The Supreme Court concluded that courts in Macedonia worked efficiently in 2016, and were able to keep up with the influx of new cases. Supreme Court Chief Justice Jovo Vangelovski said that in 2016 the courts worked on 592.245 cases, and closed 472.556 of them.
“The courts were able to fully handle the flow of new cases, and reduce the backlog left over from 2015 by 13.075 cases”, Vangelovski said. Making the courts more efficient and reducing the danger of corruption by drawing out cases indefinitely was one of the main reform priorities for the Macedonian judiciary. The Supreme Court met on Tuesday to examine work reports from the lesser courts.
Vangelovski also spoke about the recent decision by the Supreme Court to accept a request from the Public Prosecutor’s Office and to find the decision to order detention against businessman and TV station owner Sead Kocan as unlawful. Kocan was charged by the Special Prosecutor’s Office together with representatives from another TV station owning company, over a coal mining contract in the Bitola coal plant. Both TV stations that are charged were critical of the work of the Special Prosecutor’s Office. Kocan returned to Macedonia this weekend and, according to media reports, underwent a heart surgery.
“We never had any dilemma that the Public Prosecutor has the authority to request a procedure to protect the lawfulness and I don’t find the request from the OJO prosecutor’s office to constitute meddling in the work of the Special Prosecutor or intrusion in its autonomy”, Vangelovski told the press. Asked about whether unlawfully made wiretaps can be used as evidence in court, as the Special Prosecutor has requested, Vangelovski said that that is not possible. Such recordings can only be used as indicators for the prosecutors to focus their work and to try to obtain admissible evidence.