The case of Jordan Kamcev

In August 2019, Katica Janeva, the Special Prosecutor of North Macedonia investigating various crimes and scandals, was arrested on extortion charges. The court found that Janeva had joined two others, including a well-known reality television star, in blackmailing a well-known Macedonian businessman, Jordan Orce Kamcev (51). In 2020 Kamcev revealed video recordings of how Janeva blackmailed him for 1.5 million Euros in return for dropping a case against him. Kamcev recorded Janeva and her associated conducting the blackmailing and testified in court sending them to jail. After this scandal Special Prosecution as the law enforcement institution of North Macedonia was dismantled by the National Parliament.

The same Jordan Kamcev was subsequently arrested in March 2021 for white collar crime and placed in a pre-trial detention, which has been extended each 30 days multiple times, without a clear date for his case to be heard by court. This came after months of several criminal investigations where he was accused of aiding political figures with money laundering and other financial schemes. The deprivation of liberty of Mr. Jordan Kamchev and the consequently determined detention is based on a note from the ANS – Agency for National Security (state secret service) presented orally. This official note of the ANS, which in fact has been the only and crucial evidence in the procedure, has never been submitted for inspection nor it was presented in writing to the defence of Mr. Kamchev. Such evidence for any criminal proceeding under democratic rule of law principles is unlawful.

Failure to present any evidence and inaccurate explanation of the reasons for this deprivation of liberty is a flagrant violation and non-compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which unequivocally stipulate that a person must be accurately presented with the evidence due to which he/she is deprived of liberty.

According the April official notice from Ombudsman after inspection of the Prison in Skopje was J. Kamcev subject to inhumane and degrading treatment. It was unequivocally concluded that the accommodation in such a cell is considered as an inhuman and degrading treatment of a detained person. The room where Mr. Kamchev was held was ordered to be closed after the inspection and not to be used as a detention facility in the future. Part of the inhuman and degrading treatment of Mr. Kamchev is the fact that he was left without drinking and sanitary water in the cell for five days.

Moreover, J. Kamcev suffers serious heart disease, in July was suddenly hospitalized. His medical situation confirmed by cardiologists from N. Macedonia, Austria and Slovenia requests better conditions, at least home-custody treatment. But so far it was repeatedly refused, including a bailout offer. All other suspects in case “Empiria” are investigated on freedom.

Mr. Kamcev’s defence requested removal of the Public Prosecutor  who supervise the case “Empire” due to proven suspicion of bias, evidence manipulation and serious personal animosity that the said Prosecutor publicly shows toward J. Kamchev. The prosecutor was part of the Special Prosecution, which was “destroyed” with the evidence for racketeering, submitted by J. Kamchev. But that request was rejected as well.

It is assumed that efforts are being made for a quick verdict in the case despite the lack of confirmed evidence. At the same time financial motivation violating public procurement law was officially offered to the experts of the Faculty of Economics. These experts are evaluating the materials for the case “Empire”. Group of three professors is engaged by Prosecution and generously paid (160 000 EUR) with resources of the Ministry of Justice.

J. Kamcev denies all accusations, claiming there is no evidence to any of the accusations. He believes his pre-trial detention is retribution for exposing the endemic corruption within the political and law eforcement institutions. He claims all evidence against him is falsified or manipulated, and witnesses are being pressured to testify against him.

Ján Figeľ, experienced Slovak diplomat and the first ever FoRB EU Special Envoy, was asked by Kamcev’s family to get closely informed about the case. In the past he successfully dealt with prisoners of conscience in Kuba, Iran, Sudan and Pakistan. Figeľ requested President of the Basic Criminal Court to visit in person suspected J. Kamcev in his custody. He was given permission and on September 29 he entered the Prison Shutka in Skopje. Council of Europe’s Committee on Prevention of Torture (CPT) in its July 2021 Report strongly criticized conditions in detention facilities and prison centers of North Macedonia.

Anton Menkinoski, Skopje