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news 15 Jul 13

Macedonia Jails Ex-Police Minister for 12 Years

The Criminal Court in Skopje sentenced former police minister Ljube Boskoski to 12 years in jail for plotting to cover up a gangland murder that took place in 2001.

Sase Dimovski
BIRN
Skopje

Former Police Minister ljube Boskoski

In a tense courtroom and amid verbal assaults from the families of the men on trial, Judge Ilija Trpkov jailed Boskoski for 12 years, handing down jail terms also to several others on trial for the murder.

The four direct perpetrators of the double murder of Marijan Tusevski, a figure from the Skopje underworld who was killed together with his driver,  Kiril Janev, in 2001 in Skopje, all received life sentences.

However, the four Serbian and Bosnian nationals, Predrag Cubrilo, Milan Ilic, Milorad Kovacevic and Vuk Vukicevic, had to be sentenced in absentia as they remain at large.

Announcing the verdict, Judge Trpkov said that Boskoski, who at the time was a police minister, had "promised to cover the traces if Orce Korunovski, [also member of the Macedonian underworld, later killed in Bulgaria] orders the murder of Tusevski and Janev”.

The judge said that the quarrel between Korunovski and his victim, Tusevski, concerned control of striptease bars in Skopje.

The entire group was charged with planning and carrying out the murder of Tusevski and Janev.

They were also charged with, after the murder, helping the foreign perpetrators to exit Macedonia at an illegal border crossing with Serbia near the town of Kumanovo after which they covered the traces.

Several other members of the Macedonian police have received jail sentences in relation to the same case.

Police had to intervene and push the families of the convicted men outside the courtroom, after they verbally attacked the judge.

“How much did they pay you to convict me?” Boskoski himself shouted at the judge. “You are all a criminal gang. You convicted me without evidence. But I promise that you will soon sit in my place,” he added.

Boskoski was arrested in 2011, and is already serving a five-year sentence for illegally financing his election campaign.

The defence argued that the entire case was fabricated by the authorities in retaliation for Boskoski’s outspoken criticism of the government of Nikola Gruevski.

Boskoski was earlier prosecuted by the Hague tribunal, ICTY, for violating international humanitarian law in the 2001 conflict in Macedonia, but was acquitted after spending four years in detention.

On his return from The Hague he formed a political party that fiercely opposed the ruling VMRO DPMNE of Prime Minister Gruevski. 

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