site.btaForeign Ministry: Accused of Setting Fire to Bulgarian Cultural Centre in Bitola Got Deal with Prosecution for Minimal Penalty
Bulgaria has received official information from the Republic of North Macedonia about the arson at the Ivan Mihaylov Cultural Centre Association in Bitola in June 2022, Deputy Foreign Minister Kostadin Kodzhabashev told a news briefing here on Thursday. “We were surprised to learn from that information that instead of the crime’s perpetrator getting prosecuted with the full severity of the law as a means to prevent such encroachments in the future, the prosecution made a deal with the accused so that he can get the minimal penalty,” Kodzhabashev explained.
In his words, that approach is what encouraged the subsequent attacks against Bulgarians and Bulgarian organizations in the Republic of North Macedonia.
North Macedonia’s prosecution service is yet to find the perpetrators of the crime against the Bulgarian Cultural and Information Centre in Skopje, Kodzhabashev said, adding that the motive for the crime has already been determined as conventional. “We congratulate the prosecution service in Skopje on its professionalism: without having determined who the perpetrator of a given crime is, it is capable of determining with absolute certainty what their motives are,” the Deputy Foreign Minister commented.
According to him, such type of serious crimes should be prosecuted with particular attention to the message that this entire legal process is sending to society, for prevention purposes. “We are worried that instead of striving to prevent new crimes against the local Bulgarians and representations of the Bulgarian state, the institutions in Skopje are losing energy and time in attempts to demonstrate that a problem does not actually exist. This approach is counter-productive to Skopje’s aspirations for a possible quicker European integration,” Kodzhabashev told the briefing.