I have no evidence nor have I seen any evidence on former parliament speaker Trajko Veljanovski being involved in the Smilkovsko Lake, former prime minister and SDSM leader Zoran Zaev told Monday’s hearing in the ‘Monster’ case, in response to a question by parent of one of the teenagers killed at the Smilkovsko Lake in 2012.
Zaev testified Monday at the Skopje-based Criminal Court in the trial over the ‘Monster’ case at the request of the parents of the teenagers killed at the Smilkovsko Lake in April 2012.
“Every time I met with you, the parents, it has always been at your request as parents seeking to unearth the whole truth on the murder, and I have always, without any hidden intentions, provided answers to you and the public,” Zaev said.
It’s important, he reiterated, that the process is re-opened and all suspicion is dispelled.
Answering a parent’s question about whether he had been summoned before a trial judge or prosecutor over the ‘Monster’ case, Zaev said he hadn’t been summoned neither by a prosecutor nor a trial judge over the case.
Earlier, Zaev said all evidence that SDSM had and that he had accessed as the party’s leader were handed over to the Special Prosecutor’s Office.
He added that lack of complete continuity was evident, as employees at the Interior Ministry could not always hand over copies of documentation to the then SDSM opposition.
Zaev confirmed he had met on several occasions with the victims’ parents who were asking for more information into the case. During one such meeting, some of the parents said they had suspected that the court was hiding information and evidence from them. He had presented them audio recordings as they had asked, but hadn’t given them copies.
Zaev cited the partial nature of the recordings as the reason why he hadn’t published them. He had decided that all evidence should instead be handed over to SPO, to be used in the trial.
A recording of Zaev talking about the ‘Monster’ case at a parliamentary session was presented to the court at the beginning of Monday’s hearing.
In January, a retrial in the the ‘Monster’ case was ordered, due to alterations in the structure of the panel of judges. All testimonies and evidence were copied into the new record and proceedings continued where they left off.
The ‘Monster’ case involves the murder of four teenagers and a fisherman at the Smilkovci Lake near Skopje on April 12, 2012. Six men were tried on terrorism charges and sentenced to a life in prison.
In December 2017, the Supreme Court revoked the verdicts and released four men from detention. After the verdict was revoked, the case was taken over by the SPO and a retrial was ordered.