LEGAL PROVISIONS REGARDING THE ACCESSIBILITY AND USE OF ARCHIVE MATERIAL
In accordance with the Law on Archive Material, the archive material is available for use no later than 20 years after its creation. Therefore, most of the archive fund of the Republic of Macedonia is available for use.
After the expiration of this general legal deadline, at the proposal of the holder, the Government of the Republic of Macedonia may set longer deadlines for the use of archival material, but not more than 150 years from the creation of the material (Article 21 paragraph 2 of the Law).
Based on this legal authorization, the Government of the Republic of Macedonia in 1996 adopted it Decree on establishing criteria for longer deadlines for the use of archival material (Official Gazette of the Republic of Macedonia, No. 3/1996).
The deadlines set in the Decree provide the necessary extended inaccessibility in the use of those documents, which according to their content, if used in shorter deadlines, could harm the interests of the state, the private life of citizens and their rights and freedoms.
Documents that fall under these criteria and deadlines are the following:
- documents that may violate the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the Republic of Macedonia - 75 years after their creation;
- documents in the field of defense and security of the state - 75 years after their creation;
- documents on the foreign policy and diplomatic relations of the country - 75 years after their creation;
- documents for geological and geodetic surveys, facilities and facilities of strategic importance for the country - 100 years after their creation;
- documents that represent a business secret, technological improvements and innovations - 50 years after their creation;
- documents that offend national feelings, restrict human rights and freedoms of religious and political belief; which cause national and racial intolerance and discrimination - 100 years after creation (if for individuals - 20 years after the death of the person or 100 years after his birth);
- health records - 150 years after the birth of the person;
- documents created in court proceedings, up to 75 years after the decision enters into force;
- documents containing confidential information about individuals and their heirs (rape, illegitimate birth, adoption, juvenile delinquency, etc.) - 150 years after the creation of the document. (Article 4 of the Decree).
The longer deadlines for using the documents that have the status of archival material, and which fall under the criteria of the Decree, are determined by the holder during the handover of the material between the holder and the Archive. During the handover, the holder is obliged to mark in the records for the archive material those documents that have longer deadlines for use and to determine that after the expiration of the deadline the document can be used.
Documents that meet the above criteria, after the expiration of the specified deadlines, become available for use. Approval for the use of the documents in shorter deadlines than those prescribed by the Decree, is given by the Government of the Republic of Macedonia.
The deadlines for extended availability for use of archival material created by natural persons and representing their property, are determined by the holder or his heirs. They can voluntarily reduce these deadlines.
Documents that fall under the criteria prescribed by the Decree, and have the quality of documentary material with shelf life, are used by the holder himself.
Based on Art. 8 of the Decree, prescribed by the Director of the State Archives of the Republic of Macedonia in 1998 Instructions for the manner and procedure for marking documents with longer shelf life (Official Gazette of the Republic of Macedonia, No. 59/1998).
At the moment of handing over the archive material, the Archive may re-evaluate the deadlines for extended availability, in accordance with the Decree, and in consultation and with the consent of the holder, to confirm, reduce or not accept them. If the Archive does not accept the proposed deadlines from the holder, the document becomes available for use in accordance with the general deadline for use set out in the Law on Archive Material.
The general legal deadline and the deadlines for certain types of documents contained in the Decree do not violate the principle of general availability for the use of archive material from the entire archive fund of the Republic of Macedonia, nor limit the equal rights of all users of archive material.
The Republic of Macedonia is one of the most liberal countries in terms of availability and use of archival material, bearing in mind that most of the archive fund of the country is available for use 20 years after its creation.