North Macedonia’s chief state prosecutor has suspended the head of the Organised Crime Prosecution, Vilma Ruskovska.
Ruskovska’s suspension is based on the suspicion that she made a “major professional mistake” when probing the premises of the Financial Police for alleged crimes.
Two of Ruskovska’s colleagues, Elizabeta Josifovska and Ivana Trajcevska, also face disciplinary measures.
North Macedonia’s chief state prosecutor filed a proposal for “launching a disciplinary procedure and determining responsibility against three public prosecutors, who are suspected of intentionally and unjustifiably making a major professional mistake, thus committing a serious disciplinary violation,” according to a press release.
Ruskovska has confirmed the reports.
“I have received the decision but I will not be commenting for the time being,” Ruskovska told reporters.
The move comes after several weeks of verbal and legal conflict between Ruskovska and the Financial Police chief Arafat Muaremi.
On 18 July, the Organised Crime Prosecution entered the premises of the Financial Police as part of a pre-investigation procedure. At the time, Ruskovska said she was acting on a report by a group of citizens against Muaremi.
Muaremi denied any wrongdoing, and filed a report against Ruskovska to the State Prosecution, requesting that it check on the legality of the search.
Muaremi was formerly part of now-defunct Special Prosecution (SJO), and was appointed head of the Financial Police in 2018. He is largely viewed as having close ties to the main ruling Social Democratic Party (SDSM), which came to power in 2017.
In an open letter on 4 August, Ruskovska spoked of pressure and attacks on her integrity. In it, she called for help from the EU, US embassies, and the EU’s Chief Prosecutor Laura Kovesi.
“If the government wants the state to be a real legal state rather than a legal state presented through PR stints in the media, the truth must come out,” Ruskovska wrote in her open letter.
“Macedonia is neither a dictatorship nor a monarchy. The will of some current or former government officials shouldn’t dominate [and make] prosecutors turn a blind eye to any crime, even to one committed by top echelons of the government,” she continued.
Ruskovska described the pressure against her, and other top prosecutors who have tackled high-profile cases against former and current officials, as “appalling” for a country that is part of NATO and has launched EU accession talks.
In response, Ruskovska was told that these problems should be addressed by North Macedonia’s institutions.
Following her suspension, Ruskovska can appeal to the Council of Public Prosecutors. If the Council does not approve her appeal, she will be dismissed from her position at the Organised Crime Prosecution.
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