Escape according to the Constitution and law

Gjorgji Spasov

After the weekend has passed, when couriers of verdicts for serving sentences don’t work, numerous television crews and police began the campaign called “Escorting the convicted felon Gruevski to prison”. The large audience sitting in front of the TV screens watched as they looked for him in his home from which he “went out”, and then they watched them search the cars that were entering and leaving his party’s headquarters, they reported until late that night standing in front of the entrance to the prison facility in Sutka, as if it were Christmas or Easter, that he “has not yet arrived”, but that “the good news” may soon be announced.

And just when we all worried that nothing bad could happened to us, the former Prime Minister of Macedonia and the honorary president of the main opposition party sent us a message through Facebook that he is alive and well, and that he is in the beautiful Budapest for several days now, where he intends to stay for a while, and from where he will continue to fight for the Macedonian cause.

Our favorite character from the “Rule of Law” series did not say why he left that way, without even saying goodbye, without taking his winter clothes, and why didn’t he say to at least arrange a proper transportation for him, so that he does not go through trouble as it is speculated, leaving the country through some illegal border crossings, like some “refugee from Syria”, God forbid. But at least we know the reason. In addition to the six police officers paid by the state to make sure nothing happens to him after the end of his prime ministerial term in Macedonia, he said that “in the last few days before leaving, he received countless threats to his life”. And since he did not feel safe in Macedonia anymore, and we know that people in our prisons are “committing suicide” in a bucket of water, he decided with a heavy heart to leave his homeland, and so now Macedonia faces yet another departure of a renowned Doctor of Science from the country, thus continuing the already familiar “brain drain”.

President of the Parliament of Macedonia Talat Xhaferi immediately reacted to such a sad news for Macedonia. He said that, unfortunately, after this sudden departure of Gruevski to Hungary, he will not be able to file his absence from the sessions of the Assembly as justified, as he did before. He said that from now Gruevski will be considered as “unjustifiably absent” and that the parliamentary salary in the amount of over one thousand euros that he will regularly transfer to Gruevski in the next six months to his credit card will have to be reduced by 5%.

Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said that the fact Gruevski left us without saying goodbye and without even saying that he will, first of all is not fair to the state, to the courts and especially not to Oliver Spasovski. He called the fugitive “coward”, that is, a weakling who runs away from serving his prison sentence, a man who, in order to save himself, even left his family behind, even his mother Nada. Instead of sacrificing himself as a “gemidjija” for justice in Macedonia, he left his fellow fighters in Macedonian prisons and fled as Pavel Satev in the movie Thessaloniki Assassins.

But the prime minister again said that he is as optimistic as ever. And he said that, although many don’t believe it now, he is certain that one day Gruevski will still serve his prison sentence that the courts have ruled.

Oliver Spasovski said that the police are not guilty of the flight. The police, as always, after the shift of power, act only according to the Constitution and law. The police do not even think of following the whereabouts of someone who is supposed to get his invitation to serve his prison sentence, even when he is missing. Police control official border crossings which he did not cross, and the police cannot be held responsible for someone illegally crossing borders. These illegal crossings are kept by dogs, so maybe a dog could be responsible. On the other hand, the court did not provide the police with a request for detention, and the courts could not do this without a request from the Special Public Prosecutor’s Office that handles the case. The special public prosecutor Katica Janeva stated that it was not necessary to demand custody of Gruevski before escaping, since such a request has already been rejected by the courts a year ago, and on the other hand he u “showed no signs of a person who intends to flee “until the last minute and regularly came to trials, came to the Parliament, and reported himself to the police every Friday, except for last Friday.
All in all, we found out that the institutions were not responsible for Gruevski’s escape, as they were not responsible even when Goran Grujovski and Nikola Boskovski escaped to Greece, charged with illegal wiretapping, even when Seat Kocan fled the pre-trial detention and hid until The Supreme Court abolished this measure.

And I agree that perhaps all institutions of the state have acted only according to the Constitution and law in this case. But it all resembles that claim with which people make fun when they say “The surgery was successful, but the patient is dead”.

In other words, the state’s operation to bring Gruevski to justice is successful, but he is on the run and is currently unavailable for it. And that’s embarrassing for the state. This undermines citizens’ confidence in the government’s capabilities.

The story that such things could happen to any country, as it happened to Croatia in the case of former Prime Minister Ivo Sanader, relativizes responsibility a bit, but also leaves room for changes in the ability of the government to deliver results in the field of rule of law.

And that should worry the government and announce that it will seriously check the possible failures of the institutions for Nikola Gruevski’s escape and that it will take actions so it doesn’t happen again in the future.

No one has to resign. It is not necessary for the government to resign and to form an expert government as required by the opposition. But a little self-criticism would be good.

Let them say at least that: “The government does not feel responsible for the fact that the country’s largest opposition party’s honorary president and a faithful MP who voted against the agreement with Greece has fled the country, but feels responsible for not taking action, for the convicted former prime minister Macedonia instead of serving his prison sentence in Sutka, in front of which a large number of impatient and persistent journalists waited in order to get an exclusive story, he fled from Macedonia through illegal crossings on the border.”

And the government should announce that for each fleeing member of the VMRO-DPMNE from the country, two of the other defendants will be immediately imprisoned.

All we can do now is hope that the fugitives Goran Grujovski and Nikola Boskovski, who also intended to get to Hungary, will not succeed in that and form a VMRO-DPMNE border committee to defend the cause for Macedonia with Nikola Gruevski.

Mickoski is expected not to ask Gruevski to resign as a Member of Parliament in the Assembly. First of all, he will have to explain it personally according to the law, which is not very pleasant now. And secondly, the man will need a parliamentary salary for a while while coping with the new role of a refugee seeking asylum for political persecution in his country. And if Gruevski is granted asylum from a member state of the European Union, that will also be key proof for Mickoski that the government is carrying out political persecution and sufficient evidence to proclaim all defendants from the SPO as victims of Zaev “regime”.

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