Macedonia is waiting for Nikola Gruevski to appear before the prison gates and become the most famous prisoner. Locking the person that is synonymous with evil behind bars will not change anything in people’s lives, however, it will increase the hopes and chances for the rule of law in this poor country. It will take a long time before the responsible for the greatest robbery in the short history of sovereignty and independence face justice.
In the captured state in which inequality before the law was a common thing, the resentment and impatience of the public over the delayed justice and the rule of law and the fall of the regime is quite understandable. The public seeks revenge after each initiation of an investigation and court proceedings, bringing its own punishment to homes, cafes, social networks and the media.
This is the result of the legal injustices and the untouchability of the ruling top and power, to the new and old enraged transitional oligarchy that shamelessly confiscated social and state property, and for 27 years, impoverished the citizens to the point of misery and to the most severe humiliation of human dignity. The arrogance of the partisan rich, their greed, the bitterness and the ruffian behavior that no one can touch them, provokes a new social order of feudal and slave subordination at the level of obedient crowd. Handful of people getting rapidly rich has provoked even more rapid depletion of a decent and numerous middle class emerging from socialism with great hopes in the future. Although they were the bearers of all the changes, freedom and democracy has brought them nothing. On the contrary, it punished them to live in uncertainty and misery.
Macedonia has become the country with the greatest inequality in Europe to the shameful South American and Asian level. Social family drama to hunger and humiliation are no longer news that upsets and worries. Macedonia turned into a large betting house and a casino in which those who cannot escape from the country play Russian roulette and wait for fortune to smile on them, for the ball to stop at their chosen number. The chances of winning are one in a million.
Organized crime, corruption, abuse of powers, violation of human rights and freedoms, degradation of the institutions of the system and their complete politicization, control over parliament and the judiciary, election falsification, relentless spending without almost any control and account of the citizens’ money in the era of Gruevism experienced the highest stage sticking to tyranny. Macedonia from the first day of independence did not succeed in any period, even apparently and formally to establish a decent parliamentary democracy and the rule of law that would enable faster social and economic development. On the contrary, the Macedonian politicians, business and intellectual elites did not accelerate the historic processes, even though we got a country without one bullet fired, which was huge capital after the dramatic collapse of Yugoslavia. That capital was spent overnight, drowning future generations in debt.
So now what? Prison sentences must not be turned into retaliation and trials, which will be just another sad evidence that we have not accomplished anything. Judicial processes in Macedonia that are ongoing, with many yet to come, must be impeccably righteous and clean, without any blemishes. Only in that way can the judicial and legal order function in all instances. It will mean that the violation of the law will fall on the culprits even when they are at the highest level. In Macedonia, citizens who are honest and have not violated the laws must not live in fear, but those who have made or are obliged to make the abuses necessary for them to acquire property and wealth illegally, to come to power through forgery and to damage the state and the citizens.
We must not allow post-regime euphoria and vengeance, which will be equally harmful if not worse than a witch-hunt, to reign over the country. Victims of Gruevism cannot be impartial judges.
Their rehabilitation and indemnity should be a serious commitment to the new legal order as great as the fair punishment of the perpetrators of crime and abuse. The true lustration of the Macedonian society is in sight. How well this process will run successfully without media demonization and judgments in advance publicly expressed, the sooner the rule of law will prevail.
The strongest trump card of justice for the ineffectiveness of crime and the abuse of power is not only in judgments and length of prison sentences, but also in the amount of compensation for the damaged and the state treasury. The confiscation of illegally acquired property and the return of the rightful owners is the strongest proof that justice has come to Macedonia.
There are no ideal societies. Even in the most lawful and most democratic countries there are people in prison because they violated the law, there are people who were released because of lack of evidence. But the ratio must be in favor of law and justice, and not criminals. In Macedonia, the situation has been reversed for a long time. It’s time to weigh the scales of justice.
Views expressed in this article are personal views of the author and do not represent the editorial policy of Nezavisen Vesnik