Trajkovski and Chipovski v. North Macedonia (Applications nos. 53205/13 and 63320/13)
A selection of key paragraphs can be found below the judgment.CASE-OF-TRAJKOVSKI-AND-CHIPOVSKI-v.-NORTH-MACEDONIA
52. In this connection, it observes that the applicable legislation at the time did not set a specific time-limit for the retention of DNA data of the applicants as convicted persons. Indeed, as stated by the Government, DNA profiles were to be recorded in the relevant registers and “retained for a certain [length of] time, but not indefinitely (засекогаш)”. That such data “may be retained until it has fulfilled the purpose for which it has been taken” (see paragraph 21 above) is open to various interpretations. The amendments to the Police Act (see paragraph 26 above) introduced subsequent to the taking of DNA samples from the applicants provide that DNA data is stored in the relevant register permanently. In the absence of anything to suggest that such retention may be linked to any fixed point in time, the Court considers that the respondent State permits indefinite retention period of DNA profiles. The relevant provisions of the Criminal Proceedings Act (see paragraphs 27 and 28 above) concern personal data taken from a person in respect of whom no criminal proceedings were initiated and cannot therefore be applied to the applicants, whose guilt was established by a final court judgment.
53. Furthermore, it has not been argued that the nature or gravity of the offence of which a person was convicted, or received a penalty for, or any other defined criteria, such as previous arrests, and any other special circumstances, have any bearing on the collection, storage and retention of DNA records (see, S. and Marper, cited above, § 119, and conversely, Peruzzo and Martens v. Germany (dec.), nos. 7841/08 and 57900/12, 4 June 2013, § 44). Moreover, whereas the police are vested with the power to delete personal data from the registers (see paragraph 24 above), the law is silent on the conditions under which it can be done and procedure to be followed. Whereas the law provides, in general terms, for the possibility of judicial review coupled with a prior administrative review, there is no provision allowing for a specific review of the necessity of data retention. Similarly, there is no provision under which a person concerned can apply to have the data concerning him or her deleted if conserving the data no longer appears necessary in view of the nature of the offence, the age of the person concerned, the length of time that has elapsed and the person’s current personality (see Gardel, cited above, § 68).
54. In conclusion, the Court finds that the blanket and indiscriminate nature of the powers of retention of the DNA profiles of the applicants, as persons convicted of an offence, coupled with the absence of sufficient safeguards available to the applicants, fails to strike a fair balance between the competing public and private interests and that the respondent State has overstepped the acceptable margin of appreciation in this regard. Accordingly, the retention at issue constitutes a disproportionate interference with the applicants’ right to respect for private life and cannot be regarded as necessary in a democratic society.