Coquetting with crime should not be allowed

Zvonko Davidovic
Attorney at law

Mayor caught smuggling cigarettes at the border crossing. Another mayor caught in a photograph drunk in a tavern, with half-naked dancers dancing around him. 27-year-old fire trucks on average (a total of 220 in the entire country) are barely moving and starting when someone’s home is on fire. Struga has no hydrants, and hydrants are the only thing that fire trucks can use to extinguish a fire. A bus carrier did all technical check-ups on its buses on its own. Vaccines with fake expiration dates. Stolen money of 12,000 insured persons who didn’t have their contributions invested to the second pension fund. Pardoned MPs for the bloody Thursday in exchange for political needs and goals. Gruevski fled to Hungary, Boskovski and Grujovski fled to Greece, and Viminovski to an unknown destination. The Judicial Council in the same composition increases the salaries of judges, the Supreme Court of the same composition from the time of Gruevski, headed by the same president, knocks out the SPO. The SPO, from being respectable authority and the nation’s hope for tackling corruption and abuse at the highest level, is now becoming a story lost in court labyrinths and disappointing “selfie” advertisements to some prosecutors. There is not a word from the prosecution for the ACCMIS case because the prosecution is still lost in the voices heard and its failure to act. The court and the prosecution have been wiretapped and listened to, but the result of the investigation and responsibility for the perpetrators will not be. Party hiring continues, as with the previous government, as with any government. There is hate speech at every corner, even when human lives are at stake.

This is just a vague example of what is happening in our country and the things that fill the daily newspapers, portals and prime-time TV news. We listened to the so-called ‘bombs’, we listened to the press conferences of the SPO, the visits and statements of the prosecutor’s head of the prosecution of organized crime and corruption. We read Priebe’s report, Bailey’s remarks and Fouere’s criticisms. We listened to all kinds of things, but we just cannot hear that anyone has been convicted and sentenced to prison for all the misdeeds and misconduct. Instead, we hear about amendments to the penal code and reduction of penalties precisely for this kind of crimes. We heard of a reconciliation that ended with amnesty for political needs, we heard of inclusion that ended with impunity and forgiveness of many suspicious figures and deals.

We heard about a better life and economic stability, while prices and taxes are growing every day, and the air is becoming more polluted. We have heard of transparency that consists in denying everyday omissions and suspicious actions of some officials who have been discovered thanks to the journalists. Promoting responsibility, especially of officials, was promoted, but we did not hear any official taking responsibility for their actions.
Our officials did everything in their power for the country to become a NATO member state, forgave many people, shut their eyes in front of many suspicious actions, and forgot about justice and equity. We entered NATO the same way that we have been in the past two decades, with the same burden, the same crime, the same mindset and quasi-values. With political stunts and legal farce, we finally reached the long-desired membership, which we always watched with a great desire with one eye, while the other was facing the second alliance – the European Union.
But the closer we approached and walked towards the militarily powerful NATO alliance, the more we moved away from the EU, embracing the principles and failing to fulfill the tasks and conditions for membership in this financially powerful alliance. NATO membership requires funding, and EU membership allows for the use of funds for development of the country under relatively acceptable conditions. Proof of this are Bulgaria, Romania and many other countries that have achieved financial stability and prosperity with EU membership.
Worrying is the fact that the conditions that we need to fulfill for entering and admitting to the European Union are diametrically opposed to all those procedures and decisions that we have taken and implemented for NATO membership.

For entry into the EU, words and pats on the shoulder and beating chests and complacency and boasting are not enough, but specific visible results are required. Rule of law is one of the basic principles that must be truly, seriously and fully fulfilled with specific actions and decisions implemented in practice. Petty peasant wisdom does not help in the negotiations with the EU, nor painting over reality – words must be translated into works. For the EU, the coupons for taxi rides for drunks do not help, nor the amnesty of the MPs who opened the doors of the Parliament for political bargaining. Selective justice amnesty for some, jail only for some – this simply does not pass.

The impunity of the officials and leaders of the political parties does not pass, nor the shutting eyes before the big crime of the business elite and their untouchability due to political closeness and connection with a political party.

Not that everything is perfect and crime-less in the EU, it’s just that the only one that goes unpunished and is untouchable is the one who hasn’t been discovered yet. The office, the financial power and the political connection there are not a requirement and a guarantee of untouchability, impunity and irresponsibility, as it is in our country. Crime is crime and once discovered and disclosed it cannot and does not get covered up, nor pardoned, nor is used for political needs. Only in several countries here in the Balkans authorities close their eyes before crime, political acrobats with juries are performed to justify and hide because of the political or financial gain of several people. Even when a crime is discovered in high political or business circles there are stories or spins made up only to hide it and show it as something normal and legal. In a word, crime is not a crime if it is a political functionary in question or a business tycoon. All of this reminds me of that one joke that has been told years ago in Bulgaria – this hole is not a hole.

Views expressed in this article are personal views of the author and do not represent the editorial policy of Nezavisen Vesnik