For the experienced experts in court procedures and processes, there were clear signals that there was preparation for the escape of Nikola Gruevski on several levels and with many involved people. From placing arguments before the domestic and world public about unfair trials, to transporting and seeking asylum as a victim of a political persecution with a former prime minister, who has been getting threats to his life for his patriotism. And the choice of a country where a refuge should be secured, probably only temporarily, in the case of Hungary, is not made by chance, but was arranged in a well thought out and legally crafted procedure involving more people of various responsible positions, ranging from politicians, prosecutors, judges, police officers, lawyers, legal experts, media and journalists, up to drivers. Thus, Nikola Gruevski won the first round against Macedonia that he loves so much.
Hungary, in which Gruevski will be an asylum seeker, is a kind of European grotesque. Already the whole continent is mocking the welcome of Victor Orban for his ideological twin brother from Macedonia. Protection of a convict in an EU member state against which there are several more serious criminal proceedings underway is a subject of scandal, but also of serious criticism in Hungary and the world. Gruevski became a major issue in the hands of Orban and his government since day one. How long will this hospitality last wouldn’t be difficult presume. The first moment when it will pose a threat to Orban, the asylum seeker Gruevski will have to look for a new destination.
It turned out that there was only one person who was not guilty of all those responsible that Gruevski did not get to prison cell and escaped from the country. An that person is Nikola Gruevski. Like every convict, he did not want to go to jail. So he prepared well. Before and after every appearance in the court, he told the public that he was a victim of political persecution on daily basis, that this was a persecution led by government in power against the opposition and against him personally, that his life was in danger due to threats, that is why he had bodyguards hired for him to take care of his safety. With statements for the media, with speeches and discussions in parliament, the accused Gruevski became prosecutor and victim at the same time. Until the last day before the escape, Gruevski walked freely throughtout Skopje in front of the eyes of the entire public without missing a hair from his head.
Gruevski’s successor in the party, Hristijan Mickoski, accepted the strategy that it was a conspiracy of the West in collaboration with domestic traitors and enemies against Gruevski and against VMRO-DPMNE, portraying it as an attack on Macedonia. VMRO-DPMNE’s top declared Gruevski a victim because he fought for Macedonia’s interests, preserving the national identity and the constitutional name of the state. The party chose him as an honorary party president, the court proceedings and judgments were rejected as tampered processes. They requested full amnesty for the events on April 27 last year after an urgent procedure. Everyone in the party who opposed such a policy was immideately expelled or dismissed from the posts and placed as traitors on the wall of shame. Now it is clear to everyone that everything was in place to justify the escape of the victim from persecution so that he can obtain and justify the asylum as a political refugee. After the escape, the mass distancing from Gruevski began in the top of the VMRO-DPMNE, redirecting the attack on the government, which was justified by a public blow that Gruevski did not end up in jail. But the criticism of VMRO-DPMNE is no longer due to the verdict, but because of the failures of the competent institutions that hid and have not caught the convict before he fled. Farce.
The damage from the escape is huge and its consequences are not yet fully understood. The trials against Nikola Gruevski should have been the main trump card and the most significant success of judicial reforms leading to the establishment of the rule of law. Evidence, impeccable court proceedings, judgments and rationale for the rulings of such trials of the most responsible person and the synonym of the great evil are the best prevention in one year for the captured state not to repeat tyranny, violations of human rights, criminal organizations, elections, the control over the judiciary and the media, disrupting justice and the majority in parliament to take power after legal elections, crime, corruption, and other misdeeds that have that reached monstrous proportions. At the trial for bloodshed in parliament on April 27, testimonies appeared about Gruevski as the organizer of the intrusion, which, if proven true, is involvement in a coup. With such accusations Gruevski could not and should not stay free to defend himself, taking into account only one fact – and there are more – and that is his great power to influence witnesses and the possibility to escape quite easily, which proved to be true.
Rejecting the detention measure even during the first proceedings at the request of the Special Prosecutor’s Office was watered down with the choice to force the case with the purchase of the luxury Mercedes, and not making the much more severe accusations the priority. It was not the goal just to put Gruevski in prison for a bulletproof Mercedes and misused money from the state treasury of Europe’s poorest people, but to inflict a strong blow with an impartial trial of the ten years of tyranny and abuse of office, and by far the biggest crime committed in the country whose main ideological leader and suspect is Nikola Gruevski. The judgment on abuses and breaches of laws when buying Mercedes and court cases are clear and irreconcilable. But other ongoing cases are the main charges that include severe injustices inflicted on many people and the state and robbery of millions from the state treasury. Judicial proceedings and judgments in the absence of the main defendant, if this happens, will not have that preventive power that would signify the rule of law and the serving of sentences.
Gruevski won the first round, but he will lose the rest and eventually will end with throwing in the towel in the ring of justice. His asylum life begins, which I see that some idealize it and make it into a myth. Very soon Gruevski will reveal the anxiety of self-persecution. Such “hospitalities” sometimes last very briefly, until they become a burden to the host. The sustainability of court verdicts that will follow in his absence will become a major obstacle to unhindered stay and protection. The hope that with the shift of power he will return to his homeland as a national hero is very wrong. The heirs and associates, and his recently former supporters took his escape as betrayal and abandonment. This caused a final and much greater caution and greater rigor in determining the detention measure.
On the other hand, if no one assumes responsibility for Gruevski’s escape, and if all this mess is not cleared up in the competent institutions and with the obstacles to justice, the claims that the government is an accomplice in the Gruevski’s escape will be accepted by the public as truth, however absurd and unbelievable they may seem. An avalanche of anger over the futility of the collapse of the regime of Gruevski, whose end was to be marked by his going behind bars, would inflict a severe blow to the Government and Prime Minister Zoran Zaev.
Views expressed in this article are personal views of the author and do not represent the editorial policy of Nezavisen Vesnik