Wednesday, 19 December 2018 | News today: 16

Zaev’s Government turns its prosecutors on President Ivanov

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The Justice Ministry is preparing a new law on the Special Prosecutors’ Office (SPO) which would give the much criticized institution mandate to initiate charges against leading officials, including the President, at a time when SDSM Government officials and allied media outlets are turning on the President, who is the last remaining senior VMRO-DPMNE appointed official in the country.

President Ivanov clashed with the Government over the detention of two former VMRO-DPMNE officials, Mile Janakieski and Kiril Bozinovski, when his office pointed out to the many failings in the procedure widely seen as revenge detention after Nikola Gruevski left the country. The President, whose term expires early next year, is also key in the adoption of the amendments meant to rename Macedonia into North Macedonia, which the Government is ramming through Parliament.

The pressure on Ivanov comes from testimonies by several people charged with being involved in the April 27th incident in the Parliament. At court hearings, apparently timed to fill media space during the debates on the constitutional amendments, defendants like Aleksandar Vasilevski – Ninja accused officials from the Office of President Ivanov of participating in crisis meetings over the incident, when SDSM’s push to elect a new Speaker provoked the assembled protesters to storm the building. According to the testimony, President Ivanov was thinking about declaring martial law in the country as the incident developed.

– The Office of the President didn’t discuss or consider declaring a state of emergency or martial law. We believe that the latest mentions of the Secretary General to the President, Boris Josifovski, in this alleged plan to declare martial law or state of emergency is yet another in the line of desperate attempts to create a scenario which would, without any basis, involve the Office of the President and the President himself, in the events on April 27th 2017, the Office of the President said in a press release.

These latest testimonies served as an excuse to order additional detentions of former officials such as then director of the UBK police service Vladimir Atanasovski. VMRO-DPMNE leader Hristijan Mickoski said that 15 party supporters faced police raids last week, during which special police forces members with assault rifles barged into their homes, before their wives and children.

President Ivanov also pointed out to one of the many failures of the courts and the SPO, when a still classified UBK report was used as evidence to detain Janakieski and Bozinovski, which is a violation of the law on classified information. The SPO, which has seen its public support melt away as they continue to push with charges exclusively against VMRO-DPMNE officials, was supposed to file charges only over the cache of wiretaps which the SDSM party began broadcasting in early 2015, and to stop filing additional charges in a year and half. But, according to the new draft law, it would gain additional competencies, to begin prosecuting even other judicial branches, all Macedonian officials, diplomats, and even political party officials.