President Gjorge Ivanov on Thursday denied having played any role in the violence in parliament on April 27, 2017 – or having planned to declare state of emergency and arrest opposition leaders.
Reacting to testimony heard in court, his office called “an alleged plan to declare a state of emergency on April 27, 2017 just one more in a series of desperate attempts to construct a scenario which, without any basis, would implicate the … President as part of the April 27 events”.
Earlier on Thursday, a key defendant in the trial for the attack on parliament, Aleksandar Vasilevski a.k.a. Ninja, told the Skopje Criminal Court that the events that day had been planned and coordinated from the eighth floor of the headquarters of the then ruling VMRO DPMNE party.
Vasilevski said the plan was for the violence to result in President Ivanov declaring a state of emergency and bringing the army on the streets, so preventing the formation of a new government. He said did not happen because of strong international pressure on Ivanov not to do so.
The Army General Staff also dismissed its alleged involvement in the events, insisting that this was “disinformation”. It said it remained ready to cooperate with the investigation.
The investigation into the rampage previously revealed that several army officers and professional soldiers were part of the events.
However, no one from the military has ended up among the 30 defendants who are now on trial for their involvement.
The now opposition VMRO DPMNE party has made no comment about claims that former senior party members organized the violent scenes.
The only reaction has come from former Deputy Justice Minister Biljana Briskovska, who was also mentioned in Vasilevski’s testimony as being part of the organisational structure.
“I am startled by the lack of truth in the testimony that refers to me and I fully dismiss it as not true,” Briskovska said briefly on Thursday.
Briskovska is already on trial for alleged involvement in the events, but still remains active in politics as a VMRO DPMNE representative on a body that is discussing judicial reforms with the government.
The testimony by Vasilevski may effect the ongoing controversial parliamentary process of “national reconciliation”.
A parliamentary commission on Friday was due to submit a draft law for an amnesty for some of the participants in the parliamentary violence.
The expectation was that this amnesty would apply to those who did not directly participate in the violence that left some 100 people injured, or did not actually organize the events.
The latest reports from this body indicated that the presentation would be postponed for next week, however.