If there is amnesty, the first remark from the European institutions will be towards the judiciary and the disrespect of the most important principle of the rule of law, says the former judge at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, Margarita Caca Nikolovska. However, judge Nikolovska believes that Prime Minister Zoran Zaev did not offer amnesty to the accused in the April 27 events because Prime Minister Zaev cannot offer amnesty in the parliament. According to her, trials must be completed and the court should decide whether the former officials are guilty.
“If there is amnesty in terms of full exemption from criminal responsibility in some way, because amnesty could to remove this issue with the use of word play, if it happens, I am sure that the first remark will be towards the independent and impartial judiciary and the disrespect of the most important principle of “the rule of law”, says Caca Nikolovska.
The judge is also the president of the Institute for Human Rights, an organization that constantly monitors the work of the Judicial Council, the institution that dismisses and elects judges.
The Judicial Council, headed by President Zoran Karadzovski, has not yet reached a decision on the five top judges headed by President Jovo Vangelovski, who, with a majority of votes, suspended businessman Sead Kocan’s detention and allowed him to flee the country. The Supreme Court, as the highest judicial institution, should soon make important decisions, that is, before this court, extraordinary legal remedies will soon be filed by former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and other former convicted officials with a final verdict.
“The Supreme Court will soon have to decide on very serious issues, and such instability and a situation where the president and other members of the Supreme Court do not know the level of their work, is very unprofessional. Five judges of the Supreme Court are neither here nor there, and the Judicial Council must make a decision very soon,” says Caca Nikolovska.
She hopes that there will be a political will to pass the laws on the judiciary, but she concludes that even after more than a year of the report in which Macedonia was characterized as a captive state, in terms of the judiciary, nothing has been done in terms of legal changes.
“The two-thirds majority in Macedonia is very problematic. That majority is not seen as the basis for efficient and quality law-making, but is used for some political aspects, political revanchism.
This is not good for the judiciary and the changes in the laws. Some of the judges have resigned and work more independently now, but unfortunately, the political elite does not see it as a positive direction, they interpret it as political pressure and that because of such pressure, the judges started to work in that manner. It is about time to stop looking for revanchism in the ways judges perform their tasks. We all need an independent judiciary,” Judge Caca Nikolovska said.
The Trial Chamber did not take any action to protect the independence of the judiciary, not even after the SPO report in which several judges were publicly advised that they were performing their tasks without moral integrity.
“That report, I assume, must be submitted to the Judicial Council, and at the same time, a procedure will be initiated against those people that are mentioned in it. We do not have any information what the Judicial Council does in that direction,” said the judge.
The responsibility for the massive wiretapping scandal in Macedonia and the high-corruption judgments, as well as the responsibility for the intrusion in the Assembly, entered the recommendations of the European ministers as conditions for starting accession talks with the EU. Brussels set the stage for opening accession negotiations in June 2019, but requires substantial and concrete results in the fight against corruption and judicial reform.
The findings require proactive investigations, charges and final verdicts in cases of corruption and organized crime, including a high-level counter-intelligence, security and public administration reform.
Frosina Fakova – Serafinovic