By Sinisa Jakov Marusic
Teams from Macedonia and Serbia met on Tuesday in the Macedonian capital Skopje to start talks on the details of a treaty, expected to be signed soon.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Justice says a similar treaty with Croatia is already prepared and will be signed on Friday. Talks on this subject with Montenegro will also commence this Friday, the ministry said.
In recent years, several high-profile Macedonian citizens holding dual citizenship have fled the country to avoid prosecution at home.
Declining to talk about specific cases, Justice Minister Mihajlo Manevski expressed hope on Tuesday that the new treaties “will help bring to justice suspected Macedonian criminals who are using neighbouring countries as safe havens thanks to their dual citizenships”.
Manevski is taking part in the Macedonia-Serbia talks.
One notorious example concerns Macedonia’s former chief of customs, Dragan Daravelski, who is wanted in Macedonia on embezzlement charges. Serbia in the past refused to extradite Daravelski, who also holds a Serbian passport, citing its constitution. This prohibits extradition of Serbian citizens.
Another case concerns a former state trustee for several bankrupt companies, Vladislav Tamburkovski, sentenced in absentia in Macedonia to jail for fraud. He is also out of the country, believed to be living in Bulgaria or Serbia.
Former health minister Vlado Dimov is believed to have fled to Turkey to avoid corruption charges.
Following the example of several countries in the region, Macedonia made constitutional changes this January, making possible the extradition of its citizens to and from other countries based on bilateral treaties.