Corner Press release

Public criminal charges pressed against Gjorgje Ivanov 13 April 2016

This press release, besides serving the purpose of informing the public, is also put forward in pursuance of Article 35 of the Law on Public Prosecutor’s Office, according to which this institution is supposed to watch over the legality of the measures and activities undertaken during the preliminary proceedings, and to supervise the observance of human rights by authorized officials in the state institutions. Should any overstepping of their authority be noticed, the Public Prosecutor, on the basis of hearsay or ex officio, is obliged to initiate procedure for determining responsibility.

With regard to yesterday’s announcement of collective pardon by the President of the Republic of Macedonia of 57 suspected perpetrators of criminal offences, against whom criminal charges have been pressed and criminal procedures initiated, we want to inform the domestic and the international public that with this act the President of the Republic of Macedonia Gjorgje Ivanov overstepped his constitutional and legal authority and thereby committed the criminal offense Misuse of official position and authorization, as stipulated in Article 353 of the Criminal Code of RM. 

Namely, the decisions to pardon passed by the President has no legal basis, because Article 11 of the Law on Pardon to which he appeals has actually been annulled, and is currently not part and parcel of the Republic of Macedonia’s legal system.The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Macedonia’s spins, with which, instead of annulling the current provisions of the existing legislative, the Law on Amending the Law on Pardons is being annulled, nevertheless cannot bring back the annulled Article 11 of the Law on Pardons, which used to bestow on the President exclusive right to pardon perpetrators of criminal offences without prior procedure undertaken by the Ministry of Justice.  

On the other hand, with this act the President obviously overstepped his authority, because under the pretense of pardon, which is an act envisaged for particular cases as a corrective of justice in very specific and especially justified cases, he in essence and de facto usurped the authorization for a group and collective amnesty of a significant number of criminal offences, and thus breached the authorization which, on account of its gravity, the Constitution relegates to the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia as its exclusive right. The fact that this is a case of amnesty, and not pardon, is further supported by the President’s statement that in the future he would also pardon other persons against whom proceedings might be initiated by the competent institutions, as well as by the collective explanation of the alleged “pardon”, the causes of which are sought in the political conditions (conflicts) in the country.  

With this act of his, the President has placed himself above the law, above the Parliament, and above the Przhino Agreement, thereby factually revoking the Special Public Prosecution’s authority, as a consensually accepted institution authorized to persecute criminal offences related to the unlawfully wiretapped conversations.This is probably the sole example in history of a Head of State who has pardoned mass and organized violation of human rights and freedoms, including cases of violations of the constitutional right to free elections, violations of privacy, corruptive and other abuses of the political elite, all of which were previously noted in a series of credible and serious domestic and international reports of a host of Governmental and Nongovernmental organizations. An act of this kind is not only an act of demolishing the legal state, but also a serious breach of the international obligations regarding protection of human rights, ratified by the Republic of Macedonia. 

In other words, the state has positive obligation to ensure free exercise and protection of the human rights envisaged in the European Convention and in other international agreements on protection of human rights. It also has clear procedural obligations regarding thorough and efficient investigation of violations of human rights, punishing the perpetrators and prevention of similar cases in the future. With pardoning some of the criminal offences included in the President’s decision, de facto are violated the obligations issuing from Article 2 and 3 of the European Convention, which guarantee right to life and prohibit torture, inhuman and degrading treatment. Also discernible is the mass violation of human rights to privacy, as stipulated in Article 8 of the European Convention, considering that the state, in pursuance of this Article, is obliged to provide efficient control over the prospective misuses of the unlawful wiretapping. At the same time, by preventing the criminal procedures, the President violated the rights of the victims of this abuses, by depriving the victims of effective legal remedy which would provide criminal, moral and material satisfaction to the victims. With this Article 6 of the ECHR is breached, in the sense of preventing efficient access to the Court, as well as Article 13 of the ECHR, on account of rendering inoperative the efficient legal remedy for protection of the violated rights and freedoms. With the aforementioned actions, the President and N. N. person or persons who provided him with the data regarding the active criminal procedures, committed the criminal offence of violation of confidentiality of procedure, as stipulated in Article 369 of the Criminal Code, which is also in connection with Articles 289 and 299 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which envisage confidentiality of criminal procedure.  

Whatshould also not be overlooked is the fact that by obstructing criminal justice in a significant number of corruptive deeds included in the pardons, the President violated the international obligations of the state with regard to the principles of preventing and prosecuting corruption, money laundering, and thus violated the provisions of the Palermo Convention as well. The President, while exercising his authority, failed to provide the necessary elucidation for each individual case of pardon, and insteadoffered politisizing explanations during his address to the public, from which it was not possible to discern neither any justification for the pardons, nor the supposed benefit the country could derive from them. At the contrary, these so-called explanations were full of invocations of “dark forces”, and unsupported and irrational conspiracy theories. On this account, the President still owes the public explanation of the legitimacy of this scandalous act. Additionally, the hastiness and groundlessness of the individual decisions becomes even more obvious in the cases of persons who have been pardoned despite the fact that they were not suspects in any criminal investigation. There are thus individuals among the pardoned persons who have only been subjected to searches in relation to other suspects, as well as individuals who have been charged, but no criminal procedure has been initiated against them. Article 19 of the CCP clearly states that criminal procedure begins with order for investigation or previously undertaken specific investigative activity, which is not the casewith some of the pardoned persons. 

In this way, the President Ivanov who promised the citizens that he would work as a part of the team of the VMRO DPMNE’s Government, crowned himself as an honorary member of the criminal organization responsible for demolishing the legal state and the democracy in the Republic of Macedonia.    

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