North Macedonia: Public Prosecution bill continues to provoke controversy

North Macedonia: Public Prosecution bill continues to provoke controversy

The deadline is expiring and the new Public Prosecution bill continues to cause clashes between political parties, which have yet to reach an agreement. Today, there will be a new meeting attended by representatives of all political parties, which will show whether there is room for the VMRO-DPMNE to vote in favor of the bill or whether the bill will pass with two-thirds of the votes without them.

Prior to the meeting, Justice Minister Renata Deskoska made a significant concession, announcing the withdrawal of an article in the latest version of the law, stating that Special Prosecution investigations would be conducted by the regular Prosecutor’s Office.

According to Deskoska, this article can be deleted because it does not sit well with VMRO-DPMNE and becasue it does not concern the procedure as it will be governed by the law on criminal procedure. Yesterday, SDSM leader Zoran Zaev said that the adoption of the Prosecutor’s Law would guarantee the country’s European future and that any interference with this process would mean avoiding justice and drifting away from the EU.

“Let us show real democratic capacity to build strong and independent institutions that will fight crime and corruption”, Zaev urged.

Earlier, Deskoska confirmed the meeting of party representatives, including VMRO-DPMNE. She has no doubt that, even after the concession, the bill includes the creation of powerful mechanisms to prosecute organized crime and corruption, which, in addition to its current responsibilities, will also handle cases prosecuted by the Special Prosecution’s Office.

“This mechanism, according to the proposed text, will have a specific status and financial guarantees, which will allow and guarantee its independence from the executive and legislative branches, so that there will not be room for blackmail, neither financially nor with any other political influence”, Deskoska said.

The Minister has called the opposition claims that the law is unconstitutional “excessive”, saying it is absolutely wrong, because the public prosecution’s office idea for ​​intensified prosecution of organized crime and corruption exists in other countries.

VMRO-DPMNE confirmed that it would attend the meeting, but stressed that it had more comments than just the one the minister proposed for compromise. The nationalist party avoids using the word support for the bill, insisting on the demands of the international community for political consensus, which in their view would mean concessions and changes to the text to meet their needs.

Deskoska yesterday left room for consensus on the process of appointing a prosecutor for organized crime and corruption, but not from the opposition’s proposal, but to make the process more transparent.

We will continue our effort to persuade all MPs and obtain a majority. Anyone who has good intentions is welcome, those who do not will not be allowed to obstruct the legislative process, said Justice Minister Deskoska.

Parliament Speaker Talat Xhaferi announced yesterday that if the text of the law is harmonized or if a majority of 80 votes are secured, he will put it to a parliamentary session immediately. Xhaferi noted that there is such a procedure, but it depends on the will of parliament.

Prime Minister Oliver Spasovski has said he is opposed to any legal solution that would hinder criminal prosecution against anyone.

“Political entities, parties and independent MPs must take responsibility for Parliament. I expect that from the ongoing debate, lawmakers will be assisted on how they can proceed with the draft bill on the Public Prosecutor’s Office./ibna