Ristoska: Amendments to the Criminal Code are an insult to professionals who fight against corruption
After the amendments to the Criminal Code (CPC), which reduced the penalties for abuse of office and for criminal association, the Prosecutor's Office has short deadlines to issue verdicts in high-profile cases where there is no statute of limitations, emphasized prosecutor Lenče Ristoska in connection with the legal amendments with which will make it more difficult to reach the finality of judgments due to statute of limitations. The amendments to the Criminal Code have a great impact on the culture of impunity that has existed in the past years, added Ristoska, a former prosecutor in the Special Public Prosecutor's Office (SPO), and now in the Skopje Public Prosecutor's Office.
- The prosecutor's office is faced with a truly thankless and difficult task. We have short deadlines where there is no statute of limitations to get it done promptly. On the other hand, the resources are as they are and the conditions are not improved. A large part of the subjects in which we have so far invested a lot of resources and energy are already becoming obsolete, at least the ones in which I act. An analysis is underway at the Prosecutor's Office to see exactly what the implications of the amendments to the CC will be. But the changes themselves, as such, I personally perceive as an insult to all professionals who have invested in the fight, above all, against corruption, because these changes will mostly affect corrupt crimes - said Ristoska.
When asked if there is any way out for the cases in which high-ranking officials are tried, such as, for example, requalification of the acts, in-depth investigation, etc., Ristoska answered that the Prosecutor's Office will do everything it can to get the most out of it.
– For ongoing investigations and non-trial cases, it is understood that the investigations will include additional segments. Those on trial will have to be retrained to get the most out of the situation. Also, let's not forget that any changes that save someone from criminal liability do not exempt the property benefit from liability, the confiscation remains in force, so we will fight to implement it - said Ristoska.
She added that confiscation is currently half-live and there are problems in that segment, but JO must do everything possible to secure the property, and where there are problems in confiscation, better political cooperation or amendments to the law are needed.
And while waiting for the OJ to adopt a general prosecutor's position on how to proceed further in the cases covered by the latest amendments to the CC, this week three cases of the former SJO were in the courtroom in which former officials are tried - today was "Trajectory", and before that "Titanic" and "Target-Fortress". For the "Trajectory" case, which is in evidentiary proceedings, the trial continued. Former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, who is being tried in absentia, ex-Minister of Transport and Communications Mile Janakieski, former Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Peshevski and former Director of State Roads JP, Ljupco Georgievski, are indicted for the tender for the construction of the highways Miladinovci-Shtip and Kichevo-Ohrid. The representative of this accusation is the prosecutor Lile Stefanova, who in the "Titanic" case a few days ago, during the trial, did not mention the legal changes, and in a conversation with journalists explained that it will be pronounced in the closing statement. According to her, then the accusation of criminal association will be withdrawn, and the court will establish the statute of limitations in the verdict. The lawyers, on the other hand, explained that the court cannot, on their proposal or ex officio, establish the statute of limitations of a criminal case in the middle of a trial, but only on the initiative of the prosecutor's office. In the "Titanic" case, Nikola Gruevski, Kiril Bojinovski, Mile Janakieski, Gordana Jankuloska, Biljana Brishkoska Boskovski, as well as Ilija Dimovski, Munir Pepić, Edmond Temelko, Leko Ristovski, Kiril Todorovski and others are accused of criminal association, violation of the right to vote and others.
The trial of the "Target-Tvrdina" case, on the other hand, at the request of the Public Prosecutor's Office, was postponed at the request of the Public Prosecutor's Office until an appropriate public prosecutor's decision was made. At the hearing, Judge Ilija Trpkov informed that the court received a submission from the Public Prosecutor's Office regarding the amendments to the CC, which affected the legal qualification of the criminal acts and the indictment, after which he rescheduled the trial for October 4. The "Target-Trvdina" case is one of the key cases of the SJO and concerns mass illegal wiretapping. An appeal brought him back for a retrial, and in the original verdict for the illegal mass wiretapping, the defendants received a total of 55 years in prison, of which 12 years for the former head of UBK, Sašo Mijalkov, and 15 years for Goran Grujevski and Nikola Boskovski, six years for Tony Jakimovski, four Gordana Jankulovska and three years in prison Nadica Nikolic.