The Court requests wiretapped conversations content from the Special Prosecution Office (SPO) – after it objected to their use as evidence!
Author: Aleksandar Georgiev
The Basic Court Skopje 1 – Skopje, in its press release from 10 June 2016 about SPPO’s case known as “Fortress” stated the following:
Judge in a previous court proceeding in the Basic Court Skopje 1 – Skopje, acting upon the proposal of the Public Prosecution Office for prosecuting crimes related to and deriving from the contents of the illegally intercepted communications (SPO), for determining detention for the person G.G. as well as acting upon the proposal for determining precaution measures for the persons G.J., N.B., B.S. and T.J. all involved in SPO’s case known as “Fortress”, wrote a missive to the SPO stating that the SPO has not delivered evidence regarding the proposals for the aforementioned persons, referring to the order for conducting an investigation procedure, i.e. evidence that would be the grounds for the validity of the suspicion in a manner that would explain whether the offences arise from the specific content of the illegal communication monitoring, for which period, as well as to present the content with the aim to lay down whether the proposal for determining detention and the proposal for determining precaution measures ARE SUBMITTED BY A CERTIFIED PLAINTIFF in terms of the Article 166 from the Law on Criminal Proceeding and Article 17 Paragraph 1 from the Law on Criminal Proceeding and Article 5 Paragraph 1 from the Law on SPO.
All of this is because SPO’s proposals state offences allegedly perpetrated in the period after 25 February 2015 and in the period between the second half of 2015 and the middle of March 2016, and in terms of Article 2 from the Law on SPO which states that “Unauthorized communication monitoring is defined as illegal monitoring of all communications done in the period between 2008 and 2015, including, but not limiting only to, audio recordings and transcripts delivered to the Special Prosecution Office prior 15 July 2015” – is said in the press release of the Criminal Court.
As we can see, the Criminal Court denies the competence of the Special Prosecution Office via requests for presentations of those recordings in court, so the court itself can decide whether those offences arise from the illegal communication monitoring and for which period.
WHAT IS THE COURT DEALING WITH?
The Articles from the law that they refer to are related to competence, i.e. legitimizing the certified plaintiff to be able to request detention and other precaution measures from the court. More precisely, the court does not deal with the submitted evidence and its content, or with the seriousness of the offences, yet it is trying to deny the competence of the SPO regarding this case. By emphasizing the dates of the offences with rough interpretation of Article 2 from the Law on SPO, we can notice that the goal is to attack the competence of the SPO, without going any deeper in the essence of the case, whether those offences which are perpetrated after the period from Article 2 from the Law on SPO, are closely related with previous more severe offences, or represent an extension of other offence – the court had no comment about all of this.
It is highly contradictory that the same Criminal Court in September last year decided that the recordings containing phone conversations and transcripts, which were submitted as evidence for perpetrated offence, after the lawsuit from the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia, should be separated as illegally obtained evidence, because they cannot be used and no legal decision can be based on them.
THE REACHED VOICE – PROOF FOR COMPETENCE!
The court’s request from the SPO to prove that the offences arise from a specific content of illegal communications monitoring is absurd. On the one hand, the Criminal Court denies the use of the recordings as evidence by claiming that they were illegally obtained, and on the other hand, requests the recordings to be presented, so they can be proof that the offence arises from those conversations, and all of that with the goal to assess SPO’s competence.
The wiretapped conversations are sufficient to serve as evidence that certain offences have been perpetrated, or to direct the Public Prosecution Office to investigate whether offences have been perpetrated at all. SPO’s proceedings are based on evidence and facts obtained in the investigation procedures that can reveal new offences and larger crimes than the ones we heard in the recordings. So, you cannot request rough proof for every offence just to see in which part of the wiretapped conversations it actually is, yet the wiretapped conversations serve solely as an occasion for initiating a criminal proceeding, in which, through investigations, the main evidence and facts that can be the base for the judicial decision will be obtained.
This leaves room for divergent interpretations, whether the offences are literally contained in and arise from the content of the wiretapped conversations and whether this should be the base for rejecting the Special Prosecution Office as an unauthorized plaintiff and complete objecting of its competence.