The Macedonian Tendency: Yikes! Ohrid Agreement Ties Macedonia's Hands

Friday, June 24, 2005

Yikes! Ohrid Agreement Ties Macedonia's Hands

This is an excerpt from report by Halit Ajdini entitled 'No one can deal with NLA apart from The Hague' published by the Macedonian Albanian-language newspaper Fakti on 22 June. If is is true that Macedonia cannot try people who have committed crimes, then is is bad news for the future of the country.

Amnesty prevents Macedonia prosecuting cases rejected by ICTY - legal expert: "Amnesty prevents Macedonia prosecuting cases rejected by ICTY - legal expert
Jun 23, 2005, 11:25 GMT
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The Macedonian courts do not have the right to deal with cases rejected by the Hague tribunal [International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia - ICTY]. This limitation is stipulated in the Amnesty Law, which applies to all NLA [National Liberation Army - UCK in Albanian] fighters and others who participated in the 2001 conflict. This law has been approved by parliament and has been published in the Official Gazette.

The statement by Public Prosecutor Aleksandar Prcevski that Macedonia was going to try the cases that the Hague tribunal had rejected has no legal basis, because if that were to happen it would constitute a violation of the Amnesty Law; that is, Article 4 of that law.

'The Amnesty Law exists and has been published in the Official Gazette. It clearly stipulates that all cases that have to do with the 2001 conflict, but are not included in the amnesty, are under the jurisdiction of the Hague tribunal,' said Naser Zyberi, a legal expert and participant in the drafting of the Oher [Ohrid Framework] Agreement in 2001. [Passage omitted]

Zyberi explained that Macedonia has been excluded from the four cases that fall under the responsibility of the Hague tribunal. 'Macedonia has been excluded from the prosecution of these cases. Regardless of the justification that the Hague tribunal has announced for deciding not to prosecute these cases, Macedonia is prohibited under the Amnesty Law to continue investigations into these cases. The law prohibits the prosecutor and all courts from dealing with these cases,' Zyberi said.

Legal experts explained recently that this law had been violated by many senior officials in Macedonia. [Former Interior Minister] Ljube Boskovski has violated this law over 500 times by investigating crimes committed during the war and has not been held to account for that. It seems that Public Prosecutor Aleksandar Prcevski will be the next to break this law.

The four cases that have been handed over by the Macedonian authorities to The Hague tribunal have been dismissed because of insufficient evidence to start criminal procedures against defendants accused of genocide during the 2001 conflict.

The Hague tribunal has said that 70 per cent of the evidence handed over by Macedonia was ridiculous and simple nonsense that justice systems cannot regard as facts.

Source: Fakti, Skopje, in Albanian 22 Jun 05 p 3

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Copyright 2005 BBC Monitoring Service distributed by United Press International"

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