Friday, 15 December 2017 | News today: 7

Gruevski: We have trapped state, judges who are afraid, SPO that uses threats

In the fourth part of the interview, VMRO-DPMNE president, Nikola Gruevski, refers to the court cases against him by the SPO, the atmosphere felt in the judiciary, the acts of judges, the economy and the challenges with which the country is facing, the cases related to the April 27 incident and the persecution of people who stormed the Parliament.

You say that paid experts exert pressure on the judiciary. What kind of experts are you talking about?

GRUEVSKI: A bunch of those experts and analysts, professors, lawyers, NGO representatives that you see every night in talk shows defending government policies and threatening judges, are mercenaries, they are on the payroll of the SPO or some NGO financed from outside, or some other state institution, or they are members of the puppet government who play independent analysts or experts. For fees or some future function, they are ready to say everything. Some of them are just happy to be invited to a cocktail party or a celebration in the company of powerful figures. Some of them publicly defend positions of the SPO and SDSM, while they speak the opposite in private, and they say they do it for a fee, for money. And they do not care. Some of them are publicly known to be SPO advisers, which means they take money for it, and appear every month in some show and act as independent experts.

And so we have a SPO that works with a full party agenda, and judges who have no atmosphere for making a fair court decision. Now the PPO will be fully under control. We have a classic example of trapped state, in which anyone who disagrees with the puppet government and its supporters can be charged and sentenced without guilt, and confirmed where they would appeal. Judges publicly speak one thing, whereas with their close ones they speak another thing, which does not diminish their responsibility. That is why they are judges, to decide by law and not to succumb to pressures wherever they come from. Not to succumb, and aside say that they are terrified, that they are under threat and blackmail and the like.

One day, everything will be revised. And there will be a responsibility for everything, no matter how powerful this puppet government may seem now.

How do you know that judges speak that way in private?

GRUEVSKI: I know because it’s done and spoken massively. They are people as well. They decide against their conscience, and it makes them speak at least to their close friends, associates, relatives. We are a small country, it is learned quickly. And you do not have to talk much. It is enough to read Article 12 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, where it clearly and unequivocally states that illegally acquired audio and video materials cannot be evidence in court proceedings or to develop evidence from them.

But their interpretation and explanation is that the SPO obtained the tapes legally by the PPO or SDSM, according to the law … And that SDSM or the one who gave them them has illegally acquired them, it does not matter. So you can obtain illegally created materials, give them to someone else, let them legally leave them in institutions and suddenly illegally acquired materials are legal. There’s nothing like it elsewhere. Illegal evidence cannot be legitimized, neither by some law, nor by a SPO letter.

It is nothing but a classic monkey business and misuse of the law. Playing tricks with legal norms. Political, not a legal decision. These are political processes, not legal ones. Everyone is aware of it. Nowhere in the world, nor in America, nor in Macedonia, nor in Europe, illegally acquired created materials can be evidence in a court procedure, and there’s no lawyer who does not know or recognize it, at least privately. Publicly is something else. Public speaking depends on what interests they have and where they belong politically. Why does not America recognize the documents that came out of Snowden and Assange and start proceedings in their courts, and related to those materials? Politicians refuse to comment, let alone consider putting them in legal circulation. And we are talking about written documents. Let alone audio tapes or SMS messages ..

The thing with SMS messages is a special story. If you can cut and paste audio material, on SMS messages, when transferring from one medium to another, in the case where the original equipment does not exist to check the original text, in the messages you can write whatever you want, just the same number of characters, letters need to stay  … There is no country in the world whose judiciary and judges would accept it. Except in a captive state such as Macedonia, where judges function under fear and threat, and consider it to be sufficient justification to make illegal decisions.

Is it just a problem, what is the atmosphere felt in the judiciary?

GRUEVSKI: It’s not just a matter of accepting the created materials as evidence, but the complete atmosphere in the judiciary. Fear among judges of being dismissed, relocated, lynched by the media and accused if they do not decide in the same way as someone asks them or not, as they think the ruler is expecting, whoever he is, Zaev or someone which they think is the ruler. That fear determines their decisions, not the law and the evidence. It is a hideous atmosphere, an atmosphere in which judges must become a “hangmen” in order to maintain their career, and feels that it is right.

It can be seen that the SPO and the government dictate the work of the court, and the court in the SPO sees as an undisputed authority upon whose requests and indications must always act in order not to cause problems. The atmosphere in the court is such that some of the judges see the SPO as a superior organ and they act like that.

From the first proceedings of some of the judges in several cases, it becomes clear that some judges are afraid of being politically and, through this, legally charged or degraded by the media, with the intention not only to convict the defendants without guilt in order to satisfy the SPO and the ruler, and not be punished or attacked by the media, but also to run the cases at a fast pace as never before, as there is almost no other example, only to show that they are cooperative with the government and provide peace and commodity from a possible a raid of attacks on them that would result in their punishment or degradation.

An atmosphere in which judges and prosecutors are invited by embassies to be given directions that become more important than the law. An atmosphere in which judges decide according to the prevailing public opinion dictated by the government through the control of most of the media, an atmosphere in which judges when deciding do not see the facts and the laws, but what someone powerful person, who could threaten their career, might think about their decision. There is no rule of law here. There are defendants without guilt, convicted in advance. And so, one day, someone will be held accountable for this. Nobody and nothing is eternal, let alone this puppet government.

But do not you think that this problem in the judiciary can be resolved through reform processes?

GRUEVSKI: How can reforms solve a problem when the chief public prosecutor of the SPO has a party membership card of SDSM and evident and already published evidence for a paid membership fee? This is something that reforms will not change.

How can reforms change the behavior of a judge who deeply in himself believes and knows that in this insane time when the government has all the power, when the outside factor protects the puppet government, and the judges have nowhere to complain and get protection, they must judge as expected by the government, and that otherwise they are threatened with dismissal and persecution. When they know that one thing is spoken, that every judge should judge by their own conviction, while something else is done, that is, everyone that did not make a decision as the ruler wanted, an NGO financed from somewhere, suggested their dismissal to the fact-finding council, and now waiting whether they will be dismissed or not, they should judge impartially.  And those who have not yet been mentioned at the fact-finding council, see what happens to their colleagues, and the lesson is to judge as the ruler expects, not as they publicly speak and advocate. Public speaking is only for the public and for political points. Some of the judges do what they consider it is politically desired by the ruler.

However, the times will change, the value of this puppet government will pass. The people will restore the power in their own hands. The injustice will be corrected. Responsibility for complicity will not escape anyone. Justice will be satisfied and will get to everyone, and mostly those who are now in clouds and think they are untouchable and can do to us whatever they want, without the law being on their side, and without ever having consequences for it.

You are facing multiple charges, do you feel guilty?

GRUEVSKI: What should I feel guilty about? About slaps not hit, about a justified revolt among people of religious impulses? About an object that the municipal government had demolished because it was illegal construction, and that was proved in court in all instances? About roads whose construction and conditions including a contract and everything, accepted by Parliament with a special law that the opposition has voted for?

About financing the party in the same way as the law regulates it, and as all parties are financed and about a request of the SPO to donors who turned their backs on the party for some reason, so now they do not remember whether they donated something and about something that was not part from my engagement? About the purchase of a bulletproof vehicle for the Ministry of Interior with a tender, although they had a legal right to purchase it even without a tender if they wanted to do some wrongdoing? I cannot feel guilty about something I didn’t do. The fact that now there is a political persecution and a negative campaign against me and over a hundred people from the party, the fact that by control over the prosecutor’s offices and the judiciary through harassment with passport-taking and illegal decisions they want to politically denigrate us especially in light of the very unpopular political steps that are preparing, in order to rob us of the energy for political struggle, resistance, trust and defense of the interests of the country and the people, all this means only a dirty political game, and no guilt.

They focused on the fact that in the elections, 300-400 Macedonians from Pustec voted in Macedonia, and they have no problem that in the same elections over 6,000 Albanians were brought from the diaspora to vote in Kicevo and Struga. Just like now, they will destroy monuments of Macedonian activists, but they will not touch Skanderbeg or Hasan Prishtina. Nor Nexhat Agolli nor the monuments of other Albanian historical characters that I have nothing, absolutely nothing against, but on the contrary, I respect them very much, but I point out the focus on one party and against the history of a nation. It’s a classic political witchhunt.

Dozens of people were promised to have their charges dismissed only if they give false testimony against me for non-existent actions. No shame, no elemental conscience.

They do the same to persons participating in April 27 incidents. Same offers. People who have never met or talked to me, shocked by what they ask of them, recount how they try to force them to make false confessions or false testimony against me. This didn’t happen even in the Communism or in 1949. All of this involves both prosecutors and politicians.

You, as a party, have taken the stance that you are supporting the amnesty of these people after the government’s announcement of amnesty for prisoners, and after the release of more prisoners that have committed serious crimes. Are you still taking this stance?

GRUEVSKI: Absolutely. Or justice for all, or freedom for these people who made a mistake when entering the Parliament and using force, but not only they did it by patriotic motives, not only they were obviously deliberately provoked by the consciously unlawful and unconstitutional appointment of Parliament Speaker , but they should also be punished for acts committed at a time when more than 1,000 prisoners will be amnestied for far more serious acts, and when the new puppet government has released serious criminals. Meaning patriots go to jail while criminals are released. That’s injustice.

I was the first politician in Macedonia who publicly condemned the incidents in the Parliament. But also the first to publicly ask for their amnesty when it became clear that the puppet government wants to enforce selective justice, to to exempt from sanctions people close people to it politically, or prisoners from whom it expect support for the elections, and arrests those who are political opponents.

It strikes how this puppet government, in half a year of its work, does not create anything new, does not solve problems, does not conduct reforms, does not open new jobs, and only deals with producing fear and desire to rule with fear, threats, criminal underworld and racketeering…

And while all this is happening, the economy is sinking …

The government claims it is due to the political crisis. Do you accept that argument?

GRUEVSKI: The political crisis was even greater in 2015 and in 2016 when we had a growth of over 3%. Since June, there has been no political crisis, and we have a serious economic downturn, which is likely to end with a growth of less than one percent and maybe a decline.

With a smart economic strategy and with a lot of work we opened 180 thousand new jobs. When we entered the government there were 560 thousand employed people in Macedonia. When we left 740 thousand. If it was not for the political crisis, the global financial and European debt crisis would certainly have had over 800 thousand employees. But this is a success that Macedonia has not seen. Look what it is now. There is no new investor in the country since the new puppet government came. Industrial production falls, foreign exchange reserves fall, exports falls, GDP falls, industry turnover falls, construction sinks, excise tax upped, increase of tax profit, personal income tax and VAT has been announced. We have a drop in capital investment in the government. They criticized us that we did not have good and productive projects, but they did not have any new investment projects. It is evident from the new budget for 2018 that they will implement our projects that they criticized, including projects that we did not start, and we announced them. The government has no idea how to strengthen the economy, neither a plan nor a serious strategy. They just issue boasting statements what they are going to do and how good it will be for everyone, and there is nothing on the ground.

Unemployment will be reduced by inertia for some time as a result of the investments we have brought, and in the next 2-3 years in their programs the growth of the number of employees has been determined because they had previously concluded production contracts. They have created a negative atmosphere for foreign investors and some of them are thinking about withdrawing from Macedonia.

Did you fulfill your promises to reduce unemployment?

GRUEVSKI: Yes. In the 2014 elections in the election program, we determined that by the end of the mandate, that is, until April 2018, we will reach unemployment of about 22 percent. Then unemployment was about 28 percent and 22 percent in just 4 years for many seemed unreachable. Not in April 2018, but already in the middle of this year, despite the political crisis, we reduced the unemployment rate to 22.5 percent. I’m pretty proud of that. If we had formed government this year, unemployment would now have been below 22 per cent, with at least 15 to 20 new investments, announces for new factories in Macedonia, because with 60 companies we were in a deep phase of negotiations. In 4 years, unemployment will drop below 18 percent, possibly 15 percent, because we already had the snowball effect in terms of investing. By 2027, it would have been below 10 percent, somewhere between 6 and 9 percent. Now everything stopped. This would have directly affected the increase in salaries among the already employed people, and therefore their standard of living. This would also have affected the growth of pensions, subsidies in agriculture, and social assistance. The highway to Gevgelija would have been in operation a long time ago, and the highway to Stip would have been ready in 3-4 months. The highway to Ohrid, which we left at 50 percent of the realization, where it is still standing, would now have been realized 65 percent, and the express roads from Radovis to Strumica would have already been built, the construction of the one from Stip to Kocani would have been underway at full speed, and the Rankovce – Kriva Palanka expressway with four lanes would have been at the beginning of the construction.

 

End of Republika’s mega interview with VMRO-DPMNE leader Nikola Gruevski