Ministry of Justice sends request for Gruevski’s extradition

 Macedonia’s Ministry of Justice has sent the request for the extradition of former prime minister Nikola Gruevski to the Ministry of Justice of Hungary Tuesday afternoon.

“The extradition request is in reference to a verdict rendered by a court involving a two-year prison sentence and to four criminal proceedings under way in domestic courts. We also point out that he is the subject of four investigations and one preliminary investigation, which can be already put on trial by the relevant bodies depending on the investigation,” reads the Ministry’s press release.

In the request, the Ministry of Justice elaborates that not a single criminal offence for which Nikola Gruevski has been convicted or for which he is tried is not a political or military criminal offence, meaning these offences are not envisaged in the European Convention on Extradition as legal grounds on which extradition can be rejected.

The Ministry of Justice says that the rights of Nikola Gruevski have been secured, including the right to defense in courts in line with the European Convention on Human Rights. Nikola Gruevski was not put in detention for neither of the charges against him while standing trials. He had several defense teams, picked by his own choice, with whom he had many means to communicate and he had all the rights foreseen according to the Law on Criminal Procedure.

The trial in which the verdict was reached and all other proceedings in which Gruevski is the accused have been monitored by the OSCE. Hungary is also one of its members.

The OSCE Mission to Skopje on 28 August 2018 released the first preliminary report on the activities and cases of the Special Public Prosecution (SPO). No remarks for the observed cases, in terms of the rights of the defendants, have been raised and there is no suspicion that the criminal proceedings are politically motivated. This report is available for the public on OSCE’s website, says the Ministry.

Furthermore, it states, the Republic of Macedonia is a safe country, and is not caught in a conflict, either international or internal, that might put the lives of individuals in danger.

Nikola Gruevski, as former prime minister, is entitled to a personal security detail of six Interior Ministry members in accordance with domestic legislation. “We would also like to note that Gruevski has never reported that his life and personal integrity are under threat,” it adds.

The request also points out the annulment of the pardons granted by the President of Macedonia as well as the fact that they were rescinded, including the fact that Nikola Gruevski himself asked for a withdrawal of his pardon in a letter sent to the Office of the President.

“The Republic of Macedonia calls for the individual Gruevski to be extradited. Bearing in mind the gravity of the offenses, we demand that he should be apprehended and put in detention since an international warrant for his arrest has been already issued,” reads the statement of the Ministry of Justice.