The Internal Affairs Department of MoI was not authorized to investigate the wiretapping scandal

 

The MOI Internal Affairs Department (IAD) did not investigate the wiretapping done by the Administration for Security and Counter Intelligence (ASCI) – that’s Parliament’s duty. This is the Department’s assertion in the response given for Truthmeter, in which it referrs to a specific law. Nonetheless, the law is about “superintendence”, not for internal control nor for legality and professionalism check, which is solely Department’s competence.

 

Author: Teofil Blazhevski

 

The MOI Internal Affairs Department increased its work in size during the first semester last year, and it acted upon 800 cases, but it did not act upon the most important affair or scandal – determining the responsibility for the wiretapped conversations leakage, for which there is judicial evidence showing it was conducted in the premises and with the equipment of the Administration for Security and Counter Intelligence (ASCI).

All of this can be determined by the answers given to our questions and from the semi-annual report for the work of the MOI Internal Affairs and Professional Standards Department, published on MOI’s website too.

This Department is a separate branch in the Ministry of Interior, which has functioned for a number of years and whose basic task is to preserve the legality and the professional and ethical working of MOI’s employees, whether it is a matter of people in uniform or in regular garments, regardless if it is a matter of public or state security.

 

PROCEEDINGS FOR THE DAILY SCHEDULE, BUT NOT FOR THE “BOMBS”

If you carefully take a look at the Report, you will notice that there are 831 proceedings initiated against MOI employees in the first six months of 2015, and there is pretty much everything – from investigating excessive use of force through investigating the use of firearms, to how the traffic security units function during their daily routine activities and whether the daily schedule is regularly filled with the exact description of the task, as well as whether there is a report after the working hours about the kilometers driven that day with the official vehicle. However, there are only four initiated proceedings about ASCI’s employees (around 0.5% of all proceedings). This was the occasion to ask the MOI some questions, more precisely the Department, whether they initiated a proceeding last year against a person or persons and whether they have investigated the case with the wiretapped phone conversations, for which there is almost no dilemma that they were wiretapped at ASCI’s premises.

The answer given to our questions is that simply they were not authorized to act upon this problematics, but we also find out that there have been 10 another cases against ASCI’s employees by the end of the year:

The Law on Monitoring of Communications in unit IV “Superintendence and control” (from Article 35 to Article 39), covers provisions that regulate the superintendence and the control over the legality of the communications monitoring by the Ministry of Interior and other competent bodies.

According to Article 35 superintendence over conducting separate investigative monitoring of communications of the MOI, the Administration for Finance Police, the Customs Administration and the Ministry of Defense, is done by the Parliament of the Republic of Macedonia.

Article 36 from the same Law determines that for superintendence over the special investigative measure communications monitoring, the Parliament of RM founds a Committee from the MPs, composed of President, four members, vice president and deputy members.

Having in mind the provisions of the Law on Monitoring of Communications, as well as the competences of the Public Prosecution Office in accordance with the Law on Criminal Proceeding, the competence for acting in this particular case belongs to the Public Prosecution Office – is said in the response.

The Department also refers to the latest version of this law passed in 2006, and amended twice in 2009 and 2012. The Articles are undisputed, as well as the fact that this Parliament Committee never managed to make a successful insight in the work of the competent institutions for communications monitoring, neither did the Parliamentary Ad-hoc Committee nor the other Committees in the Parliament, not even after the Przhino Agreement was signed. In fact, we can hear why all of this is happening in one of the “bombs”, i.e. the same wiretapped conversations, in which, according to the opposition party, we hear the voices of the former Minister Gordana Jankuloska and the former director of ASCI, Sasho Mijalkov.

 

Vnatresna kontrola-ang
Graphical representation: Truthmeter

 

ARE THE SUPERINTENDENCE AND THE INTERNAL AFFAIRS THE SAME THING?

The dilemma we want to point out, is actually the question whether the superintendence, even if is provided by law, is a stronger mechanism which substitutes the Internal Affairs?

This question can be answered if we take a look at the internal acts and the basis of the Department’s role, i.e. the answer to the question why this Department exists at all. If we take a look at what’s written on MOI’s official webpage, we can notice the basis of the Department’s existence:

The Internal Affairs and Professional Standards Department represents the control mechanism of the Ministry of Interior over the work of the police and the Ministry, and because of that the Department’s competences cover a vast array of measures and activities, which are being taken, and are directed towards determining the unprofessional, illegal and unethical acting of the employees in the Ministry of Interior, as well as taking measures and activities for preventing such kinds of acting viewed from preventive and repressive point of view.

According to the Law on Internal Affairs, the Internal Affairs and Professional Standards Department is a special and independent organizational unit of the Ministry of Interior that conducts internal control for the needs of the Ministry and initiates proceedings for assessing the legality of the acting of MOI’s employees.

The words “control mechanism” and “determining the unprofessional, illegal and unethical acting of the employees in the Ministry of Interior, as well as taking measures and activities for preventing such kinds of acting viewed from preventive and repressive point of view”, clearly describe the aim of the Department’s existence, as well as the words “special and independent organizational unit”… “that conducts internal control for the needs of the Ministry”.

If you take a look at the internal acts, the Ruling, above all, it is completely clear that the Department has the authorization to control ASCI’s work, no matter if some other institution started superintendence or initiated a proceeding in accordance with another law.

For instance, the Article 1 explains that the grounds for the existence and the work of the Department is the control of legality i.e. illegality in the working, whereas the Article 2 explains the terms, and also describes what illegality means:

The illegal acting in terms of this Ruling represents misuse or breach of authority given to the employees, both at times when doing their work and during conducting the regulated standard proceedings and procedures in every segment of the work of the Ministry and the Police, which violates the corpus of the human freedoms and rights, and their corruptive behavior and acting against the provisions in the Code of police ethics…

The Article 3 explains when and how the Department should act, i.e. on the grounds of:

  • data, information and cognizance obtained on its own;
  • upon requests submitted or immediately presented by the employees in the Ministry and the Police;
  • on the grounds of petitions related to the illegal and unprofessional acting of the employees and 
  • upon order of the Minister of Interior (hereinafter: the Minister).

Finally in Article 10, Paragraph 2 in particular, we clearly see that the Department has complete competence over the ASCI (in fact this wasn’t even disputed), and one of the previous Articles states that the Department’s employees are secured with permissions for dealing with classified information, when needed.

 

IT IS INTERNAL, AFTER ALL

In Article 2 we can see that every misuse and breach of authority is considered as illegality… which at the end comes to violating the human freedoms and rights. The right to privacy of communications, unless it is violated upon court order, belongs in the corpus of human rights and freedoms, which are internationally guaranteed, and guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Macedonia.

The Article 3 on the other hand, clearly shows that this Department can act on the basis of data, information and cognizance obtained on its own.

Thus, it is completely clear that the Department, i.e. the heads managing it, besides the other bodies and institutions in charge of control over ASCI’s work, should have done internal control completely equally, and probably prior everything else, because the name itself imposes exactly that: Internal Affairs Department.

However, the Department is asserting that they were not competent for disclosing the wiretapping done with ASCI’s equipment, as claimed in the numerous allegations, among which is Priebe’s Report that has been adopted by the domestic institutions.

 

INTERNAL OR INDEPENDENT CONTROL OUTSIDE THE MOI?

Anyway, the question about internal control in the MOI is rather frequent among the expert and civil public, viewed exactly from the aspect of efficiency. The greatest disagreements and complaints from the civil organizations concern the petitions for excessive use of force or other illegal behavior of MOI’s employees, which are most often rejected as groundless or contain lack of evidence.

This is confirmed in the aforementioned report in which we can see that out of 34 petitions for excessive use of force, the Department, after their investigation, determined that only 1 petition is justified, 19 are unjustified and 14 lacked evidence.

 

Petitions against police officers for excesive use of force:
Total petitions Grounded Ungrounded No evidence Partially grounded
2011 35 3 27 5 /
2012 31 3 16 11 /
2013 32 1 22 9 /
2014 40 4 25 11 /
2015 34 1 19 14 /
Tabular view for the first 6 months several years back. Source: Internal Affairs Department

 

The manager of this Department is a person pardoned by the President Gjorgji Ivanov, and is in the list with 55 other pardoned persons, and this decision was a subject of harsh criticism by the domestic and foreign public. Certain Ane was mentioned in one of the “bombs” of SDSM, and afterwards, the current manager was a subject of a criminal charge submitted by the same party. She is an assistant Minister of Interior in charge of internal control and professional standards.

 


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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