Counter-spin: There isn’t such thing as “on-demand” personal security detail!

The Minister of Interior Oliver Spasovski cannot clear himself or the executive branch of power from the responsibility over the second escape of persons indicted by the Special Prosecutor’s Office (SPO) or convicted. This has been confirmed by our well-informed sources and also by the laws and bylaws we consulted

The Minister of Interior Oliver Spasovski cannot clear himself or the executive branch of power from the responsibility over the second escape of persons indicted by the Special Prosecutor’s Office (SPO) or convicted. This has been confirmed by our well-informed sources and also by the laws and bylaws we consulted

 

Author: Teofil Blazhevski

 

The Minister of Interior of the Republic of Macedonia, Oliver Spasovski, recently made the following spin:

Spin: 24-hour personal security detail is a unit he (Nikola Gruevski, our remark) deploys on demand… Last time he was left at home by his security detail was on 8 November, around 23:00 hours… I’m thinking now about the responsibility of those who do not order detention for individuals with risk of escaping…

[Source: 21 TV – Спасовски не размислува за оставка: Одговорноста барајте ја кај судиите – date: 13 November 2018]

 

Counter-spin: A high-profile person related to proceedings led by the SPO disappears from the country for the second time on Minister of interior Spasovski’s watch, who more than certainly knows that somebody must be held to account for the disappearance of the former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski. Spasovski is now locating the responsibility in the courts, thereby trying to drive the attention away off his mandate, off the executive power, and denies any responsibility.

Following our check of the laws and bylaws as well as the consultation with former high office holders in the public and secret police (Public Security Bureau (PSB) and Ministry of Interior’s Administration for Security and Counterintelligence (UBK)), who requested anonymity, we were able to verify that the precautionary measures against indicted individuals are issued by the courts, which work from Monday to Friday, which however doesn’t free them from responsibility, but the MOI works 24/7 and there is no such thing as “on-demand personal security detail”.

Our sources conclude that Spasovski’s claim that an on-demand security detail exists is baffling.

– Gruevski as former Prime minister was assigned personal security detail following a decision of a competent body, on the basis of the Law on the Government, and his former office just adds to the importance of his security detail. In fact, the entire Government, especially the MOI, is responsible for his security, since the protective team is paid and ordered by the MOI, not Gruevski. Who would have been held  responsible if something harmed Gruevski physically from 8th until today – one of our sources asks.

The above was corroborated by Truthmeter’s check of the public documents. The 2013 amendment to the Law on the Government entitles Gruevski, as former Prime Minister, to a 24-hour, 6-person personal security detail he can choose on his own, which is a part of an organizational unit of the MOI, vehicle and a driver for the period of time equal to his time in office. All of this is prescribed by article 14-a of the Law on the Government, added by the then Government and enacted by the Parliament in 2013.

Article 127 of the Law on the Police lays down that the Government shall pass bylaws on the manner of execution of the personal protection. And yes, it passed the Ordinance on Security and Guarding of Persons and Buildings, Types of Security and Guarding Measures and Activities, and Level of Security and Guarding in 2014. Article 6 therein reads that a former Prime Minister is entitled to security detail:

Apart from the regular security measures and activities, the Ministry of Interior provides security detail to:

– The President of the Republic of Macedonia and members of his immediate family after the end of his term and

The president of the Government of the Republic of Macedonia whose term has ended pursuant to law.

Paragraph one of article 18 of this Ordinance stipulates that “measures and activities for guarding persons and buildings comprise:

operative and preventive measures and activities for guarding persons, buildings and spaces;

While article 21 of the Ordinance elaborates the measures:

Measures and activities for physical security comprise immediate and personal physical security and application of other physical measures and activities for prevention of jeopardy of the security and safety of the buildings that are being guarded, including traffic and escort guarding of persons and buildings.

Previously, this task was assigned to the officers of the Administration for Security and Counterintelligence (UBK), within the so called 6th Administration. MOI’s organigram of 2015, without the UBK, shows that this rather large administration, i.e. Department, is now under the Central Police Forces managed by the Director of the Public Security Bureau (PSB) of MOI. PSB’s and UBK’s Directors are appointed by the Government upon the proposal of the Minister of interior, with whom they cooperate closely on daily basis.

As the Ordinance shows, there isn’t any possibility whatsoever for an “on-demand” “measures for guarding persons”. Quite the opposite, regardless of the rulebooks or decisions made by PBS’s Director or the Minister, the Ordinance is clear – the security detail ought to be immediate and personal and to apply other measures and activities for protection of the person.

Our sources clarify that Gruevski may ask not to be escorted by the security detail at a certain location, however, his personal security team, in line with its principal task, must be aware of his whereabouts at all times, so the team and its chief could develop a plan on his security while being away from him.

In addition, the sources assure us that the police work includes so called “operative surveillance” and it can be performed without any court decision, provided that a person or a building that is being surveilled is of special interest for the service (either the PBS or the UBK). Hence the astonishment. This goes not only for Gruevski, who was known for around ten days to be a person who shall start serving his prison sentence, but also for Goran Grujovski, who was granted asylum in Greece. Why these persons weren’t under operative surveillance, our sources wonder, emphasizing that such operative surveillance doesn’t entail communications interception, which requires a permit from a prosecutor or court, and it could have prevented both persons from fleeing the country.

Therefore, the court, which could have demanded an arrest warrant from the MOI on Friday night, could be blamed, however, the MOI is not without responsibility for the escape of two high-profile persons in SPO’s cases, our sources assure.

Given the established facts and the presented arguments, Spasovski’s statement can be considered as a spin.

 


This article was created within the framework of the Project to increase the accountability of the politicians and political parties Truthmeter implemented by Metamorphosis. The article is made possible by the generous support of the National Endowment for Democracy(NED) and The Balkan Trust for Democracy (BTD), a project of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, an initiative that supports democracy, good governance, and Euroatlantic integration in Southeastern Europe. The content is the responsibility of its author and does not necessarily reflect the views of Metamorphosis, National Endowment for Democracy, the Balkan Trust for Democracy, the German Marshall Fund of the United States, or its partners.