Criminal law professor Gordan Kalajdziev, who is close to the ruling SDSM party, warned that the Special Prosecutor’s cases, which were used to bring down the VMRO-DPMNE Government, will likely amount to nothing in the end. According to Kalajdziev, the pardons President Ivanov gave in 2016 to numerous politicians of all parties, who were victims of politically motivated charges, will be considered valid in the eyes of the European Court of Human Rights.

In one case, against two former secret service officials, the Greek Supreme Court already found that Ivanov’s amnesty is still valid, even though it was withdrawn under tremendous international pressure. The Greek court found that, according to the ECHR, once given, a pardon can’t be revoked. Kalajdziev insists that the Government must now go after Ivanov in order to nullify the pardons.

After Ivanov is no longer President, he can be held politically and criminally responsible. He gave a de facto amnesty, which should be prerogative of the Parliament, and not pardons, which is his prerogative. As it stands now, the ECHR will defeat these cases because an institution of the state choose to play with people’s destinies, Kalajdziev said.

Ivanov described the charges initiated by the Special Prosecutor’s Office against VMRO-DPMNE officials, but also a number of counter charges against SDSM officials by the regular OJO Public Prosecutor’s Office, as an attempt to blackmail the political elite in Macedonia. The SPO charges were seen as a way to remove VMRO from office and install a new Government which would rename the country and accept all other Greek demands in the name issue. Ivanov said that he is trying to stop this development by giving pardons to the blackmailed politicians, but under strong US and EU pressure, the pardons were revoked.