The Supreme Court has been reviewing the final ruling against former Interior Minister Gordana Jankuloska, who has been sentenced to four years in prison for the “Tank” case, or the purchase of luxury Mercedes for Gruevski, for more than two months.
The highest court has only briefly informed that there is no decision on the case yet. This means that the former minister can be free and enjoy her time with her child until the Supreme Court decides, maybe even longer if the Supreme Court returns the case for retrial.
On June 24, the Supreme Court upheld Jankuloska’s request for an extraordinary review of the verdict and postponed serving her prison sentence.
Judge Dobrila Kacarska primarily sentenced Jankuloska to six years in prison for abuse of power and authority, and the Court of Appeals reduced her sentence to four years in prison. The execution of this final verdict was initially delayed because Jankuloska’s baby had not turned one year old. In the meantime, the Supreme Court has accepted her request for reconsideration of the verdict and Jankuloska is currently free.
Similarly, former Prime Minister and Minister Vlado Buchkovski was saved from serving prison when the Supreme Court postponed serving his sentence and then returned the case for retrial. The process has begun again, but it is far from over.
Currently the acting head of the highest court is Judge Faik Arslani, after the Judicial Council ruled to dismiss Jovo Vangelovski. On September 10, the Judicial Council dismissed Vangelovski for unprofessional and reckless conduct over his decision to release businessman Sead Kochan from the SPO “Trust” case.
Following this decision of the Judicial Council, Vangelovski is not available for comments and questions from the media. He had eight days to appeal the decision, but the Judicial Council did not say whether they had received an appeal from Vangelovski on the grounds that the information was confidential. The Supreme Court says they have not received any appeals from the Judicial Council yet.
The votes of the five supreme judges, or some of the judges whose chief was dismissed until recently, former Supreme Court president Jovo Vangelovski, are the majority in the Judicial Council’s appeals chamber that will have to decide whether they will accept the appeal filed by the judge following the dismissal decision.
According to the procedure, Vangelovski has the right to appeal within eight days of receiving the decision by the Council of Judges, with nine judges as members. Three judges will be elected by the Supreme Court, and one judge will be selected by drawing lots from the four appellate districts in the country (Skopje, Bitola, Shtip and Gostivar), each of which has several basic courts in the cities. The number of supreme judges is increasing as two more judges are elected from the court where the dismissed judge, i.e. the Supreme Court, worked. Thus, Vangelovski’s appeal will be decided by five supreme judges and four judges who will be selected by drawing lots.
The Appeals Chamber may confirm or revoke the decision of the Judicial Council. After two years of filing the claim, the Council of Public Prosecutors dismissed Vangelovski for unprofessional and reckless conduct with seven votes in favor.
This was Vangelovski’s second term as head of the Supreme Court, and his name was repeatedly linked to the previous government because of his family ties with former Parliament Speaker Trajko Veljanoski. But even after the change of power, he won the presidency in the highest court. One of the most controversial decisions taken by the vast majority of judges during his second term was the principled legal opinion declaring the SPO incompetent to launch investigations and open cases after the disputed deadline. This legal opinion started the SPO’s legal sinking, and the biggest benefit went to the suspects in the “Empire” case, which the Supreme Court released.