The Prosecution for organized crime and corruption and the current Special Prosecutor’s Office will merge into a single institution – Prosecutor’s Office for organized crime and high corruption, and will prosecute the crime of the so-called “white collars”. The prosecutors from the Prosecutor’s Office for Organized Crime and the SPO prosecutors will merge their knowledge and resources, but it is not yet specified where this new prosecutor’s office will be located, whether in the old building of Vilma Ruskovska’s Prosecution located within the Appellate Court, or Ruskoska with her prosecutors will be stationed in the new building of the Special Public Prosecutor’s Office on Roosevelt Street. The new law on public prosecution proposed by the Government is published on the Ministry of Justice website. Although all aspects of the newly reformed SPO have been regulated, after it was published, it became the target of political calculations and various interpretations.
Prime Minister Zoran Zaev initially promoted Ruskovska as head of the new SPO, but after the opposition attacked him for doing this, Zaev withdrew his decision and said that the election will be made by the Public Prosecutors Council and that candidates can apply for the helm of the reformed SPO.
However, in one of the transitional and final provisions of the new draft law, it is said that Vilma Ruskovska will lead the new Prosecutor’s Office, whose target should be high officials.
“From the day of enforcing this law, the Public Prosecutor of the Public Prosecutor’s Office for Organized Crime and Corruption prosecution continues to perform his function as Public Prosecutor of the Public Prosecutor’s Office for Organized Crime and High Corruption until the completion of the mandate for which he/she was elected”, reads the provision.
Although the political parties negotiate with the new position of the Prosecutor’s Office, this provision means that Ruskovska remains in the boss’s seat until her mandate expires, that is, in the next few years. After Ruskovska’s mandate expires, then there will be a public ad to which prosecutors who want to take Ruskovska’s place can apply. Only then the election of the head of the new Prosecutor’s Office will be carried out by the Council of Public Prosecutors.
Some of the prosecutors in unofficially comment that the head of the new prosecution cannot be incorporated into the law, but the election should be conducted by the Public Prosecutors Council, where all prosecutors who wish to take over this office can run.
The new law of the Government envisions that all SPO prosecutors are transferred to the new prosecutor’s office and remain there until their mandate expires in about a year. The current resigning head, Katica Janeva, will be transferred to the Republic Public Prosecutor’s Office.
Parliament Speaker Talat Xhaferi scheduled the session for the new draft law on public prosecution. This proposal, which depends on the start of the country’s negotiations with the European Union, will be put to a vote in Parliament on August 27, ie after returning from the MPs’ summer recess. The draft law that is published on the website of the Parliament is marked with a European flag and will be carried out with a fast-track procedure. This version of the law, for the time being, is not final and any provision can be changed after the amendment, as well as the transitional provision that puts Ruskova in the head position. However, it is certain that the adoption of this law will be relatively fast, there will be no public debate. The need for adoption of the law will be determined and the law will be sent to committee debates, and then to a plenary session.
Even though several days ago VMRO-DPMNE party officials announced that they also drafted a law for the Public Prosecutor’s Office, they still haven’t officially published it. They say that they have technical issues that need to be dealt with and then they will probably submit it to the Parliament. However, in order to pass their proposal, a two-thirds majority is required, which they will hardly provide.
State Prosecutor Ljubomir Joveski called VMRO-DPMNE’s decision irrational.
He believes that, even in such a situation, according to the jurisdiction, most of the cases would belong exactly to the new specialized department for prosecution of high corruption and sees no other point in it, except creating chaos. The transfer of all cases of the SPO to other prosecution offices will take a lot of time, because the new prosecutors will take months to study the cases.
Prime Minister Zaev came out with a new solution for the SPO after the opening of the “Racket” investigation, which was also compromised by the head Special Public Prosecutor, Katica Janeva. She is not a suspect for the time being, while the owner of 1 TV, Bojan Jovanovski – Boki 13 and Zoran Mileski – Kicheec are in detention for racketeering. Janeva’s two mobile phones have been confiscated by the police for the needs of the investigation, but other information concerning this investigation has not been revealed. At the same time when the investigation pf the “Racket” case was announced, Janeva resigned and not come out in public, and a week later she appeared and held a press conference where she told reporters that her name has been abused.
European Commissioner Johannes Hahn visited the country last week and said that the Special Public Prosecutor’s Office should survive in spite of the “Racket” case. A day after Hahn’s visit, Assistant Secretary of State Philip Reeker came to the country and directly addressed the opposition that the time for political games was over. Reeker was determined that no one should be amnestied because of past deadlines.