It is not correct that Janeva must attend a session of а parliamentary committee

 

The special prosecutor Katica Janeva, can, but does not have to attend a session of а parliamentary committee. This is what all the documents and the two relevant interlocutors we consulted say. Hence, Dimovski’s statement with this assertion is not true

 

On 27 September 2016, the leader of VMRO-DPMNE’s parliamentary party group Ilija Dimovski gave the following statement:

In accordance with Article 68 in the Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia that authorizes and obliges the Parliament to maintain control over the work of a public office-bearer, in accordance with the Law on Special Prosecution Office i.e. Article 7, Paragraph 2… Ms. Katica Janeva is obliged to submit reports, to attend parliamentary sessions and to elaborate her reports before the Parliament and its working bodies, just as the Rules of Procedure of the Parliament of the Republic of Macedonia project, and this absolute practice for submitting and elaborating reports before the Parliament of the Republic of Macedonia is followed by dozens and dozens of other state institutions and bodies, without exceptions.

[Source: A1On, Date, 28 September 2016]

 

EXPLANATION:

Ilija Dimovski’s statement is given one day after the prosecutor Katica Janeva, in charge of the Special Prosecution Office (SPO) decided to leave the session, that lasted several days, in the Committee for Political Systems and Relations between Communities, which has two points in the agenda, and one of them is SPO’s six-month work report.

While leaving the session, Janeva told she has no plans of coming back, that she feels as a victim of mobbing by the MPs and that she will attend the plenary session in the Parliament which will discuss her report.

VMRO-DPMNE’s MPs problematize all of this and also accuse her of non-transparency, disrespect of the Parliament and its working bodies, whereas Dimovski explained that Janeva has legal and procedural obligation to submit reports, to attend sessions and to answer MPs’ questions regarding her work. This is the exact untruthful section of Dimovski’s statement.

Namely, according to Article 68 in the Constitution, the Parliament has supervisory role:

(The Parliament) maintains political control and supervises the government and other public office-bearers carrying responsibility before the Parliament;

Furthermore, it is also correct that, according to Article 7, Paragraph 2 in the Law on SPO, the Public Prosecutor (in charge of the SPO) shall inform the Parliament about its work every six months:

The public prosecutor shall submit report on his/hers activities every six months, including a description of progress in any investigation or prosecution that the public prosecutor has undertaken. Such report may exclude material which, according to the public prosecutor ought, to be kept as classified, but he/she will secure appropriate information to justify the expenses

As we can see in the Article from the Law that determines the responsibility for SPO’s work, Janeva is obliged to submit a report every six months, which she has already done twice. It says nowhere that Janeva is obliged to attend sessions in the Parliament or in its bodies in order to defend the report and to answer MPs’ questions. An employee in the parliamentary administration with experience of many years told us that it is a matter of a political practice, when somebody is in charge of an institution he/she is obliged to submit reports on the work, to attend sessions and to answer additional questions. So, it is a matter of a practice, not an obligation prescribed by Law.

In fact, we have the same situation when it comes to the work of the regular Public Prosecution Office, regulated by the Law on Public Prosecution, where Article 24, Paragraph 1 states:

The public prosecutor of the Republic of Macedonia submits the annual report from Article 23 Paragraph 3 in this law related to the work of the public prosecution offices and the situation with criminality in the Republic of Macedonia to the Parliament of the Republic of Macedonia.

So, where did Dimovski and the entire parliamentary party group find the thesis that Janeva MUST attend sessions? Plus, Vlatko Gjorchev, president of the Committee for Political System, postponed the session twice claiming that there are no procedural conditions for the session to take place.

Both of them refer to the Rules of Procedure of the Parliament. More precisely, they refer to Article 121 in the Rules of Procedure of the Parliament where the first two Paragraphs state:

A session of the working body can be attended by a representative i.e. a commissioner of the government, representative of a body of the state administration and by a petitioner whose proposal is discussed and they can participate in its work when the session discusses issues in their scope.

When a bill or other bylaw in second reading is being discussed in a session of the working body, the session is mandatorily attended and in its work participates a representative of the government and a representative whose proposal is discussed.

In his longer statement from 27 September 2016, Dimovski quoted the second aforementioned Paragraph and drew a conclusion based on this Paragraph that Janeva must attend every Committee’s session.

But, the aforementioned Article in the Rules of Procedure of the Parliament clearly states – bill or other bylaw in second reading. Is Janeva’s Report “other bylaw in second reading”? Apparently not, according to the titles of the documents with which sessions of working bodies are scheduled. Here’s how a regularly scheduled session of the Committee for Political Systems look like:

Report on the activities of the Public Prosecution Office for prosecuting offenses related and arising from the content of the illegally intercepted communications for a six-month period (15 March 2016 – 15 September 2016)

And here’s what the title of a session of the working body that discusses a document in second reading looks like:

SESSION NO. 184 OF THE LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE SCHEDULED FOR 28 SEPTEMBER 2016 AT 2:00 PM.
Agenda:

1 Draft-budget of the Republic of Macedonia for 2017 – II reading;
2 Bill for passing the Budget of the Republic of Macedonia for 2017, upon summary proceeding – II reading;

 

This was also confirmed by a former MP and coordinator of parliamentary party group of many years. As he says, the quoted Article from the Rules of Procedure of the Parliament is absurdly quoted, because this session is not about amendments, laws or other bylaws.

As our interlocutor thinks, when some kind of a document is proposed, the attendance of the proposer is expected, but it doesn’t have to be the person in charge of the institution, as the past experience has shown.

Simply by googling, we managed to find a confirmation that the former chief of the Administration for Security and Counter Intelligence Sasho Mijalkov never appeared in the sessions for annual reports of specific bodies.

Our two interlocutors assert that such practice is common in other committees in the case of bodies which are proposers of annual reports and oftentimes only an authorized representative of the institution appears, even when a budget is passed or rebalanced.

Due to all of these arguments and facts, Ilija Dimovski’s spin that Janeva must attend a session of the Committee and to answer MPs’ questions is untruthful.

SOURCES:

Assessed by: Teo Blazhevski


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.

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