“Unfortunately, when the revolting murder happened, the cameras were not operational and we couldn’t count on such a powerful technological tool for uncovering the worst crime with which we are faced. However, with the selfless commitment of all members of the Ministry of Interior, who literally worked around the clock on the field from the time when the murder occurred by the time of the discovery of the persons accused of the criminal act of terrorism, we managed to solve this complicated case,” said Interior Minister Gordana Jankuloska on 7th of May 2012 at the promotion of the project “Safe City”.
The revolting murder Jankuloska is referring to is Smiljkovo Lake massacre that happened twenty days earlier, on 12th of April, on Holy Thursday, when four young boys and middle-aged fisherman were eliminated.
One of the questions that the public address to MOI was whether the killers were caught by the cameras, which have already been placed on the exits and entrances on all roads to the capital.
In one of the recordings today published by opposition leader Zoran Zaev, it could be heard a conversation between Interior Minister Gordana Jankuloska and Director of the Security and Intelligence Sasho Mijalkov, in which the two talk about the promotion of the project and case “Monster.”
According to Zaev, Jankuloska and Mijalkov are tactful about the event on 7th of May, and put it in context of, as the Minister said, the “other thing,” i.e. the murders near Smiljkovci and the investigation to reveal the offenders.
Among other things, in the conversation, Mijalkov says that “Israelis also want to come”, which confirms that the project “Safe City” was realized in cooperation with an Israeli company.
Jankuloska: Well, OK, it’s agreed.
Mijalkov: Come on.
Jankuloska: Wait a minute, I want to ask you something. Should we open the center we discussed, on 7th of May, is my question.
Mijalkov: Well, we’ll see. Are you ready…
Jankuloska: You know why?
Mijalkov: Because Israelis also want to come.
Jankuloska: Nope, we are ready, no problem there, but in the context of the other thing, you know. Here we say “we don’t have recordings, we don’t have this, we don’t have that,” and promote such a center.
Mijalkov: Well, OK, we are opening it after this event? We didn’t have it till then.
Jankuloska: OK, we didn’t have it till then, but the essential difference is whether we will be done with the murder by then. If we are, that’s a bull’s eye, you know.
Mijalkov: Yes, yes, yes.
Jankuloska: But if we are note done…
Mijalkov: No, no, no. It…
Jankuloska: Let’s see for a day or two, then we will agree, OK?
Mijalkov: Yes, yes, OK.
Jankuloska: Let’s not prejudice now. I was concerned about that.
Mijalkov: I will call you on the landline.
Jankuloska: Agreed, goodbye.
(According to Zaev, this is a conversation from 30th of April 2012).
The bodies of the four boys and the middle-aged fisherman were found on 12th of April 2012, on Holy Thursday, around 10:30 pm, on the shore of Smiljkovo Lake. Autopsy of the bodies determined that they were shot from close range from three types of weapons.
Meanwhile, police mobilized a number of its members to prevent escalation of the already tense atmosphere. Residents of Radishani blocked local streets and damaged several cars and shops.
An operational headquarters, which led the operation to detect and arrest the perpetrators of the massacre, was also established.
On 16th of April, Interior Minister Gordana Jankuloska confirmed that the car brand “Opel Omega” with burgundy color, that police found 10 kilometers from the scene of the murder, was used by the perpetrators.
Around 1st of May, police carried out extensive action under the operational name “Monster”, in which part of the accused were arrested. The operation included around 800 police officers from the Public Security Bureau (PSB), as well as the Security and Counterintelligence Agency (UBK).
After nearly two years of trial and after several delays of the announcement of the verdict, on 30th of June last year, for the massacre near Smiljkovo Lake, Alil Demiri, Afrim Ismailovik and Agim Ismailovik were sentenced to life for terrorism as direct perpetrators of the massacre, and Fejzi Aziri, Haki Aziri and Sami Ljuta were sentenced to life for planning and execution.
First accused Alil Demiri and Agim Ismailovik are still in Kosovo, where they were arrested and convicted of possessing of weapons. Macedonian judicial authorities demanded their extradition, but there is no response.
Verdicts for the case “Monster” sparked heated protests of citizens of the Albanian community, some of which were marked by violence that culminated in the stoning of the court, and several police officers were injured. Protesters thought the verdict was unfair and that the case “Monster” was set up.