Фото: Ванчо Џамбаски

We demand efficient and effective protection of the victims of gender-based violence. Therefore, Ljubomir Jovevski, the Public Prosecutor of the Republic of North Macedonia, and Aco Kolevski, the Chair of the Council of Public Prosecutors, we remind you about your obligation to timely and effectively conduct the criminal prosecution of the perpetrators in accordance with the Criminal Code, said the Gender Equality Platform, a network of civic organization which work on promoting the gender equality, and the organizers of the protest for the “Javna soba” (Public Room) case in a press conference in Skopje today.

“Having in mind the fact that the Prosecutor’s Office is the central authority for the prosecution of the perpetrators of these criminal acts, we believe that the proceedings about the violence against women and girls are not conducted in an expert and a professional manner. Not a single measure for prevention of and protection from violence, will have the desired effect if the attackers are not being prosecuted criminally and avoid the responsibility of the deeds,“ said Jana Kocevska from the Gender Equality Platform.

She said that in their experience, as organizations that provide free legal aid to the victims, the Prosecutor’s Office does not protect sufficiently the victims of gender-based violence. According to the Platform, the Council of Public Prosecutors does not apply sufficiently its control powers over the work of the public prosecutors who unprofessionally and untimely perform their functions in the criminal proceedings of gender-based violence.

“We demand increased control over the work of the prosecutors in the “Javna soba” case, as well as the prosecutors who are working on the proceedings about the violence against women. We demand consistent application of the internal rules that specify the obligations and the manner of conduct of the prosecutors in these cases, in accordance with the Law on Prevention and Protection of the Violence against Women and the Domestic Violence, and the Istanbul Convention,“ said Kocevska on behalf of the Platform.

She said that the Platform will not stop addressing the issue of solving the “Javna Soba” case and and they will continue protesting if until the 8th of March, the Basic Public Prosecution does not deliver tangible results about their requirements, which will show that at last there are some actions.

The organizers of the protests once again, emphasized the unprofessional conduct of some police officers, who often blame the victims and do not take adequate measures, as well as the officers, who are themselves perpetrators of violence. Therefore, they demand increased control over their work.

The Gender Equality Platform stressed that they will not accept the transfer of responsibility from one to another institution and therefore insist on comprehensive results until the 8th of March – criminal prosecution of the perpetrators in the case “Javna Soba” also in the case of the adult victim in the case and not just  for  “production and distribution of child pornography”. They also demanded prosecution for: abuse of personal data; helping prostitution, threats to the personal security or spread of racist and xenophobic materials by means of a computer system, depending on the circumstances of the case.

Previously, the Platform held a press conference in front of the Ministry of Interior’s premises demanding tangible results and real willingness to proceed, not in words only. They stated that, at the same time, they expect purification and sanctioning of the police officers who conducted violence against women, who were found guilty of unprofessional conduct or failure to take action. Other than this, they demanded professional education of the police force for the proceedings in case of gender-based violence.

After this press conference, The Macedonian Police Syndicate reacted asking to avoid putting all the police officers in one basket because of the “Javna soba” case.

At the beginning of this month the Platform held a protest against the “Javna soba” case“demanding from the institutions to punish the perpetrators, to support the victims, but also including the online sexual harassment into the Criminal Code.

The “Javna soba” case started the last year. A number of girls then reported cases of abuse of their photographs, and the public was exasperated by the connent that was shared in this group, which showed the dark side of the closed groups on internet. This year, the case was rekindled after Ana Koleva publicly shared her experience of sexual harassment in the “Javna soba” group.

Meta.mk in the last year, spoke to a few experts from the fields of education, information technology and communications. The founder and the director of the “Infoproekt” company, Vancho Ordanoski said it is no wonder that the Telegram app has been chosen for that goal.

“The choice of the Telegram app is not done naively, as it is used for sharing confidential information. The terrorists use the Telegram app. It is encrypted and no one really knows who is user. The prosecution services cannot wiretap it”, said Ordanoski then.