Republic of Macedonia in conflict with the article 3 of this Law;
2) The coat of arms and the flag of the Republic of Macedonia or performs the anthem of the Republic of Macedonia in the shape and contents different to determinations of this Law (Article 4);
3) Uses the coat of arms and the flag of the Republic of Macedonia as signs marking the merchandise or servies (Article 5);
4) Uses the coat of arms and the flag of the Republic of Macedonia damaged or unsuitable for use (Article 6);
5) Uses the coat of arms and the flag of the Republic of Macedonia in conflict with article 7 of this Law;
6) Performs the anthem against the determinations of this Law and
7) Performs the anthem of a foreign state against the determinations of this Law.
The private person responsible within the legal person shall be fined for an offence from the paragraph 1 of this Article with a fine between 10.000 and 40.000 denars.
The private person responsible within the government institution, the unit of local self-government, the public services and companies that are established by the Republic of Macedonia of the unit of local self-government shall be fined for an offence from the paragraph 1 of this Article with a fine between 20.000 and 50.000 denars.
The private person shall be fined for an offence from the paragraph 1 of this Article with a fine between 5.000 and 10.000 denars.
If the offence from the paragraph 1 of this Article are made on a public manifestation the person responsible for the organization of the manifestation shall be fined for an offence with a fine between 20.000 and 50.000 denars.
The private person shall be fined for an offence against article 24 of this Law with a fine between 2.000 and 5.000 denars.

Article 31.
The offenders from Article 30 of this law may be punished with a protective measure of requisition of the objects with which the offences were made.
An accredited person of the Ministry of Internal Affaires may confiscate the objects from the paragraph one of this Article before the legal proceedings. The confiscated objects are delivered to the institutions responsible for leading of the proceedings.

VI. Authorizations for the Regulations Enactment

Article 32.
The commander in chief of the armed forces of the Republic of Macedonia shall enact in accordance with this Law the regulations regarding the use of the coat of arms, the flag and the anthem of the Republic of Macedonia within the armed forces of the Republic of Macedonia.

Article 33.
The Government of the Republic of Macedonia shall prescribe the criteria and conditions for performance of the anthem of the Republic of Macedonia on the funerals of meritorious persons (Article 26, paragraph 1, ad. 3).

Article 34.
Further regulations regarding the use of the coat of arms and the flag of the Republic of Macedonia shall be made by:
1) Minister of Internal Affaires, in coordination with the Minister of Defence - for the determined objects on the border of the Republic of Macedonia and on other objects in the Republic of Macedonia near the borders (Article 9 paragraph 1 ad. 4 and Article 13 paragraph 1 ad. 2);
2) Minister of Foreign Affaires - for diplomatic and consular representations of the Republic of Macedonia abroad (Article 10 paragraph 1 ad. 2 and Article 15 paragraph 1 ad. 1) and
3) Minister responsible for the transportation - for the aircrafts, ships and other vessels and on other public means of transport, regarding the marking of the nationality of the Republic of Macedonia (Article 10 paragraph 1 ad 6 and Article 13 ad 2).

VII. Transitional and Final Prescriptions

Article 35.
Regulations and determinations of other acts conflicting with this Law should be amended accordingly within six months from the day this Law becomes valid.

Article 36.
With the day this Law becomes valid is abrogated the Law on use of the Flag (Služben vesnik na Republika Makedonija, 40/73).

Article 37.
This Law becoms valid on the eight day from is publishing in Služben vesnik na Republika Makedonija

Translated by Željko Heimer, 9 July 2005