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Yesterday, the media reported that the acting President of the Supreme Court, at the time of the transfer of office of the former President of the Supreme Court, Jovo Vangelovski, found thirty resolved cases, and part of them were signed by the judge. According to the information received, many of the cases are now resolved, but there are also cases that became absolutely obsolete. The Judicial Council was informed of this situation. President of the Judicial Council Kiro Zdravev says they have informed the Anti-Corruption Commission, as well as the Republican Prosecutor Ljubomir Joveski, of cases found in a drawer with former Supreme Court President Jovo Vangelovski. This specific action, that is, the failure of the former President of the Supreme Court to act violated the right to trial within a reasonable time for the parties in these cases.

The Blueprint Judicial Reform Group urges the Public Prosecutor’s Office to seriously investigate indications of abuse of office (Article 353 from the CC) and reckless conduct (Article 353-c of the CC) by Vangelovski related to obstruction of justice (Article 368-a from the CC). In a situation where the level of trust of the citizens in the judiciary is low, having in mind the conversations from the illegally wiretapped communications which have indicated and established that a certain group of judges are suspected of political corruption because they have worked for the benefit of the ruling political elite, it is necessary to establish a practice of criminal responsibility and punishment for officeholders that have committed criminal offences against the judiciary.

In order to explore options for promoting the independence of the judiciary and excluding the possibility of political influence on decision-making, the Blueprint Group has produced a Public Policy Paper – Vetting Process in the Judiciary of the Republic of North Macedonia, available at the following link.