Jailed former police minister Ljube Boskoski is the prime suspect for the killing of Marjan Tusevski, who was shot dead by unidentified hitmen 11 years ago in Skopje.Macedonian police on Tuesday arrested nine other former police officials who are also suspected in relation to the unsolved murder of Tusevski, a figure from the Skopje underworld.“There are 15 suspects in total. Nine were apprehended this morning and police are still searching for the other six people,” police spokesperson Ivo Kotevski said, adding that four suspects are foreign nationals.
“Three Serbian nationals, Predrag Cubrilo, Milan Ilic and Milorad Kovacevic, are suspected as direct perpetrators of the murder. Criminal charges have been raised against them and we will issue an international arrest warrant,” Kotevski explained.
Boskoski, who still leads the opposition United for Macedonia party, is suspected of having commissioned the murder of Tusevski in 2001, the police say.
He is currently serving a seven-year prison sentence in a Skopje prison for obtaining illegal financial support for his political campaign.
Zoran Trajkovski, Boskoski’s former security chief when he was police minister, is among the arrested.
According to police, Tusevski, who then had poor relations with the then Police Minister Boskoski, was killed by the police. Former officials then covered up the clues and hindered the investigation.
Prior to the arrest, police questioned several people close to the businessman Orce Korunovski, who was later killed in Bulgaria. He was also suspected of having ordered the killing.
“These people informed [the police] that Boskoski gave consent for the killing of Tusevski,” a source from the investigation who wished to stay anonymous told Balkan Insight.
Boskoski denies the claims.
“This is the biggest nonsense that they could have come up with. It was well known that I was in bad relations with Korunoski and he, in fact, threatened me. Tusevski on the other hand was close to the ex-police minister, Dosta Dimovska,” Boskoski said in a telephone statement from Idrizovo prison given to Balkan Insight.
He confirmed that a prosecutor and two police inspector have been questioning him about the murder but he had nothing to tell them, so the meeting ended after 10 minutes.
Boskoski’s wife, Violeta, and his party, United for Macedonia, insist that Boskoski is being framed by the ruling VMRO DPMNE party of Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski.
“Although he was already jailed [in November 2011] in a framed case, the government is now pressuring individuals to appear as protected witnesses and say that Boskoski is behind this murder as well,” Violeta Boskoska said.
Boskoski, who also has Croatian citizenship, is also being prosecuted in Pula, Croatia, for the killing of Pakistani migrants that took place in Macedonia when he was Interior Minister. The trial in the Pula court will take place in October and November.
His family also claims that the Macedonian government has been pressuring people to go and testify as witnesses in that case.
Boskoski was prosecuted by the Hague war crimes tribunal, ICTY, for breaking international humanitarian law in the 2001 conflict in Macedonia, but after four years in detention he was acquitted. During the election campaign of 2011, he was a sharp critic of the Prime Minister Gruevski’s party.
If found guilty, the arrested suspects face sentences ranging from 10 years to life in prison.