Skopje, 30 June 2020 (MIA) – Chief State Public Prosecutor Ljubomir Joveski in an interview with MIA notes that the Public Prosecutor’s Office is prepared and fully committed to implementing the new Law on Public Prosecutor’s Office, which enters into force Tuesday.
According to him, the law lays the foundation for a modern public prosecution in charge of prosecuting crimes.
Regarding the cases of the Special Public Prosecution (SPO), Joveski says the regular prosecution has taken over the cases to resume proceedings making sure perpetrators of crimes get the sentence they deserved.
“The Public Prosecutor’s Office will not make the same mistake again, when the SPO was established because the regular prosecution hadn’t opened investigation in certain cases. Thus, I assure you that these cases will be closed,” he stresses.
Prosecutor Ljubomir Joveski, the new Law on Public Prosecutor’s Office enters into force today. Is the Prosecutor’s Office prepared to implement this law?
The new Law on Public Prosecutor’s Office enters into force starting today. Until now, we have worked under outdated legislation that was not suitable for the modern needs and the duties of the public prosecutors, who are in charge of investigative procedures. The Public Prosecutor’s Office is ready and fully committed to implementing the provisions in the new law. The legislation contains solid foundation for a modern public prosecution body in charge of prosecuting perpetrators of unlawful crimes.
What kind of concrete changes the new law envisages?
The law provides some quality solutions. I’d like to underscore the chance given to the public prosecution to become financially independent. The public knows that for years there has been lack of material and human resources. It has greatly affected our work. Under the new law, the budget for public prosecutors will be at least 0.4 per cent of the national budget. Financial independence is a precondition not only for improved and efficient functioning, but also guarantees reinforced independence in the actions conducted by the prosecution office.
Furthermore, the law regulates and stipulates that the public prosecutors have clear responsibilities, their independence, hence, I expect the professionalism and responsibility of public prosecutors to contribute to improving the efficiency overall. Under the law, one’s career is validated as a condition allowing a prosecutor to be promoted. Namely, prosecutors with extensive experience in low-ranking public prosecutor’s offices can only be appointed to serve in high-ranking prosecution. Criteria for public prosecutors are being made more specific. The above-mentioned is expected to increase public trust in the institution.
As regards the organizational structure, the Public Prosecutor’s Office for Organized Crime and Corruption, in line with the provisions of the new law, has both financial independence and independence in forming cases. It’s also significant that the chief public prosecutor appointed to be at the helm of the institution will be elected in direct elections by the public prosecutors. This process guarantees that any interference from the outside will be eliminated. At the same time, this provides efficiency and unbiased actions in prosecuting perpetrators of serious crimes and corruption.
During a debate at a Parliament session on the law, you said it offered a strong, professional and responsible public prosecution institution. Do public prosecutors share your view? After all, the law offers mechanism to prevent interference, but this doesn’t depend on the provision, it depends of the public prosecutors themselves, whether their approach will be professional and unbiased.
As I said, the law lays the foundations for a strong, professional and responsible public prosecutor’s office. Public prosecutors and their work will be evaluated in a procedure regulated by the law. The law provides mechanisms to prevent interference and increase efficiency. Increasing independence, securing criteria for the profession of public prosecutors and taking into consideration one’s career for further promotion I believe will further motivate public prosecutors to be fully professional and committed to doing their very responsible job. It’s the only way to show the public that the Public Prosecutor’s Office has professionals, competent individuals rejecting influence and prepared to fight crime.
Before the law was adopted in February, the government and the opposition clashed over the law. Do you expect to face obstructions while implementing the law?
I do not. I see no reason for it. The Public Prosecutor’s Office many times has been the target of political bickering. The Law on Public Prosecutor’s Office lays solid foundations to strengthen the capacity of the institution and the profession itself. A strong Public Prosecutor’s Office is crucial for our society, for all of us, for the country. Rule of law is the foundation of every democracy and equality of the citizens.
Prosecutor Joveski, the so called ‘Racket’ trial ended in a verdict in a relatively short time. It took six months to complete the process. Unlike this case, some of the cases opened by the now defunct Special Public Prosecution (SPO), which have been taken over by the Public Prosecutor’s Office for Organized Crime and Corruption, are either stalled or delayed in the midst of the coronacrisis. When can we expect these cases to be resumed?
The public prosecutors are continuously working on all cases. Depending on which stage the case was in when it was taken over, the process is ongoing. The health crisis has interrupted all spheres of life and the judiciary was no exception. The utmost priority was to protect the health of all the people involved in the cases. I’ll reiterate that the prosecutors are working on the cases and the public will be informed on all decisions that are going to be made on time.
The Public Prosecutor’s Office has taken over SPO cases to make sure the proceedings are not closed and the perpetrators receive the sentence they deserve. The Public Prosecutor’s Office will not make the same mistake again, when the SPO was established because the regular prosecution hadn’t opened investigation in certain cases. Thus, I assure you that these cases will be closed.
Daniela Markoska Aleksovska
Translated by Bisera Altiparmakova
Photos from MIA’s archive